My Family’s Robert Lindsay pays tribute to co-star Rosemary Leach

By By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Robert Lindsay has paid tribute to his My Family co-star Rosemary Leach, who has died aged 81, calling the actress “my surrogate mum”.

The Room With A View actress forged a long career on stage and screen, including as the mother of Zoe Wanamaker’s character in My Family.

Lindsay and Wanamaker played husband and wife in the long-running BBC sitcom.

Leach played Mrs Honeychurch, the mother of Helena Bonham Carter’s character, in the 1985 Oscar-winning film A Room With A View, and Mrs MacLaine in the 1973 film That’ll Be The Day, starring David Essex.

Zoe Wanamaker and Robert Lindsay starred in My Family (Ian West/PA)

Lindsay told the Press Association: “I always regarded her as my mum which is strange as she played David Essex’s mum in That’ll Be The Day.

“But she sort of adopted me and, ironically, went on to play Zoe’s mother in My Family and I had to wake up in bed next to her.

“But she was always my surrogate mum and that’s how I will always think of her. RIP Mummy Rosie.”

Leach died after a short illness, her agent said.

She won an Olivier Award for her performance in the play 84 Charing Cross Road.

Her agent Caroline de Wolfe said in a statement: “It is with great sadness I must report the news that Rosemary Leach died in hospital yesterday, Saturday 21st October, after a short illness.”

The Rada-educated actress was twice nominated for a supporting actress Bafta for her roles in A Room With A View and That’ll Be The Day.

Her other screen credits include TV series No, That’s Me Over Here! (1967), TV movies Cider With Rosie (1971) and Just Between Ourselves (1978).

She also notched up roles in Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat.

Leach made her stage debut with the Amersham Repertory Theatre before appearing in rep theatre in Coventry, Birmingham and Liverpool.

Fans paid tribute on Twitter, with @AaronMLB writing “sad to read of the death of Rosemary Leach” and @dialmformovies writing “Farewell Rosemary Leach”.

She is survived by her husband, Mr Holmes actor Colin Starkey.

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