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Vicar of Dibley’s Emma Chambers dies, aged 53

The much loved actress Emma Chambers – who starred as the Vicar of Dibley’s dippy verger – has died at the age of 53.

She was best known for playing Alice Tinker in the BBC’s gentle sit-com, written by Richard Curtis, about a female vicar and her eccentric parishioners.

Her agent John Grant said Ms Chambers, who also starred in the 1999 film Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, died from natural causes on Wednesday evening and would be “greatly missed”.

Mr Curtis, who also wrote Notting Hill, told the Telegraph Ms Chambers was a “fine actress” and was “more than the measure of” both his leading stars Dawn French and Julia Roberts.

“We’re obviously terribly sad. She really was a great, great comedy performer –  and a very fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being,” he said.

“In my work she worked opposite Dawn French and Julia Roberts – and was more than the measure of the pair of them.

“I suppose I particularly remember those jokes at the end of each episode of the Vicar of Dibley. They were always done right at the end of the recording – with no time left – and were big feats of complicated remembering – and she was always completely accurate, completely innocent, completely hilarious.

“She has that classic and hard-to-find combination of being very very accurately funny, while also seeming to be very very truthful and real.”

Fans of The Vicar of Dibley expressed their sadness at Ms Chamber’s death, describing her as an “amazingly talented and hilarious actress who lit up people’s televisions” and a “comic genius”.

Dawn French, her Vicar of Dibley co-star, said: “Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much.”

In a post on Twitter alongside a snap of the pair lying on the sofa together, she added: “I was regularly humped like this by the unique & beautiful spark that was Emma Chambers.

“I never minded. I loved her. A lot”

Mr Grant added: “Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work. She brought laughter and joy to many.”

Her Notting Hill co-star Hugh Grant tweeted: “Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.”

Co-writer of the Vicar of Dibley actor Paul Mayhew-Archer, 65, hailed her “amazing” talents.

“I loved working with her, she was stunning. I am devastated, she was a key part of the Vicar of Dibley,”he said.

“I used to love watching her going over her lines in rehearsal, she would read them to herself and try to find the perfect delivery.

“Alice became completely central to the piece, it was just perfect.

Emma Chambers and Dawn French in the first series of The Vicar of Dibley

“Most sitcoms have an idiot of some sort but she managed to make her idiot completely different, it was amazing.

“The last time I saw her was the last episode, all of my memories are to do with the programme, her passing was so sudden.”

Chambers and French during filming in 2006


Before her first break in television in 1994, with the role of Charity Pecksniff in the TV serialisation of the Charles Dickens novel Martin Chuzzlewit, the Doncaster-born had spent a decade honing her craft on the stage.

In 2000, she was cast as Martha Thompson in Take a Girl Like You, a made for TV drama based on the Kingsley Amis novel and a remake of the 1970 film.

Curtis’s partner, the writer Emma Freud, paid tribute to Ms Chambers, writing on Twitter: “Our beautiful friend has died at the age of 53.  We’re very very sad.  She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress.  And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being.”

Emma Chambers photographed during her run in Benefactors by Micheal Frayn, at the Albery Theatre in London’s West End

Andrew Crowley/Telegraph

James Dreyfus, who starred alongside her in Notting Hill, wrote: “RIP the wonderful and talented Emma Chambers. Unique & unspeakably funny. Too young. Thoughts with her family. X”

Jeremy Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter, recalled Chambers being “very funny”.

He wrote on Twitter: “I’m sad about Emma Chambers. Knew her when she was a kid in Doncaster.”

Jonathan Sothcott, the film producer, said: “RIP the wonderful Emma Chambers – best known for The Vicar of Dibley but also stole every scene in Notting Hill. Only 53.”

Chambers was asthmatic and seriously allergic to animals – unable to touch them or anything they had come into contact with.

In 2002, she told The Telegraph that her allergy could leave her needing a steroid injection or being rushed to hospital.

Ms Chambers is survived by her husband, fellow actor Ian Dunn.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/24/vicar-dibleys-emma-chambers-dies-aged-53/

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