Veteran actress of stage and screen Patsy Rowlands - who was most recently seen on stage as Mrs Pearce in the multi award-winning National Theatre revival of My Fair Lady, which also transferred to the West End's Theatre Royal Drury Lane - has died of breast cancer at the age of 71.

Born in 1934, Rowlands attended Guildhall School of Speech and Drama and enjoyed a career which spanned five decades. She's probably best known for her roles in the Carry On films, appearing in nine of them. Rowlands also appeared with Carry On co-star Sid James in the successful television sitcom Bless This House in the early Seventies.

But Rowlands' experience was not limited to the screen. She was a regular at the Players Theatre in the Fifties and Sixties, and went on to take stage roles in Semi-Detached with Laurence Olivier and The Seagull directed by Lindsay Anderson, amongst many others. In recent years, Rowlands performed in West End musicals including Oliver!, Beauty and the Beast and Hard Times in addition to 2001's revival of My Fair Lady, in which she appeared with Jonathan Pryce and Martine McCutcheon and subsequent casts.

Patsy Rowlands died in her sleep at a hospice in Hove, East Sussex this past Saturday, 22 January 2005.


UPDATED 27 Jan 2005: Also passed away on Monday was June Bronhill. The Australian-born singer was one of the most popular sopranos at Sadler’s Wells Opera in London during the 1950s and 1960s. Her many productions included Cunning Little Vixen, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto, Don Pasquale, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Fledermaus, The Gypsy Baron and The Merry Widow. She also appeared in some musicals including, in her native Australia, The Sound of Music and, in London, Robert and Elizabeth. She was appointed OBE in 1976. June Bronhill was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, and died 25 January 2005 at the age of 75.

- by Hannah Kennedy & Terri Paddock