Bye bye! Sitcom star Ruth Madoc dies at age 79

Screen and stage star Ruth Madoc, best known for appearing in the BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, has died aged 79 following a fall, her agent has confirmed.

The actress became a household name playing Chief Yellow Vest Gladys Pugh in BBC One’s hugely successful TV series about a holiday camp in the late 1950s.

His career has also spanned a range of roles in theater and musicals, from Fiddler On The Roof to Gypsy.

On Pollard, Simon Cadell, Michael Knowles and Ruth Madoc, starred in the BBC comedy Hi-de-Hi! (POPE)

In a statement released to the PA News Agency, Phil Belfield of talent agency Belfield & Ward, said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our dear and beloved client Ruth Madoc.

“Ruth passed away on the afternoon of Friday 9th December whilst in hospital following surgery for a fall she had earlier in the week which had forced her to retire from panto in Torquay.

“From film work like Fiddler On The Roof and Under Milk Wood with Richard Burton and her iconic TV performance as Gladys Pugh in Hi De Hi! and most recently in Little Britain and on stage with Calendar Girls (the comedy and the musical), plus recent successes in the shorts Skinny Fat and Cardiff, she truly was a national treasure and can’t wait to get back on the road in 2023 with The best exotic hotel Marigold.

“A true legend of the British entertainment scene, she was one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many. She left too soon. Our hearts are broken!

Very Annie-Mary Madoc

Actress Ruth Madoc has died at the age of 79 (Barry Batchelor/PA)

“Thoughts are with his daughter Lowri, his son Rhys and his entire family.”

Actor and writer Sir Tony Robinson, 76, tweeted: ‘So sad to hear my lovely friend Ruth Madoc has passed away.

“She wasn’t just funny and very smart, she was smart, kind, a loyal trade unionist and carried her heart to the left. She will be greatly missed.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth remembered Madoc for being “a wonderfully gifted actress”.

The former MP, who is now a writer and reporter for the BBC’s The One Show, said on Twitter: ‘This is such sad news. Ruth was a very lovely person.

“I was lucky enough to meet her through my best friend from school, Simon Cadell. In Hi-De-Hi they were irresistible. RIP Ruth Madoc and thanks for the memories. Goodbye campers!”

Cadell played vacation camp boss Jeffrey Fairbrother, the object of affection for Madoc’s character Glady Pugh.

Former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis and actor Joe McGann also paid tribute to the actress on Twitter.

Dennis said: “It is very sad to hear that the lovely Ruth Madoc has passed away. She was such a talented and lovely woman. Thoughts with her family.

And McGann wrote: “Such sad news about the incredible Ruth Madoc. I have been lucky enough to work with her more than once and have loved the brilliant, skillful, funny, fearless, kind and inspiring ball of light that she has always been.

Comedian Paul Chuckle tweeted: “Just heard sad news RIP to the lovely Ruth Madoc. I’ve worked with her several times, including one @BBCDoctors episode… she will be greatly missed.

Jon Petrie, director of comedy at the BBC, said: ‘We are saddened to hear the news about Ruth Madoc. She was a true star of stage and screen and her comedic performances were adored by the nation. Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this time.

Her death comes following a fall which led to her withdrawing from performing the pantomime Aladdin at the Princess Theater in Torquay.

Posting a statement on Twitter, the theater company said on Thursday: “Following an incident earlier this week following a medical evaluation, Ruth Madoc is sadly no longer able to appear in this year’s Aladdin pantomime at the Torquay’s Princess Theatre”.

In 2018, Madoc overcame her fears to reveal her breasts to a live audience in the female version of The Real Full Monty alongside stars like Coleen Nolan, Victoria Derbyshire and Michelle Heaton.

They performed a dance to This Is Me by The Greatest Showman to raise awareness of breast cancer.

A year later, she broke her hip in a fall while rehearsing for her role on Calendar Girls but confused doctors with her speedy recovery.

Born in April 1943 and raised in Llansamlet near Swansea, Madoc trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before playing Fruma Sarah in the film version of the musical Fiddler on the Roof in 1971.

A decade later she hit our screens in the fan favorite sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, having had further roles including Mrs Dai Bread Two in the 1972 comedy Under Milk Wood and later playing Daffyd Thomas’ mother in Little Britain.

She is survived by her two children.

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