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Comedy great Avril Angers dies at 87

Avril Angers, one of Britain’s finest comedy actresses, has died at the age of 87.

Once dubbed Britain’s answer to Lucille Ball, the Liverpool-born actress lived in Covent Garden, London, for more than 50 years.

The daughter of music hall parents, Angers went into showbusiness at 14 and throughout the thirties worked in light comedy and revues. During the Second World War she was one of the hardest working members of ENSA, touring the remotest parts of West Africa.

She was awarded the Africa Star for her work and during the forties and fifties was rarely off the West End stage or the cinema screen. She played everything from Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday to Marigold in the classic film The Green Man, opposite Alistair Sim. On television, she partnered comedians such as Arthur Askey, Dick Emery and a young Bob Monkhouse.

She won critical praise for her role as Liz Piper in Roy Boulting’s film The Family Way and was cast opposite Richard Burton and Rex Harrison in the offbeat comedy Staircase.

She had been suffering from pneumonia and died in the University College Hospital, London on November 9.

Her close friend, the variety artist Joan Rhodes, paid tribute saying: “Avril was was one of the funniest and most gifted people in showbusiness. She was very unassuming and comediennes such as Victoria Wood adored working with her.”