Coronation Street and The Crown star James Laurenson dies as tributes pour in

Coronation Street star James Laurenson, renowned for his long-standing career in TV and film, has sadly passed away at the age of 84.

Laurenson boasted an impressive five-decade career, with notable appearances in Coronation Street, hit Netflix Royal series The Crown, and Spooks.

He made his film debut in 1969's Women In Love, directed by Ken Russell.

He also etched his name in television history by sharing the first televised gay kiss with Ian McKellen in a 1970 adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, a groundbreaking scene that came three years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Coronation Street viewers may recall his portrayal of Reverend Peter Hope of St Mary's Church in 1968, reports the Mirror.

He went on to grace the screens in beloved shows such as Spooks, Taggart, Prime Suspect, and Midsomer Murders.

His talent was recognised in 2011 with an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Nicholas Hytner's production of Hamlet.

He leaves behind his second wife, Cari Haysom, and son Jamie from his first marriage to actress Carol Macready, which ended in 1997.

Born in New Zealand, James' earliest memory was "seeing a Lockheed Hudson flying over our house and being told that my father was in it".

His father shared his passion for the arts, being an amateur actor himself.

James Laurenson, the esteemed actor, passed away leaving behind a legacy of his time in the spotlight.

He studied at Canterbury University College in Christchurch before moving to London, where he quickly learned the tough nature of the acting industry, confessing, "the first thing I learnt is that it is really hard to find work and be offered scripts".

He spoke candidly about the profession's unpredictability, emphasizing the need for passion as success is not guaranteed: "You have to have a passion for acting Hollywood might come knocking but on the other hand you may spend vast amounts of the time unemployed."

In the '90s, James relocated from the hustle of London to the tranquillity of Frome in Somerset.

His talent shone through in numerous summer festival productions with the Peter Hall Company at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and while touring.

The Western Daily Press once captured his off-stage life, where he found solace in "walking our dog, Maisie, down by the River Mells".

James was most content when "tucked up with my lady listening to Oscar Peterson and Dizzie Gillespie playing If I Were a Bell", a personal snippet he shared. Following his death, heartfelt tributes have been flooding in.

A fan expressed their admiration online: "Very sad to hear that James Laurenson has died. He was a wonderful actor and I count myself lucky that I saw him at the RSC a few times. He seemed like a gentle soul. His way with words was exemplary, giving feeling and resonance to pretty much any script he worked with. RIP."

Another lamented the loss, saying: "I'm very sorry to hear that superb actor James Laurenson has died. I saw him many times over the years on stage, and even if I did not much fancy the play, if his name was on the cast list, I bought a ticket. I was never disappointed. RIP."

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