1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 7/12/2005 1:02:29 PM ET 2005-07-12T17:02:29

Actress Gretchen Franklin, known to millions as the dotty, dog-loving Ethel Skinner in the long-running BBC-TV soap opera "EastEnders," has died at the age of 94, her agent said Tuesday.

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

Franklin died at home in London on Monday, Barry Burnett said. The cause of death was not given.

Although her acting career spanned more than 50 years, it was her role in "EastEnders" that made Franklin a household name.

Clutching her pug dog, Willy, Ethel was a fixture in the show's fictional Albert Square — and its Queen Vic pub — from 1985 to 2000.

She was written out in a controversial storyline in which Ethel, suffering from cancer, begged a friend to help her die.

Born in London, Franklin worked as a chorus girl in London's West End theater district in the 1930s, appearing in such shows as "Sweet and Low."

Her first film appearance came in the 1954 British film, "Before I Wake."

In the 1960s, she had a number of television roles, including parts in the popular police dramas "Dixon of Dock Green" and "Z Cars" and played the wife of the irascible bigot Alf Garnett in the pilot episode of the comic sitcom "Till Death Us Do Part" in 1965.

An early marriage did not last long and Franklin had no children. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Get ready for today’s big reveal: Relive 20 years of Halloween on TODAY

    No one does Halloween like TODAY. Remember two decades of awesome on the plaza as we rev up for 2014’s plaza bonanza.

    10/23/2014 5:43:31 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T17:43:31
  2. video Celebs guess: Who will TODAY be for Halloween 2014?

    video Bob Harper, Russell Brand, Padma Lakshmi, William Shatner and more celebrities guess (and suggest!) what the anchors should be for the 2014 TODAY Halloween celebration on the plaza.

    10/30/2014 7:32:19 PM +00:00 2014-10-30T19:32:19
  3. Getty Images, AP, TODAY
  1. Brittany Diaz via Facebook

    Brittany Maynard to her husband: 'My heart is so full of love for you'

    10/30/2014 8:27:16 PM +00:00 2014-10-30T20:27:16
  1. Courtesy of Erica Hill

    Why I run: Erica Hill inspired by dad’s battle with cancer

    10/30/2014 7:08:23 PM +00:00 2014-10-30T19:08:23