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Published on May 29, 2011
Actress and comic Janet Brown, known to millions for her impression of Margaret Thatcher, died yesterday aged 87.
She portrayed the former prime minister on television in the 1970s and 1980s, starting with appearances on fellow impressionist Mike Yarwood's show.
She also played Lady Thatcher in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, opposite Roger Moore. Her agent said she died in her sleep in a nursing home in Hove, East Sussex, after a short illness. Janet McLuckie Brown was born on December 14, 1923, at Rutherglen, near Glasgow, the daughter of a shipyard worker, and was educated at Rutherglen Academy.
She left school early and worked briefly in a local branch of the Co-Op before leaving Glasgow to tour in a show with Hughie Green. During the war, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the woman's branch of the Army which served mainly on the Home Front.
Moving into TV in the 1950s, she went on to work with stars including Green, Tony Hancock and George Cole. But it was for the Mike Yarwood Show, on BBC and then ITV in the late 1970s and 1980s, that she will be remembered. Her other impressions included Barbara Woodhouse, Esther Rantzen and Coronation Street character Hilda Ogden. More recently she appeared in shows including Midsomer Murders, Casualty and Hotel Babylon.
Her final stage role was in a production of The Country Wife at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2007. She was married to Carry On actor Peter Butterworth until his death in 1979 and leaves a son and grandson. Her daughter pre-deceased her. In 1987, she wrote her autobiography, Prime Mimicker. The previous year she had come face to face with Lady Thatcher and the two women struck up a friendship and occasionally met at No 10. When she was Prime Minister, the Iron Lady also invited her to stay for the weekend at Chequers. www.dailymail.co.uk