Thora Hird Dame Thora Hird DBE (28 May 1911-15 March 2003) was a veteran English actress.
Thora Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She was the mother of the actress Janette Scott, and thus formerly the mother-in-law of the singer Mel TormÃ©.
Thora Hird's first ever appearance on stage was when she was two months old in a play her father was managing.
Thora Hird was mainly associated with television comedy, notably the sitcoms Meet the Wife (a 1960s classic) and later series of Last of the Summer Wine. However, she played a variety of roles, including the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and won a BAFTA Best Actress award for her role in one of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues. She starred as Captain Emily Ridley in the sitcom Hallelujah about The Salvation Army, a movement for which she had a soft spot throughout her life.
Thora was a committed Christian, hosting the religious programme 'Praise Be!' the pre-cursor to Songs of Praise on the BBC. Her tireless work for charity and work on television in spite of old age and ill health had made her an institution.
Some of her youthful film work still survives, including her 1942 appearance in the classic wartime propaganda film Went the Day Well?.
She was created an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983, and raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in 1993. She received an honorary DLitt from Lancaster University in 1989.
Thora Hird's energy and resilience were such that, even following the news that she had suffered a stroke, BBC bosses were still hoping that she would recover in order to appear in the next series of Last of the Summer Wine.
She died of a stroke, ending a performing career that had lasted nearly a century.