Elisabeth Sladen, English actress , Died at 65

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Dead, Elisabeth Clara Heath-Sladen on the 19th of April 2011 at the age of 65 she was an English actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in the British television series Doctor Who.

Born on the 1st of February 1946 in Liverpool, England, Sladen was the only child of Tom Sladen, who fought in the First World War and served in the Home Guard during the Second World War, and Gladys (née Trainer).

Sladen was interested in ballet and theatre from childhood, and began to appear on stage in the mid-1960s, although more often as a stage manager at this time.

She moved to London in 1970 and an appearance in the police drama Z-Cars led to her being selected for a part in Doctor Who.

She stayed as a regular cast member alongside Pertwee and Baker until 1976.

She subsequently starred in other roles on both television and radio, before semi-retiring to bring up a family in the mid-1980s.

After two years at drama school, Sladen began work at the Liverpool Playhouse repertory company as an assistant stage manager.

Her first stage appearance at the Playhouse was as a maid in Twelfth Night. A few months later, she played a corpse in The Physicists.

However, she was scolded for giggling on stage due to her future husband Brian Miller whispering the words “Respiration nil, Aston Villa two” in her ear while he was playing a doctor.

Sladen was such a good assistant stage manager that she did not get many acting roles, a problem that was solved when she accidentally made a mistake on one occasion.

An earlier interview indicated that she deliberately made mistakes on several occasions.
Sladen played Sarah Jane in several audio plays. T

wo of them were produced for BBC Radio, The Paradise of Death (Radio 5, 1993), and The Ghosts of N-Space (Radio 2, 1996), together with Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney.

In 1997 Sladen won Hall Of Fame Actress in Cult TV Awards Big Finish Productions produced two series of Sarah Jane Smith audio adventures set in the present day, released in 2002 and 2006.

Miller appeared in the story Ghost Town.

Her daughter Sadie appeared in the audios.

Along with John Leeson, she is one of only two actors to play the same character (Sarah Jane Smith) in four different television productions based in the “Doctor Who” universe: Doctor Who (1963), K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend (1981), Doctor Who (2005) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007).

She appeared with Leeson’s character in all four.

Diagnosed with cancer in late February 2011, less than 2 months before her death, her autobiography was released posthumously and promoted by her daughter Sadie Miller in November 2011.

Many people paid tribute to Sladen, including: Russell T Davies, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Alexander Armstrong, Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Damian Kavanagh, Keith Jones, Roger Carey, Stephen Fry, Steven Moffat and Tom Baker.

The Doctor Who story The Impossible Astronaut, which went to air the following Saturday, was dedicated to her memory.

Due to an editing mistake in the beginning of her career, the date listed for her birth on the dedication was incorrect – she was actually born in 1946.

 

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