Juliette Kaplan, who has died aged 80, will be best remembered for her 25-year residency in Roy Clarke’s Last of the Summer Wine as the pinafore-armoured Pearl Sibshaw, a sharp-tongued harridan perpetually on the alert for her wayward husband’s dalliances.
Her first appearance, in the show’s 12th year on television in 1985, had followed her debut in the role in a summer-season stage version the previous year at Bournemouth Pier.
Ironically, Kaplan, despairing at a lack of work, had been on the brink of quitting acting when she was offered the role.
Together with Robert Fyfe, who had also joined the show’s regular cast in Bournemouth as her libidinous, flat-capped husband Howard, the pair quickly established themselves in the television series, remaining with it until its final episode in 2010.
Kaplan was also seen in a one-woman show, Just Pearl, written for her by Clarke, on tour in 2003 and again in 2012 at the Theatre Royal, Margate.
Born in Bournemouth, Kaplan spent her childhood in South Africa and, aged nine, moved to New York for two years. Returning to her home town in 1951, her mother sent her to drama school to dilute her conspicuously hybrid accent. She made her professional debut in 1957 in what was to become her adopted home, Margate, and went on to increasingly sparse appearances in regional reps. There was the late compensation of a West End run in Tudor Gates’ thriller Who Killed Agatha Christie? at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1977.
In the late 1980s, her theatre exposure came largely with the Margate-based Channel Theatre, for which she performed two Alan Bennett monologues in Talking Heads in 1997.
She was also latterly active in pantomime, most recently as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Empire, Consett, in 2008.
Her other slender television credits included Brookside, Doctors and a spell as Agnes Tinker in Coronation Street in 2015.
She was married to Harold Hoser from 1958 until his death in 1981, after which she managed his chain of 11 gift shops along the Kent coast until finding fame in Last of the Summer Wine.
Marlene Juliette Kaplan was born on October 2, 1939, and died on October 10. She is survived by three children.