Nicola Pagett, Actress in 'Upstairs, Downstairs,' Dies at 75

A BIT OF A DO - David Jason, Nicola Pagett
ITV / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Nicola Pagett with David Jason on the 1989 ITV series 'A Bit of a Do'

She also starred as Anna Karenina and in Pinter plays and appeared in films including 'There's a Girl in My Soup' and 'An Awfully Big Adventure.'

Nicola Pagett, who portrayed the rebellious daughter Elizabeth Bellamy on the acclaimed 1970s British miniseries Upstairs, Downstairs, died Wednesday of complications from a brain tumor, The Guardian reported. She was 75.

Pagett's notable small-screen work also included a turn as Elizabeth Fanschawe in the 1973 telefilm Frankenstein: The True Story and as the star of the 10-episode 1977 miniseries Anna Karenina.

On the big screen, Pagett appeared in such films as Anne of a Thousand Days (1969), There's a Girl in My Soup (1970), Operation: Daybreak (1975), Privates on Parade (1983) and Mike Newell's An Awfully Big Adventure (1995).

A West End regular, Pagett starred with Michael Gambon and Liv Ullmann in a 1985 revival of Harold Pinter's Old Times after being directed by the playwright two years earlier in The Trojan War Will Not Take Place.

She battled manic depression during her life and wrote about it in her 1997 book, Diamond Behind My Ears.

Pagett was born on June 15, 1945, in Cairo, where her father was an oil executive. At 17, she was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and she gained early attention for her work in a stage tour of La Contessa opposite Vivien Leigh.

Pagett played Elizabeth on the first two seasons of ITV's Upstairs, Downstairs, winner of four Emmy Awards for outstanding drama/limited series.

"There weren't any stars really — that was the beauty of it," she said in a 2002 interview. "Everyone had an equal importance in the thing. The product was more important than the people in it in those days. So, if it was a success, it was a success because everyone in it was good rather than because the actor in it was well known."

During the second season, Elizabeth endures a loveless marriage to poet Lawrence Kirbridge (Ian Ogilvy) and has an affair before leaving for America. It was Pagett's idea to exit the series as she "didn't want to be known for one thing only," she said.

Later, she made an impression in the 1984 Barbara Taylor Bradford miniseries A Woman of Substance and on series including A Bit of a Do and Ain't Misbehavin.

Survivors include her daughter, Eve, and sister, Angela.