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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 July 1911Covent Garden, London, England, UK
Date of Death 11 July 2005Barnes, London, England, UK  (natural causes)
Height 5' 1" (1.55 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gretchen Franklin made her first screen appearance in the 1954 British suspense film Shadow of Fear (1955), directed by Albert S. Rogell, in which she acted alongside Mona Freeman, Jean Kent and Maxwell Reed. During the 1960s and 70s she made her name through guest roles on various sit-coms, such as Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973) which starred Michael Crawford. She also appeared on the BBC's The Morecambe & Wise Show (1968). It was, however, with the BBC's EastEnders (1985) that she became a household name, as Ethel Skinner, at the age of 75. As one of the original cast members in 1985, she stayed with the show until semi-retirement in 1993 - from then until 1997 she made three or four appearances in Christmas episodes or on special occasions. In June 2000, at the age of 88, she was asked back to EastEnders to reprise her role, and declared that she was glad to be free of the boredom of retirement. She once said of herself: "I can play the comedy scenes or the tearjerkers. The directors and producers have realised that." Off screen she devoted much of her time to charity work, giving away the royalties from international syndication of EastEnders to charities that are "all for animals or old people". She died aged 94 in 2005.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mark McKeown

Spouse (1)

Caswell Garth (1934 - 1953) (his death)

Trivia (7)

She made her stage debut as a pantomime chorus girl in Bournemouth, earning £2 a week.
In 1929, she went to dance lessons at the Theatre Girls Club in Soho, London and became a noted tap dancer and founded a quartet called Four Brilliant Blondes.
Donated all the money she made from repeats of her television programmes to animal charities.
Cousin of Clive Dunn.
Ranked #80 in the 100 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Characters of All Time for her performance as Ethel Skinner (2010).
Ranked #91 in The 100 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Characters of All Time for her performance as Ethel Skinner (2015).
As of 2016 she is the 7th-longest serving actress in the history of EastEnders (1985) (tied with Patsy Palmer and Gillian Wright, and behind only June Brown, Pam St. Clement, Wendy Richard, Letitia Dean, Barbara Windsor, and a tied Gillian Taylforth, Natalie Cassidy and Laila Morse), having played the character Ethel Skinner for 12 years (initially from 1985 until 1997 and then briefly in 2000).

Personal Quotes (2)

At my age one isn't buying new fur coats or diamonds. [In reference to giving all the money earned from the television repeats of her work to charity]
I didn't miss the show, only the money! [In reference to BBC Soap Eastenders]

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