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Barbara Murray

Actress

Actress

Born: September 27, 1929 Died: May 20, 2014

Barbara Murray, who has died aged 84, was an actress whose career included roles in the Ealing comedy Passport To Pimlico, Anna Karenina with Vivien Leigh, and the Tony Hancock film The Punch And Judy Man, but she was best known for her work on television. She was a star of the proto soap opera The Power Game in the 1960s and also appeared in The Pallisers and Doctor Who and many other successful television series of the 1960s and 70s.

She was born in London into a theatrical family. Her parents Freddie and Petronella performed in a variety act together and sent their daughter to a boarding school in Huntingdonshire so they could tour the country.

During the Second World War, she and her mother were evacuated to Wales and, after returning to London, she worked as a photographic model while looking for work as an actress. She auditioned for the Rank Organisation's acting school and was offered a five-year contract.

Her first film part was in the 1948 version of Anna Karenina with Leigh in the title role. The following year Murray won the part in Passport To Pimlico, the absurdist comedy in which the residents of the London district discover it actually belongs to a foreign country. Murray played Stanley Holloway's daughter in the film.

By the late 1950s and 60s, she was starting to find work in television, although she continued to occasionally appear in films, most notably The Punch And Judy Man, the 1963 film starring Hancock. She appeared in episodes of Danger Man, the thriller series starring Patrick McGoohan, The Saint with Roger Moore, and the colourful detective series Department S.

Her role in The Power Game came in 1965 with Murray playing the wife of a successful businessman played by Patrick Wymark. In many ways, it was a forerunner of the glamorous soaps set in the business world, like Dallas; Murray was always covered in jewels and furs.

The series ended in 1969 when Wymark died, but Murray's reputation as a solid television star was well established. In the early 1970s, she played Marie Finn in the BBC's adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels and a few years later had a leading role in The Bretts, a drama about an acting dynasty.

There were many other guest star roles, including the part of Lady Cranleigh in the Peter Davison Doctor Who story Black Orchid in 1982. One of her last appearances on television was in Casualty in 1994. She also had a successful career on stage, with notable roles including Stella in the original production of Harold Pinter's The Collection for the RSC in 1962.

She retired from acting in 2001 and lived in Spain. She was married twice and is survived by three daughters from her first marriage.

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