Celebrated British comedian and writer Victoria Wood, who blazed a trail in the 1980s with her series Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV , has died after what was described as a “short but brave” battle with cancer. She was 62.
Her publicist Neil Reading confirmed the news Wednesday. “The multi BAFTA Award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her north London home with family this morning,” he said. “The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”
Wood won five BAFTAs in a glittering career that spanned more than 40 years. She got her first break on the TV show New Faces in 1974, while still a student, and went on to create hit shows Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies, with frequent collaborator Julie Walters.
The versatile performer succeeded in a variety of guises including stand-up performer, film and TV star, writer and producer. She wrote and starred with Walters in the early-’80 series Wood & Walters before starring in the second season of ITV’s Insight in 1984.
After that, Wood reteamed with Walters for Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV, a sketch series that aired from 1985-87 on BBC Two and also starred Celia Imrie, Duncan Preston, Susie Blake and Patricia Routledge. The show won the BAFTA Award for Best Light Entertainment Programme for each of its three seasons, and Wood won another in 1986 for her role.
During the ’90s, Wood wrote for and/or starred in a number of TV movies and specials and wrote and toplined the BBC’s 1998-2000 workplace comedy Dinnerladies. Her most recent acting credits include Fungus the Bogeyman and Ruddy Hell! It’s Harry and Paul.
She was awarded a CBE in 2008.
It didn’t take long for the tributes to pour in with the likes of Jennifer Saunders and Ricky Gervais paying tribute.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also paid tribute to Wood, describing her as “a national treasure loved by millions.”