Caroline Mortimer obituary

Polly Mortimer
·2-min read

My sister-in-law Caroline Mortimer, who has died aged 78, acted in many television series from the early 1960s onwards, including six episodes of The Pallisers (1974), as Alice Vavasour, and all 13 episodes of Kids (1979), as the main character, Pat Langley. She also had parts in well-known series such as The Saint (1968), Crown Court (1976) and Shelley (1982). Her film credits included The Hireling (1973) and Juggernaut (1974).

Born in Willersey, in Gloucestershire, Carrie was the daughter of Penelope (nee Fletcher), a novelist, and Charles Dimont, a journalist for the Reuters news agency. After her parents divorced in 1947, when she was seven, her mother married the barrister and author John Mortimer, and the new family, which eventually consisted of her elder sister, Madelon, four half-sisters and a half-brother, settled in London.

Carrie went to St Mary’s Town and Country school in Belsize Park, north London, and at 16 began training as an actor at Rada. She made her television debut in 1963 as Lucy Carrington in The Outcasts, in the ITV Playhouse series.

At 19 she met the actor Leslie Phillips, and they lived together for 10 years before she married another actor, John Bennett, in 1978. They had two sons, Jake and Sam, and together with Jamie, John’s son from a previous relationship, family life was cosy – full of dogs and Cornish holidays.

Carrie became a full-time mother at that stage, although she continued for many years to take on occasional acting jobs, including in an episode of Rumpole of the Bailey, written by her stepfather, in 1988. She also adapted one of her mother’s novels, The Handyman, for radio – it was called Little Muspratt – and wrote a radio play, Me and My Shadow, which she starred in, along with her dog, in 1983. During the 1980s she qualified as a Childline listener and volunteered at Mayhew, the animal charity. Her last acting job came in Holby City in 2008.

Always curious, unjudgmental and ever positive, she was a loyal friend, a lover of Hampstead Heath in north London, of crosswords, the Sound of Music, coach holidays with Jake and her great friend Marian Diamond, and her Willesden Green garden.

She liked swimming in the sea and was pretty competitive at Scrabble. She was vital, beautiful and beloved.

Sam died in 2002 of cancer and John predeceased her in 2005. She is survived by Jake and Jamie and by six half-siblings, Julia, Sally, Jeremy, Charles, Sarah and Chris.