OBITUARIES : Pat Phoenix, 62; British TV Soap Opera Queen

From Reuters

The unchallenged queen of British television soap opera, Pat Phoenix, died in the hospital Wednesday three weeks after she was admitted with lung cancer.

The 62-year-old actress was one of the best-known faces in Britain after starring for 24 years in the country's longest-running soap, "Coronation Street."

As glamorous Elsie Tanner, she appeared in the first episode on Dec. 9, 1960, and twice a week for the next 24 years kept millions of addicts enthralled by the unfolding saga of her complex love life.

Former Prime Minister James Callaghan was an unabashed fan, calling her the "sexiest thing on TV."

In 1984 she left the series about working-class life in a fictional street in northern England and began a new stage and screen career.

After learning that she was terminally ill, the Irish-born actress married actor Tony Booth, her third husband, in a hospital ceremony Sept. 10.

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