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Bella Emberg RIP

 

We have lost a very special lady.

Many years ago Bella sent me a subscription to Bowler Dessert. She often expressed her enjoyment of the magazine and her affection for Laurel and Hardy. We kept in contact over the years and Bella's was the first Christmas card we received a few weeks ago - it is very sad to realise now that it will be her last.

Willie McIntyre

So sad to hear of the death of this wonderful comic talent. What a lovely person she was too.

I still have a beautiful hand-written letter from her when she sent me a donation to the Statue Appeal. She loved the Boys.

Another comedy great is lost.

Eric Woods

Bella was at the unveiling of the Laurel and Hardy blue plaque in 2002 in Southend. Paul went to the reception thereafter (must dig out the photo) and told me how lovely she was.

Roger Robinson

 


Comedy actor Bella Emberg
died aged 80 on 12th January 2018.

The press had many tributes...


During a television career spanning six decades, Emberg appeared in programmes including The Benny Hill Show, Doctor Who and Z Cars.

She had recently finished filming In The Long Run, a Sky One comedy created by Idris Elba, the BBC said.

However, she will be best remembered for her turn as Blunderwoman, the comic sidekick of Abbot's Cooperman in the 1980s.

Abbot said: "It is with a heavy heart that I heard the news about Bella. She was not only a great sport but a huge comedy talent. A genuinely funny woman. I count myself very lucky to have worked alongside her. She really was a one off."

The Guardian (13.01.18.)


 

Russ Abbott: "She was my leading lady throughout most of my career. She was not only a great sport but a huge comedy talent. A genuinely funny woman, but most of all a woman of immense warmth and generosity. I count myself very lucky to have worked alongside her."

The Independent (13.01.18.)


Not everyone knew her name - but we all knew her face. Television has lost one of its most underrated yet instantly recognisable comic actresses with the death of Bella Emberg, aged 80. This gifted, grin-inducing performer was best known as spoof superheroine Blunder Woman, a comedic crime-fighter who foiled villains alongside Russ Abbot's hapless "Cooperman" - a mash-up of Superman and Tommy Cooper.

The Russ Abbot Show ran from 1980 to 1996, first on BBC One and then on ITV, at its peak attracting a staggering 18 million viewers. Emberg was second on the bill in an ensemble cast which also included Les Dennis, Dustin Gee, Jeffrey Holland and Michael Barrymore.

Emberg could get a laugh simply by walking on-screen in star-spangled hotpants, red boots and satin tights. Yet she also had perfect comic timing, bittersweet acting ability and deft physicality, honed by years in variety theatre and sketch shows.

Emberg was a generous performer and the perfect comedic foil. She was also a regular on another landmark, quintessentially British sketch show, appearing on the anarchically saucy Benny Hill Show for more than a decade.

Emberg always graciously insisted that the Blunder Woman character had been a blessing rather than a curse, despite making it harder for her to find roles afterwards.

"I went for jobs and they'd say: 'We'd love to hire you but you're too well known with Russ,'" she said last year. "But once every few weeks, I go and look at that Blunder Woman costume, still hanging up at home, and feel nothing but gratitude. Blunder Woman saved my career and I still view her as a complete blessing."

The Telegraph (13.01.18.)


Other tributes:

Such sad news. We've been chums since appearing together in a Summer show with Russ Abbot at the Princess Theatre, Torquay in 1981. A genuinely nice woman and despite her fierce on-stage characterisations, a truly gentle soul.

Bobby Crush

RIP the lovely Bella Emberg. Funniest fairy ever with us. Will miss you.'

Paul Chuckle - of the Chuckle Brothers

Bella had just finished filming for Sky One's In The Long Run, created by and starring Idris Elba. [Producer] Charlie Hanson wrote: 'So sad. She filmed with us before Christmas and is brilliant in In The Long Run. Such a lovely and funny woman, working right till the end.'

 

A joy to work with. She never gave you the impression she was an obsessive, show business person. She took the job seriously and did it well but she was just completely natural away from the job.

Barry Cryer, screenwriter