Maggie Jones (actress)

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Maggie Jones
Blanche Hunt.jpg
Maggie Jones as Blanche Hunt in Coronation Street
Born Margaret Jones
(1934-06-21)21 June 1934
London, England
Died 2 December 2009(2009-12-02) (aged 75)
Pendleton, Salford, England
Other names Margaret Stansfield
Occupation Actress
Years active 1955–2009
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) John Stansfield (1971–1999) (his death, widowed)

Margaret "Maggie" Jones (21 June 1934 – 2 December 2009) was an English actress, best known for playing Blanche Hunt in the British soap opera Coronation Street, a role which she first portrayed in 1974 and played regularly from the late 1990s until shortly before her death. She won the British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance in 2005 and 2008.

Career[edit]

Jones graduated from the drama school RADA and performed in numerous plays including Pride and Prejudice and The Women on the West End stage. Her first television role came in 1961 when she appeared in one episode of Coronation Street as a policewoman.

Jones's first major television role was in BBC's adaptation of The Forsyte Saga. Jones played the maid, Smither, a small but recurring part. Prior to playing Blanche in Coronation Street her best-known role was in Sam with Mark McManus.

Several years after her first Coronation Street role she had another guest role, as a shoplifter. In 1974 she debuted as Blanche Hunt, the mother of Deirdre. The part had originally been played by Patricia Cutts, who committed suicide after appearing in only two episodes. Jones, who had previously auditioned for the role, accepted an offer to take over the part at short notice as storylines had already been written for Blanche.

Jones remained a regular cast member until 1976. She re-appeared in the show briefly when Blanche's grandchild Tracy was born in 1977, when Deirdre's marriage to Ray Langton collapsed in 1978 and when Deirdre married Ken Barlow in 1981.

Throughout the 1980s Jones was a regular face on British television, appearing in several series. These included The Barchester Chronicles, The Beiderbecke Tapes, In Sickness and in Health, Sharon and Elsie, We'll Think Of Something, The Nesbitts Are Coming, Bulman and Lovely Couple, alongside Pauline Quirke.

After guest appearances in shows such as Dalziel and Pascoe, Goodnight Sweetheart, Heartbeat and Peak Practice in the 1990s, Jones reprised the role of Blanche Hunt in Coronation Street in 1996. She became a regular cast member again in 1999. Blanche's trademark withering one-liners and no-nonsense attitude made her a firm favourite of fans of the long-running show. In 2005 and 2008 Jones won a British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance in a British Soap. Jones stated that she didn't think of her character as funny.[1]

Personal life[edit]

She was a Roman Catholic. She married John Oliver Stansfield in 1971; he died aged 72 in Westminster, London in 1999.[2]

John Stansfield was a barrister and came from a very wealthy family. Margaret Jones and her husband owned several estates including one in London and one in the country in Gloucestershire, England. The country estate in Gloucestershire was located adjacent to Berkeley Castle and was situated on 100 acres (0.40 km2) that included a very large English garden, park land and forest. Ms. Jones's Personal Assistant and the family's Executive Assistant and Estate Manager was Mary Ann Patino.

Illness[edit]

On 18 April 2008, Jones fell, injuring her knee and shoulder at the Manchester hotel in which she stayed while filming Coronation Street. She took two weeks off work on Coronation Street to recover from the accident.[3] She was written out of the series again when she fell ill in October 2009.

Death[edit]

In October 2009, Jones was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital in Pendleton, Salford, for undisclosed major surgery; she was reported to be making a slow and steady recovery.[4][5][6] However, her condition later deteriorated, and she remained in the same hospital until she died peacefully in her sleep on the morning of 2 December 2009. She is survived by her sister Joan.[5]

Her final appearance as Blanche was aired on 11 December 2009.

Jones's funeral was held at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Clerkenwell, London on 15 December 2009.[7]

Jones's Memorial Service for her voluminous northern connection was held with a well attended and full congregation at Salford Cathedral with Canon Anthony McBride and members of the Salford Cathedral choir on 25 February 2010 where many of her friends, colleagues and admirers from the general public turned out in strength to pay tribute to her professionalism as an actress and to her reliability, perspicacity and honesty as a friend. Tributes included were from William Roache, Anne Kirkbride, Tony Singleton, Sue Nicholls, Craig Gazey and Brooke Vincent.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Coronation Street star Maggie Jones' life in pictures". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Deaths England and Wales 1984–2006
  3. ^ "Maggie Jones (obituary)". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Corrie star's condition improves". BBC. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Coronation Street star Maggie Jones dies aged 75". BBC News Online. BBC. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (2 December 2009). "Coronation Street actress Maggie Jones dies aged 75". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Corrie stars mourn Blanche actress". 16 December 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Pryor, Fiona (25 February 2010). "Memorial held for Coronation Street's Maggie Jones". BBC News Online. BBC. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 

External links[edit]