Jean Alexander, born as Jean Hodgkinson on October 24, 1926, in Toxteth, Liverpool, was an English actress best known for her role as Hilda Ogden in the long-running soap opera “Coronation Street.” Her impactful portrayal of Hilda endeared her to audiences across the United Kingdom and established her as one of the most beloved characters on British television.

Alexander grew up in the Dingle area of Liverpool in a working-class family. Her father was a wagon driver, and her mother was a cleaner. From a young age, Jean showed an interest in performing and participated in local amateur dramatics. She dreamed of becoming an actress and pursued her passion by attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

After completing her education, Alexander started her career in theater, performing in repertory companies and touring productions. In the 1950s, she began appearing in television dramas, including the popular ITV series “Emergency – Ward 10” and “Z Cars.” However, it was her role as Hilda Ogden in “Coronation Street” that brought her widespread recognition.

Jean Alexander joined the cast of “Coronation Street” in 1964 and portrayed Hilda Ogden for over two decades. Hilda, a sharp-tongued, nosy, and downtrodden character, instantly struck a chord with viewers and became an icon of British television. Alexander’s talent for bringing humor and depth to the role made Hilda a beloved and relatable figure, and her catchphrase “Ta-ra, chuck” became synonymous with the character.

Throughout her time on “Coronation Street,” Jean Alexander received critical acclaim for her performance, earning her numerous awards and nominations. She won the British Soap Award for Best Actress three times and the National Television Award for Most Popular Actress once. In recognition of her outstanding contribution to British television, Jean Alexander was also awarded a special BAFTA tribute in 2005.

After leaving “Coronation Street” in 1987, Alexander continued to work in television, appearing in shows such as “Last of the Summer Wine” and “Crossroads.” She also made occasional stage appearances and appeared in several films, including “Scrubbers” and “Down Among the Big Boys.” However, it was her role as Hilda Ogden which forever defined her career.

Jean Alexander’s impact on British popular culture cannot be overstated. Her portrayal of Hilda Ogden resonated with viewers from all walks of life, reflecting the struggles of working-class women in Northern England. Her character transcended the screen and became a cultural touchstone, inspiring countless tributes and parodies. Alexander’s ability to capture the essence of Hilda’s humor, vulnerability, and resilience made her an enduring figure in British television history.

Jean Alexander passed away on October 14, 2016, at the age of 90. Her legacy as one of Britain’s finest actresses lives on, and her portrayal of Hilda Ogden remains an indelible part of popular culture. With her remarkable talent and unforgettable performances, Jean Alexander will always be remembered as a true icon of British television.

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