Star of the screen and stage Ruth Madoc, best known for appearing in BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, has died at the age of 79 following a fall, her agent has confirmed.
The actress became a household name playing chief yellowcoat Gladys Pugh in BBC One’s hugely successful TV series about a holiday camp set in the late Fifties.
Her career also spanned an array of roles in theatre and musicals, from Fiddler On The Roof to Gypsy.
A statement said: “It is with much sadness that we have to announce the death of our dear and much-loved client Ruth Madoc.
“Ruth passed away on the afternoon of Friday December 9 while in hospital following surgery for a fall she had earlier in the week, which had led her to have to withdraw from panto in Torquay.
“From film work such as Fiddler On The Roof and Under Milk Wood with Richard Burton and her iconic TV performance as Gladys Pugh in Hi De Hi! and more recently in Little Britain and on stage with Calendar Girls (the play and the musical), plus recent acclaim in short films Skinny Fat and Cardiff, she was truly a national treasure and was looking forward to getting back on the road in 2023 with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
“A real legend of the British entertainment scene she was one of a kind and a unique talent loved by many. She is gone far too soon. Our hearts are broken!
“Thoughts are with her daughter Lowri, her son Rhys and all of her family.”
Her death comes following a fall which led her to withdraw from performing in the pantomime Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay.
Posting a statement on Twitter, the theatre company said on Thursday: “Following an accident earlier this week, after medical assessment, regretfully Ruth Madoc is no longer able to appear in this year’s pantomime of Aladdin at the Princess Theatre in Torquay.”
In 2018, Madoc overcame her fears to reveal her breasts to a live audience in the ladies’ version of The Real Full Monty alongside stars including Coleen Nolan, Victoria Derbyshire and Michelle Heaton.
They performed a dance to The Greatest Showman’s This Is Me to raise awareness about breast cancer.
A year later, she broke her hip in a fall while rehearsing for her role in Calendar Girls, but confounded doctors with her speedy recovery.
Born in April 1943 and brought up in Llansamlet near Swansea, Madoc trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before her break-out role playing Fruma Sarah in the film version of the musical Fiddler On The Roof in 1971.
A decade later she appeared on our screens in fan-favourite sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, having had other roles including Mrs Dai Bread Two in 1972 comedy film Under Milk Wood.
She is survived by her two children.