2016 has stuck once again as beloved British actress Liz Smith, best known for role as the brandy-loving grandmother Norma Jean Speakman, a.k.a. Nana, in Royle Family, passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 95.
Smith’s career spanned more than four decades and included a supporting appearance in Peter Sellers’s Pink Panther movies as well as the BBC sitcom I Didn’t Know You Cared. Smith also won a prestigious BAFTA Award for her performance opposite Michael Palin and Dame Maggie Smith in the 1984 comedy A Private Function.
Even still, it would not be until her brilliant portrayal as the creator of increasingly bizarre food concoctions, Dibley church organist and member of the Dibley Town Council Letitia Cropley in The Vicar of Dibley that Smith would finally become a household name.
The 1996 Vicar of Dibley Easter special episode, which featured the death of Cropley, solidified the legacy of the Dawn French British sitcom as one of TV’s true bittersweet comedy classics.
RIP, Liz Smith. Thank goodness there are only a few days remaining in 2016!