Emmerdale actress Sheila Mercier who played Annie Sugden on the soap for two decades dies at the age of 100
- Soap legend passed away peacefully in her sleep according to former co-star
- Mercier, from Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, was cast as Annie Sugden in 1972
- Co-star Frederick Pyne announced soap sytar had passed away on social media
Actress Shelia Mercier who was best known as Emmerdale’s Annie Sugden has died at the age of 100.
The soap legend passed away peacefully in her sleep according to former co-star Frederick Pyne, who played Matt Skilbeck in Emmerdale Farm from its launch in 1972 until 1989.
Mr Pyne posted on social media: ‘Sad to tell all you Emmerdale fans that Sheila Mercier, Annie Sugden, died peacefully in her sleep… She would have been 101 years old on New Years Day. She was a great character and wonderful to work with,’ Metro reported.
Shelia Mercier who was best known as Emmerdale’s Annie Sugden has died at the aged of 100
Mercier as Annie Sugden in Emmerdale. The actress had a long and successful stage career before television
Mercier, from Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, was cast in the British soap as Annie Sugden in 1972 when the programme launched as Emmerdale Farm.
She appeared on the show as a main cast member until 1994 and was last seen on the show in 2009 for the funeral of Jack Sugden played by Clive Hornby.
Jack was written out of the soap following the tragic death of Clive in July 2008 after he lost his battle with cancer aged 63.
Speaking about her return in 2009, aged 90, Mercier said: ‘It was a pleasure to return for this special tribute.
‘I’m sure it will be a fitting way to celebrate the life and memory of one of Emmerdale’s dearest characters.’
The actress had a long stage career before joining Emmerdale and she toured with Donald Wolfit’s own Shakespeare company in 1939 after he spotted her talent.
Shelia Mercier as Annie Sugden with Alan Turner played by Richard Thorp in Emmerdale 2009
Mercier’s return for Jack Sugden’s funeral in 2009 pictured with Alan Turner, played by Richard Thorp, Diane Sugden, played by Elizabeth Estensen and Rev Ashley Thomas played by John Middleton
From left to right: Matt Skilbeck played by Frederick Pyne, Sam Pearson, as played by Toke Townley, Annie Sugden, as played by Sheila Mercier and Joe Sugden, as played by Frazer Hines
Emmerdale actress Claire King who plays Kim Tate in the soap tweeted: ‘RIP Sheila Mercier, the beating heart of Emmerdale, never forgotten, so many wonderful memories, love and condolences to all her family.’
Kelvin Fletcher who plays Andy Sugden in Emmerdale wrote: ‘Sad news just in… Sheila Mercier aka Annie Sugden who played Kelvin’s grandma in Emmerdale has passed away at the age 100.
‘Thoughts go out to her family and friends at this sad time.’
Fans of the soap also tweeted their condolences of the legendary soap star.
‘Such sad news, loved Annie, RIP Sheila Mercier thoughts are with your family and friends,’ Berenice Golding tweeted.
Shelia Mercier as Annie Sugden and Frazer Hines as her son Joe Sugden in Emmerdale Farm in 1972
In the Second World War she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and served in fighter command becoming adjutant.
Her husband Peter Mercier died in 1993 after they shared 42 years of marriage.
The couple had one son, Nigel Mercier, who worked in the television industry as a videotape editor at the BBC Television News at Television Centre and later LWT. He died in January 2017.
In her 1995 autobiography, Annie’s Song: My Life & Emmerdale, she disclosed that she was raped by an officer in the war and had given up her daughter for adoption.
Mercier was contacted by her daughter 30 years later.
More to follow.