Jean Alexander, who played Coronation Street‘s Hilda Ogden and shop-owner Auntie Wainwright in Last of the Summer Wine, has died aged 90. Alexander portrayed Hilda Ogden, a sharp-tongued, put-upon housewife who was one of Coronation Street‘s best known characters, from 1964 to 1987. She also appeared as shopkeeper Auntie Wainwright which, according to Alexander, was the ‘absolute favorite part’ of her career for 22 years.
While Coronation Street never has and never will enjoy the immense following it has had for over a half-century in the UK, Jean Alexander was clearly a force to be reckoned with on the series. With her curlers, headscarf and a piercing voice that no one could ignore, her character Hilda Ogden was, to many, the most iconic character in Coronation Street‘s 56-year history. So much so, a 2005 TV Times poll voted her the nation’s greatest soap character of all-time.
Following her 1987 departure from Coronation Street, Alexander joined Last of the Summer Wine a year later in 1988 as the junk shop owner Auntie Wainwright, a role she would go on to play for 22 years until the series ended in 2010.
Interestingly, Hilda Ogden wasn’t Alexander’s first connection with Coronation Street. She first appeared in 1962 in a minor role as a landlady. She returned two years later in 1964 to begin the role of a lifetime.
R.I.P. Jean Alexander.