Jean Alexander



Real name: Jean Alexander
Born: 24 February 1926, Liverpool, Lancashire


Contact: c/o Joan Reddin


  1. Mrs Webb (1962)
  2. Hilda Ogden (1964 - 25 December 1987)

Jean Alexander was born on 24 February 1926 in Liverpool. Even though she always had aspirations to become an actress, Jean began her working life as a library assistant in Liverpool, but after five years the pull of the theatre became irresistible.

She began her acting career in 1949 at the Adelphi Guild Theatre in Macclesfield, followed by touring around repertory companies in Oldham, Stockport and York. During this time she worked as an actress, wardrobe mistress and stage manager. Jean then moved to London where she made the 1951 film The Mob in which she played Doris. Her television debut was in the hit cop series Z-Cars. She first appeared in Coronation Street as landlady Mrs Webb.

Two years later, Jean returned to Coronation Street and this time she played the unforgettable Hilda Ogden. Over the next 23 years, Jean became one of the best loved actresses in the show. With her dangling fag and wrap-around pinny, Hilda became such a national treasure that Jean was voted the fourth most popular woman in Britain - only bested by the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and Princess Diana. In 1984-5 she received the Royal Television Society's Best Performance Award for her poignant portrayal of a bereaved Hilda. In 1987 TV Times readers voted Jean Best Actress. While these were proud moments for Jean, she felt keenly the loss of her long-time partner Bernard Youens - Stan to her Hilda. "Working without Bunny was like acting without an arm" she said, but she carried on bravely, just as she knew Hilda would. "I knew that Hilda would never let anyone see her cry - and that's how I played her."

By Christmas 1987 Jean was ready to devote more time to her Southport garden. "I've worked hard all my life" she said, "and it's time to put my feet up". Jean was then inundated with offers of work and made guest appearances in Boon and The Last of the Summer Wine before joining the children's series Woof!. She then teamed up with Patricia Hodge and Lionel Jeffries in the comedy series Rich Tea and Sympathy before working with John Hurt and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer in the film Scandal, playing Christine Keeler's mother.

In 1992 she returned to The Last Of The Summer Wine as Auntie Wainwright and became a regular character. Jean also returned to Coronation Street for a charity Telethon and recorded Hilda's Memories on audio tape.

Jean is single and lives in Southport and recently appeared as Hilda in a commercial for the sky channel Granada Gold. Jean also appeared in the quiz show Cludo and in the children's series The Phoenix and the Carpet as Lily.

TV credits include: Deadline Midnight (BBC, 1961); Z Cars (BBC); Woof (Carlton); Top Secret; The Phoenix and the Carpet (BBC1) as Lily; Last of the Summer Wine (BBC1) as Auntie Wainwright; Jacks and Knaves; Harry (BBC1) as Irene Patterson; Cluedo (ITV, 1993) as Mariory Hunt; Boon (Central); Adam's Family Tree as Mrs Whisper;

Film credits include: Scandal as Mrs Keeler








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