(Carole Woddis’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/27.)

Margaret Tyzack, who has died aged 79, was one of Britain's greatest and most popular actors, working on stage, television and film for more than half a century. Sometimes described as being in the mould of Edith Evans and Flora Robson, she will be remembered particularly for performances in the golden age of BBC TV drama – Winifred in The Forsyte Saga (1967), Antonia in I, Claudius (1976) – as well as for stage performances such as Martha in the National Theatre's revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1981), for which she won an Olivier award for best actress, and Lottie with Maggie Smith in Lettice and Lovage (1987 and 1990), which earned her both Tony and Variety Club stage actress of the year awards. In 2008, well into her 70s, she scored perhaps one of her finest triumphs on stage as the wily, wittily eccentric Mrs St Maugham in Michael Grandage's outstanding revival of Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden at the Donmar with Penelope Wilton.

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