5 Jul 2011

Actress Anna Massey dies at 73

6:36 pm on 5 July 2011

Veteran British actress Anna Massey, best known for her supporting roles as a lonely spinster, has died at the age of 73 from cancer.

Massey made her professional debut on stage at the age of 17, with a career in film and television spanning five decades, including roles in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy and an adaptation of The Importance of Being Ernest.

She won a BAFTA for her role in a 1986 TV adaptation of Anita Brookner's novel Hotel du Lac and in 2004 was awarded a CBE for services to acting, Reuters reports.

Two years later, she played former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the television drama Pinochet in Suburbia.

But despite her success, Massey struggled with acting and in 1996 told the The Independent she found it "incredibly difficult - it demands much more of my time than it does for some people".

"I'm not instinctive. It takes enormous discipline and bravery to get me there."

Massey was married to Sherlock Holmes actor Jeremy Brett for four years until 1962 and met her second husband, Russian scientist Uri Andres, 27 years later.