Jul 01, 2009 7:35 PM GMT
BBC NewsActress Mollie Sugden has died at the age of 86, her agent has said.
The TV star, best known for playing Mrs Slocombe in long-running BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?, died at the Royal Surrey Hospital after a long illness.
The Yorkshire-born actress's twin sons, Robin and Simon Moore, were at her bedside, agent Joan Reddin said.
David Croft, one of the writers of Are You Being Served?, remembered her as a "marvellous character" who would never turn down chances to make people laugh.
"She would never refuse any sort of comedy situation no matter how undignified it was she would always go along with it. She was marvellously funny," he said.
Ms Reddin, who began representing Sugden in the 1960s, said the actress had become a "very close friend".
"She had had a long illness and various problems but it was very quick in the end. Her twin boys were with her and she faded away.
"She was a lovely, lovely person and I never had any trouble with her. She was a great professional."
After training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Sugden served a long apprenticeship in repertory theatre before television gave her a taste of fame.
She appeared in the comedy series Hugh and I in 1962 and Coronation Street as the gossiping Nellie Harvey.
But it was The Liver Birds that enabled her to make her first real impact, as Nerys Hughes' snobbish mother.