Today would have marked the 88th birthday of Coronation Street legend Maggie Jones.
Best known for her portrayal of Blanche Hunt on the famous cobblestones, Maggie sadly passed away in 2009 after being taken to hospital with a “serious illness” following an operation.
She left an indelible mark on Corrie with her unique outlook on life, and her career has been studded with accolades, including two British Soap Awards for Best Comedic Performance in 2005 and again in 2008.
To celebrate a Corrie icon, Daily Star took a look back at her life and legacy – from her husband’s death to his own in December 2009.
Corrie Secret Characters
Maggie graduated from the prestigious RADA drama school as a young actress and went on to score various West End roles.
Coronation Street was actually her very first appearance on television – but not as Blanche. She originally appeared in a single episode of the soap in 1961 as a police officer.
That was not all. In 1967, she was invited back – this time to play the opposite role, as a shoplifter. It was not until 1974 that she landed the role of Blanche, Deirdre’s mother.
Alongside her role in Corrie, Maggie had appeared in everything from Sense and Sensibility to Heartbeat.
Towards the end of her life, Maggie fell into various periods of poor health and was hospitalized in 2008 after falling.
She was living at the luxury Marriott Victoria & Albert hotel in Manchester while filming for the soap opera when she fell and injured her shoulder and knee.
According to the Knutsford Guardian, she was seen limping from the hotel to Granada studios, where she was seen by medical staff, before being rushed to A&E at the local hospital.
She recovered in a private hospital, with an ITV spokesperson saying at the time: ‘The cast and crew of Coronation Street wish her a speedy recovery and hope to see her soon. She is loved by everyone.”
Maggie was 75 when she died amid a very slow recovery from a prolonged illness.
She was staying at the Royal Hospital in Salford for a major operation, the cause of which was never revealed, and initially reported that she was recovering slowly but steadily.
But her condition deteriorated and Maggie sadly passed away “peacefully in her sleep” in December 2009. She left behind her sister, Joan.
Her character Blanche wasn’t officially taken off the soap until 2010, however, when she reportedly suffered a heart attack while on an extended vacation in Portugal with her friend May Penn.
Maggie’s Corrie co-stars paid moving tributes to her at the time, with Ken Barlow star Bill Roache commenting: “Maggie was a big part of the Barlow family and a brilliant actress.
“She was a tower of strength, physically frail but mentally strong as an ox and strong as someone who was half her age.
“She had an amazing dry wit and was as funny, if not funnier, than Blanche. We were great crossword partners – we sat through Tracy’s trial scenes doing the crossword together.”
Maggie’s funeral at Salford Cathedral was attended by a host of her co-stars, including David Neilson, Michael Le Vell, Anne Kirkbride and William Roache.
The dean of the cathedral, Canon Tony McBride, said Maggie and Joan regularly attend mass services at the venue, just one mile from Granada Studios.
Audrey Roberts star Sue Nicholls read a poem aloud during the service, while Deirdre star Anne gave a reading from The Book of Wisdom.
After such a long acting career, it’s no surprise that Maggie left a sizable sum in her will.
The legal document was written in 2003 and left an inheritance of £8,000 to friends and relatives, while everything else went to his sister.
Probate records revealed she left an incredible £1,188,193 in her will, which was reduced after liabilities to £1,165,415.
She and her husband, lawyer John Stansfield, had no children, while John died in 1999 after the couple had been married for 28 years.
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