Emmerdale actress Shirley Stelfox dies at 74

Emmerdale actress Shirley Stelfox has died following a short battle with cancer.

A statement from Associated International Management said she had passed away peacefully on Monday at home with her daughter Helena by her side.

Shirley Stelfox in 2002

Shirley Stelfox in 2002 (Yui Mok/PA)


The 74-year-old was best known for her role in ITV’s Emmerdale as Edna Birch, which she played for the last 15 years.

ITV executive producer John Whiston said: “The family here at Emmerdale are deeply saddened by Shirley’s passing, it is hard to imagine Emmerdale without her.

“We offer our condolences to Shirley’s family and share our feeling of loss with the millions of viewers who will miss Edna enormously.”



She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada), and went on to star in numerous well-known TV shows.

She was the first Rose in Keeping Up Appearances and also starred in The Bill, Coronation Street and Crossroads.

Such a shame about #shirleystelfox. Amazing actor! Thoughts are with her family and @emmerdale today xxx

— Gareth East (@GarethEast91) December 8, 2015


Her film credits included a role opposite John Hurt in the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984. She also starred alongside Julie Walters in Personal Services.

So sad to hear the news that Shirley Stelfox has passed away. Such a brilliant underrated actress, fantastic in Pat and Margaret. #RIP

— Gee Baker (@geezworld234) December 8, 2015


TV and film aside, she also had a successful career in the theatre, with her stage work including Not Now, Darling, Toad Of Toad Hall and Cavalcade at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

She was married to actor Don Henderson from 1979 until he passed away in 1997.


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