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OBITUARY: Tributes to ‘wonderfully eccentric’ soap actress

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Actress Heather Chasen has died, aged 92.

The “gloriously funny” actress was best known for playing Janie Butcher’s grandmother Lydia Simmons in Eastenders.

Born in 1927, in Singapore, she and her mother escaped on a boat before the country was occupied in the Second World War.

Heather Chasen as Amelia St. Simon in ‘The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes’ TV Drama

After relocating to the UK, Chasen trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she acted on stage and went on tour with Frankie Howerd in Hotel Paradiso.

She appeared with Sybil Thorndike in Call Me Jacky,where she played an alcoholic lesbian, and claimed to base her character on the playwright Patricia Highsmith.

As well as her role in Eastenders, which she starred in until 2011, she’s also remembered for starring in an earlier soap – Crossroads.

After a brief role as an unnamed reporter in 1982, she was invited back to play the part of Valerie Pollard.

‘Crossroads’ TV Series 1: Heather Chasen and Claire Faulconbridge

She stayed with the show for four years with her stint running from 1982 until 1986.

Her death on May 22 was confirmed by longtime friend Amanda Barrie.

On Twitter, the Coronation Street actress wrote: “Remembering the fabulous Heather Chasen who sadly left us yesterday.

“She was wonderfully eccentric, gloriously funny, and a very special actress.

“There’ll never be another like her. Will always miss her.”

Chasen was also appeared for appearing in TV drama Marked Personal between 1973 and 1974, playing Isabel Neal opposite Stephanie Beacham.

She also had guest roles in the likes of Doctors, Holby City, Family Affairs, Casualty and The Bill, as well as a minor part as Madame Magloire in the 2012 big-screen adaptation of Les Misérables.

Chasen died on May 22.

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