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Diana Coupland

Diana Coupland c.1973
Born 5 March 1932(1932-03-05)
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Died 10 November 2006 (aged 74)
Coventry, England

Diana Coupland (5 March 1932 – 10 November 2006) was an English actress best remembered for her role as Jean Abbott on Bless This House, which she played from 1971 to 1976.


Early life

Coupland was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire in 1932, and originally wanted to be a ballet dancer, but she could not fulfill this ambition due to a horse-riding accident. Her music career began at the age of 11. Barney Colehan, a BBC producer, heard Coupland sing and invited her onto one of his radio shows.[1] By the time she reached 14, she was singing full time at the Mecca Locarno in Leeds, and the following year, moved to London with her parents, where she became a resident singer at Mecca's Tottenham Court Road ballroom. During the 1940s and 1950s, she became a leading singer of the day, singing at the The Dorchester and The Savoy. Coupland also dubbed the singing voices of actresses who could not sing, namely Lana Turner in Betrayed and most famously in the James Bond film Dr. No, where she dubbed the singing voice of Ursula Andress when singing on the beach "Under the mango tree". She gave up professional singing in the 1960s.

Acting career

In 1959, she was unexpectedly cast by Joan Littlewood as Sally in the Theatre Workshop musical Make Me An Offer, and soon appeared a number of West End shows including Gigi and Not Now, Darling.[1]

She made her television debut in the early 1960s, and early appearances included Dixon of Dock Green, The Wednesday Play, Softly, Softly and the second episode of Z-Cars in January 1962. However, after playing a mother in Please Sir! and the Siberian wife in Mel Brooks's 1970 film The Twelve Chairs, Coupland got her big break in 1971 when she achieved television fame as Jean Abbott, the long-suffering wife of Sid James's character, in Bless This House. This role continued until James' death in 1976. She appeared in a few films including: The Family Way (1966), Charlie Bubbles (1967), Spring and Port Wine (1970) and Operation Daybreak (1975).

During the late 1970s and 1980s, Coupland appeared in Wilde Alliance, Triangle and Juliet Bravo. She was cast in soap opera Triangle after the original actor due to play the owner of the line died. She had been on the set with her husband, a director on the programme, and was offered the part. In 1992, she appeared in an episode of One Foot in the Grave, and in 2000 she had a six-week role as Maureen Carter in EastEnders . Following this, Coupland appeared in Doctors, Casualty and in 2005 Rose and Maloney, her final television appearance.

Personal life

Diana Coupland married twice. She and her first husband, composer Monty Norman, divorced after 20 years of marriage, having had one daughter.[2] In 2001, she gave evidence in a High Court after her former husband sued The Sunday Times following a 1997 article suggesting that Norman had falsely taken credit and royalties for the James Bond theme music, which had actually been written by John Barry. Coupland described the article as "blatantly untrue" and her former husband was awarded £30,000.[3]

She married Marc Miller, a producer, in 1980. Coupland, who was a patron of National Lupus UK, died aged 74 at the University Hospital, Coventry in 2006 after failing to recover following an operation to resolve long-term heart problems.


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