Tyzack as Lydia Simmonds in EastEnders, 2011
|Born||Margaret Maud Tyzack
9 September 1931
|Died||25 June 2011(aged 79)|
|Spouse(s)||Alan Stephenson (m. 1958-2011; her death)|
|Children||1 son (Matthew)|
Margaret Maud Tyzack, CBE (9 September 1931 – 25 June 2011) was an English actress. Her television roles included The Forsyte Saga (1967) and I, Claudius (1976). She won the 1970 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC serial The First Churchills, and the 1990 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Lettice and Lovage, opposite Maggie Smith. She also won two Olivier Awards. Her film appearances included 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Prick Up Your Ears (1987) and Match Point (2005).
Tyzack was born in Essex, England, the daughter of Doris (née Moseley) and Thomas Edward Tyzack. She grew up in West Ham (now Greater London). She attended the all-girls' St Angela's Ursuline School, Newham, and was a graduate of RADA.
Tyzack was noted for her classical stage roles, having joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962. In the late 1970s she spent three years on stage at Stratford, Ontario, where she played Mrs Alving in Ibsen's Ghosts, Queen Margaret in Richard III and the Countess of Roussillon in All's Well That Ends Well.
She received an Olivier Award in 1982 for a revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in which she played Martha, replacing Joan Plowright who was ill, and a Tony award in 1990 for the play Lettice and Lovage, in which she appeared in both the London and Broadway productions opposite Dame Maggie Smith. The American Actors' Equity initially refused permission for Tyzack to join the New York production, but Smith refused to appear without Tyzack because of the "onstage chemistry" she believed the two women had created in their roles. In 2008, she was acclaimed for her portrayal of Mrs St Maugham in a revival of Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse, London, for which she won the Best Actress award in the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2009. In 2009, she appeared alongside Helen Mirren in Phedre at the Royal National Theatre.
She appeared in two films directed by Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971). Tyzack also appeared in Ring of Spies (1964), The Whisperers (1967), A Touch of Love (1969), The Legacy (1978), The Quatermass Conclusion (1979), Mr. Love (1985), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), The King's Whore (1990), Mrs Dalloway (1997), Bright Young Things (2003), and the Woody Allen films Match Point (2005) and Scoop (2006).
However, it was as a television actress that Tyzack became a household name. She is remembered for her leading roles in BBC television productions. She came to notice as Winifred, Soames's sister, in the well received BBC adaptation of Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga in 1967, a series shown internationally. Tyzack played Queen Anne in The First Churchills; Bette in Cousin Bette; and Antonia, mother of the Emperor Claudius, in I, Claudius. She also played Clothilde Bradbury-Scott in the BBC adaptation of the Agatha Christie story Nemesis in 1987.
In the 1990s, she played a major role in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series as the young Indiana Jones' strict Oxford-educated tutor, Miss Helen Seymour. In the 2000s, she made two appearances in Midsomer Murders. In 2011, she joined the cast of soap opera EastEnders, playing Lydia Simmonds. On 13 April 2011, it was announced that for personal reasons she had departed EastEnders and that her role had been recast to Heather Chasen as a result of the nature of the large storyline needing to continue. Tyzack withdrew from the series because of ill health.
Tyzack died on 25 June 2011 after a short illness. She died at her home with her family by her side. Her family told the Daily Mail that Tyzack had faced her illness with "the strength, courage, dignity and even humour with which she lived her life."
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