Mary Tamm: Doctor Who actress loses cancer fight aged 62posted 2012-07-26 09:11:08 by grendel
Tamm, who played the Doctor's companion Romana alongside Tom Baker, died at her home in south London after losing her 18 month fight against the disease.
Tributes were paid to the "truly beautiful" actress for her "sheer talent" and ''zest for life''.
Social networking sites were also full of praise after the Doctor Who official site posted its "great sadness" at the news on Thursday.
The actress, born in Bradford, West Yorks, to poor Estonian refugees, had a long career on stage and screen after not starting to learn English until she went to primary school.
As well as Doctor Who, she starred in films The Odessa File and The Likely Lads and had recurring roles in soaps Brookside and EastEnders.
Her family, including husband Marcus Ringrose, daughter Lauren and seven-year-old grandson Max, paid tribute to the actress.
Mr Ringrose said: "Mary was truly beautiful in every way. She was a very spiritual lady who loved nature and adored all animals.
"On set and offstage, her earthy northern humour and self-deprecating wit brightened every occasion. She was a consummate actress, and immensely popular in the profession.
"Mary was born in Bradford, the daughter of impoverished refugees, and through sheer talent and hard graft, got herself to Rada, starred opposite Jon Voight in The Odessa File, and found a form of immortality as the Time Lady Romana opposite Tom Baker in Doctor Who.
"We will miss her every day."
Tom Baker led the tributes to Tamm.
He said in a statement: "She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind. I'm so sorry to hear of her death."
Barry Langford, her agent of 22 years, also paid tribute to one of his "closest friends".
He said: "She had a great zest for life.
"She was a fantastic actress - she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away.
"She could play any role, and do so wonderfully."
Actress Helen Lederer, a friend of Tamm's, said: "Mary was such an energised, talented woman with a great twinkle in her eye and she was so very beautiful."
Colin Baker, the actor who played the sixth Doctor, wrote on Twitter: "Shell-shocked to hear Mary Tamm is gone. A funny, caring, talented, lovely and down to earth lady. My heart goes out to Marcus and Lauren."
Nicola Bryant, who played Doctor Who's American companion Peri, wrote on Twitter: "Just heard the terrible news that Mary Tamm has died. Completely shocked. Very sad. Thoughts go to Marcus & Lauren. RIP Mary."
Michael Idato, an Australian-based journalist, wrote: "Just heard Mary Tamm died. She played the splendidly fabulous Romana in Doctor Who. Thanks for a childhood of awesomeness. #vale."
Paul Cornell, who has written Doctor Who novels and screenplays, said: "She was always great fun on screen, and those who knew her say that was true off screen too."
Fellow Doctor Who writer Joe Lidster said of Tamm: "Sweet and funny and not at all what you'd expect someone so glamorous to be. Such sad news."
Meanwhile, Gary Gillatt posted: "Mary Tamm now. Another tragedy. What an awful year it's been to be a Doctor Who fan. This terrible silence, slowly rolling over it all."
Tamm, who lived in Battersea, south London, trained at Rada, where she mentored students and was involved in fundraising for the Eve Appeal, the gynaecology cancer research fund.
Her first professional job was at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre where she worked alongside Derek Jacobi, Joan Sims and Ronnie Barker.
From there she moved on to television work and film, her first feature film being Tales That Witness Madness with Kim Novak.
She recently starred in Wire In The Blood, Paradise Heights and Jonathan Creek, with stage work including Amanda in Private Lives and Beverley in Abigail's Party.
Her last role was in EastEnders, in which she played Orlenda in 2009, before publishing her autobiography that same year.
Mr Langford said Tamm had been saddened by the recent deaths of contemporaries Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, and Angharad Rees, who died last weekend.
He added: "All of these people who she knew were going."
In June actress Caroline John, who played Doctor Who's assistant Liz Shaw in the Seventies and Eighties, died aged 72.