Betty Driver: Star Of Coronation Street Dies, Aged 91
Coronation Street favourite Betty Driver has died at the age of 91.
An ITV spokesman said she "died peacefully in hospital" in the early hours of Saturday.
She had played the role of Rovers Return barmaid Betty Williams (Turpin) in the soap for 42 years.
The actress had been in hospital for six weeks. She had also been unwell earlier in the year and was treated for a chest infection in 2010.
The ITV spokesman said: "She will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her."
Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street, said: "I have lost a very dear friend and the Street has lost a very great character, a professional to her fingertips - she will be greatly missed."
Julie Goodyear, a former barmaid Bet Lynch in the soap, said: "It was an honour and a privilege to work with Betty Driver for 25 years. We laughed together, we cried together and never once had a cross word. She was a totally professional actress. A true icon and legend and a very dear friend."
Goodyear said Driver was "the very foundation of the Rovers Return", and added: "She will be missed and remembered by millions."
Driver had originally auditioned for the role of Hilda Ogden in 1964 after a 36-year-career in radio, television and the stage. She was then persuaded to come out of retirement in 1969 to audition for the role of Betty instead.
Her character became known for her famous hotpot - but Driver herself never tasted the dish as she did not eat meat.