Geraldine McEwan in 2009
Geraldine McEwan in 2009
© Dan Wooller

Actress Geraldine McEwan, who enjoyed a long and award-winning career and was latterly known for playing Miss Marple on ITV, has died aged 82.

McEwan was born in Berkshire and got her first taste of theatre working backstage at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. She started her acting career with the Windsor repertory company, and soon made her West End debut in Who Goes There! in 1951.

She went on to appear in several seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and worked with Laurence Olivier at the fledgling National Theatre.

Other credits included Joe Orton's Loot, alongside Kenneth Williams, and acclaimed productions of The Rivals (1883) and The Way of the World (1995), for which she won Evening Standard awards.

In the late 1980s she worked with Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, with which she made her directing debut. She also starred alongside Richard Briers in Theatre de Complicite's production of The Chairs at the Royal Court and on Broadway, winning a Tony nomination for her performance. And in 1999 she appeared in a West End revival of Hay Fever to mark Noel Coward's centenary.

On screen, she was best known for her 12 episodes as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, while other credits included TV series Mapp and Lucia and 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

Announcing her death, her son Greg and daughter Claudia said: "Following a stroke at the end of October and a period in hospital, Geraldine McEwan passed away peacefully on January 30. Her family would like to thank the staff at Charing Cross Hospital who cared for her incredibly well."

McEwan, who declined a damehood, was married to the former principal of RADA, Hugh Cruttwell, who died in 2002.