15/07/2020 15:07 BST | Updated 15/07/2020 16:16 BST

Paula Tilbrook, Emmerdale Veteran, Has Died, Aged 89

The actor was best known for playing Betty Eagleton in the ITV soap.

Soap veteran Paula Tilbrook has died at the age of 89.

The actor was best known for her portrayal of gossiping neighbour Betty Eagleton in Emmerdale, a role she held for more than 20 years.

The news of Paula’s death was first reported by The Stage on Wednesday, although she actually died in December 2019.

Digital Spy also shared a statement from “those close to [Paula]”, which noted that she “died of natural causes a few months ago at home with her loved ones beside her”.

Paula Tilbrook, pictured in 2007

An Emmerdale spokesperson told HuffPost UK: ”’We are saddened to hear of the passing of our much loved colleague, Paula Tilbrook. Paula was at the heart of Emmerdale for many years and she will be greatly missed by all who worked with her and by the fans of her character, Betty.

“We have lost a great talent and a wonderful friend but she will forever live in the memories of those lucky enough to have known her.”

Paula first began playing her signature character in 1994, and bowed out of the soap in May 2015.

However, she did briefly appear in one episode at the end of that year, addressing the Emmerdale villagers in a Christmas Day Skype message.

Paula with co-star Stan Richards, who died in 2005

As well as her popular Emmerdale character, Paula played multiple roles in Coronation Street in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1991, she returned to Corrie, playing Alf Roberts’ friend Vivian Barford, and made her final appearance in 1993, the year before she became a staple in Emmerdale.

She also played Betty Hughes in Brookside between 1984 and 1985.

Paula’s other acting credits included playing Mrs Tattersall in Open All Hours, Flo Capp in the sitcom based on the cartoon strip Andy Capp and three different roles in Last Of The Summer Wine.

Her final on-screen appearance was in 2016, when she was a guest on a Coronation Street vs. Emmerdale special of the ITV game show The Big Quiz, which featured her former co-stars Mark Charnock, Charlotte Bellamy, Liam Fox and Samantha Giles.

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