Patricia Phoenix


Real name: Patricia Frederica Pilkington
Born: 26 November 1924, Manchester
Married:

  1. Peter Marsh
  2. Alan Browning (23 December 1972; d:1979)
  3. Anthony Booth (September 1986)

Died: 18 September 1986

Played: Elsie Tanner (9 December 1960 - 4 January 1984)

Pat Phoenix's life very much mirrored that of the character she played - Elsie Tanner. Although born to a poor, working-class family in Manchester she turned herself into a larger-than-life character and in the end it became hard to discern where Pat Phoenix ended and Elsie Tanner started.

She always had an interest in showbusiness, and her acting career started when she was 15 with a BBC radio play, and a year later in 1940 appearing in Children's Hour. After leaving school she tried working in an office, but soon joined the Mnachester Theatre Arts company, and for the next 18 years toured northern England in rep. In the early 1950' she joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. Despite a disasterous audition for the role Elsie Tanner in August 1960, she was given the role both for Granada's dry runs and the actual drama - where she remained as one of Tony Warren's pivotal and classic 'strong female' roles for 23 years. In the 1960's she started to blur her stage and private lives - romantically inventing the story she was born in County Galway, Ireland.

After leaving the Street, she did radio phone-ins, chat shows and worked for TV-am. She also played the lead role in an unsuccessful sicom about a seaside landlady - Constant Hot Water.

She wrote two biographies All My Burning Bridges (1974) and Love, Curiosity, Freckles and Doubt (1983).

Gravely ill, she married her fiance, Anthony Booth, a short time before she finally died of lung cancer in September 1986.

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