Frances Cuka, Star Of Friday Night Dinner, Has Died, At The Age Of 83

Daniel Welsh

Veteran actress Frances Cuka has died at the age of 83.

Frances was best known for her role in the Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner, in which she played Nelly, the Goodman family’s grandmother.

The news of her death was confirmed in an obituary published in The Guardian, which it was revealed she died on 16 February.

No cause of death was given, although her obituary noted that she suffered a stroke “a few years ago”, and had previously been diagnosed with cancer.

Frances Cuka in Friday Night Dinner

The obituary read: “Always cheerful and down-to-earth, it was typical that she should have made her last stage appearances in north London fringe theatres nine years ago as Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell and “a blousy Bermondsey broad” in a play called Carry On Brighton.

“Cuka had a fulfilling private life, with two significant long-term relationships with married men.

“She was a voracious reader and a dedicated gardener in the large ground floor Hampstead apartment she occupied for the past 50 years.”

Frances began her career in acting in the late 1950s, appearing in a production of Macbeth and later originating the role of Jo in the play A Taste Of Honey, which she remained in when it made the jump from the West End to Broadway.

She later appeared in the film Scrooge in 1970, more recently appearing in the Roman Polanski adaptation of Oliver Twist and the comedy-drama Closer To The Moon. 

Frances pictured in 1977

In 1991, she was cast as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, and filmed several scenes as the character, though these were ultimately scrapped, and the part went to Jo Warne. Three years later, the part was recast, with Barbara Windsor playing the role instead.

Friday Night Dinner will return to our screens in March, though it’s not known whether Frances filmed any scenes for the upcoming sixth series.

Watch some of her Friday Night Dinner...

Continue reading on HuffPost