Vivean Gray, the actress who played Mrs Mangel in Neighbours, has died at the age of 92.
Gray was born in Cleethorpes, Lancashire in 1924 to parents who ran a fish and chip shop, but moved to Australia in 1952 in pursuit of better acting opportunities.
She worked in radio and theatre down under before transitioning to the screen in the 1970s and 1980s with roles in popular Austraian TV shows The Sullivans and Prisoner: Cell Block H. In 1986 she became a regular Neighbours cast member and would play meddling, sharp-tongued matriarch Nell Mangel in nearly 300 episodes until 1988.
The BBC reports that she left acting because viewers were unable to distinguish between Gray and the character she played. “I could barely set foot outside my own door without someone screaming abuse at horrid old Mrs Mangel,” she said in a 1989 interview. “People didn’t seem to appreciate it was acting. So I decided to take a break.”
Gray also played a key supporting role in the iconic 1975 Australian film Picnic At Hanging Rock, for which she was later commemorated on a postage stamp.
Mark Little, who played her on-screen son Joe Mangel in Neighbours, has paid tribute to Gray on Twitter this morning, calling her a “legend many times over”.
Vivean Gray:Legend many times over.I was privileged to know and work with her.We laughed a lot creating The Mangel https://t.co/1sejJjptOO.
— MARK LITTLE (@themarklittle) July 29, 2016