Victoria Wood, British Comedian and TV Icon, Dies at 62

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Victoria Wood

The BAFTA-winning writer, director, actor and comedian spent more than three decades on British TV and was widely adored for her down-to-earth and self-deprecating comic genius.

Victoria Wood, the much-loved and multi-BAFTA-winning British writer, director, actor and comedian, has died. She was 62.

Her publicist confirmed the news on Tuesday, saying Wood died surrounded by her family at home in London after "short but brave battle with cancer."

An icon of British TV for over three decades, Wood first found fame on a talent show and would go on to create the acclaimed 1980s BBC series Victoria Wood as Seen on TV, a sketch show also starring her longtime friend and collaborator Julie Walters. One of the most repeated sketches was "Two Soups," which saw Walters as an elderly, wobbling waitress, while Wood's own self-penned songs that she would play on the piano would become a staple of her stand-up routine. Other friends such as Celia Imrie also appeared on the series.

The show, which ran for two seasons between 1985 and 1987, would win Wood a BAFTA, one of four she would go on to receive. 

Follow-ups would include comedy series Pat and Margaret, which at its peak had more than 10 million viewers on the BBC, and Dinnerladies, both also starring Walters and Imrie, in addition to several one-off TV specials.

In 2007, Wood won her fourth and final BAFTA for her performance in ITV's wartime drama Housewife, 49, which was later adapted for stage. She also picked up six British Comedy Awards, the first being best stand-up live comedy performer in 1990 and the last in 2011 for best female TV comic.

Underlining Wood's status as among the very elite of British comedy greats, tributes began pouring in within minutes of her death being announced.

BBC director general Tony Hall described her as a woman "with a stunning array of talents — a comedian, singer, songwriter, actress and director," adding that "people identified with her warmth and great charm."

Others took to Twitter to share their sadness at the news.