Patricia Routledge Patricia Routledge, CBE (born Katherine Patricia Routledge, February 17, 1929) is a popular British actress, best known for television roles such as Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances.
She was born in Birkenhead (then in Cheshire), and educated at Birkenhead High School and the University of Liverpool, going on to act at the Liverpool Playhouse. She went on to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She appeared in many stage productions, including musicals (as in the title role in the West End production of Little Mary Sunshine), and made her Broadway debut in 1966.
Her appearance in Darling of the Day on Broadway won her a Tony Award in 1968 (she shared the honour that year with Leslie Uggams, who also won for the musical Hallelujah, Baby!). Around this time, she also acted in the films To Sir, with Love and Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River.
Her numerous television appearances, including roles in Coronation Street and several BBC drama serials, failed to make her a household name until the 1980s, when she appeared, amongst other things, in Victoria Wood's comedy series, and Alan Bennett's Talking Heads series of short plays.
It was in 1990 that she first played the comic role of Hyacinth Bucket, an originally working-class woman with social pretensions (for example, she insists that everyone pronounce her surname "Bouquet"). In 1996, she took the lead in another long-running series, this time a drama, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, which co-starred rising star Dominic Monaghan as her assistant. She has also played several real-life characters on television, including Barbara Pym and Hildegard of Bingen.
A recent BBC radio dramatisation of Carole Hayman's "Ladies of Letters" sees Patricia playing pensioner Vera Small in a two-hander with Prunella Scales (as Irene Spencer), a gentle, quintessentially British comedy where the two ladies exchange letters (more recently e-mails) full of acerbic comment and ironic asides.
Routledge appeared in the West End in 2004 in The Solid Gold Cadillac. In the United States, in addition to her Tony Award-winning role in Darling of the Day, she appeared in a number of short-lived musicals including the legendary 1976 flop, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
A stage play based on a book by Hugh Whitemore, The Best of Friends, provides a window on the friendships of Dame Laurentia McLachlan, OSB with Sir Sydney Cockerell and George Bernard Shaw through adaptations from their letters and writings. In a 2006 production at the Hampstead Theatre, Patricia Routledge played the part of Dame Laurentia.
She has never married and has no children.
Having been appointed OBE in 1993, Routledge was promoted CBE in 2004.