Louise Plowright, who starred as Julie Cooper in EastEnders between 1989-1990, has died at the age of 59.
The actress had been battling pancreatic cancer, with a Facebook page fundraising for cancer treatment announcing news of her death to supporters earlier today (1 March).
Dear wonderful supporters of Louise.
I am so sorry to have to let you know that an hour ago we lost Louise to that…
Plowright rose to fame as Northern hairdresser Julie – one of a number of characters brought into EastEnders by producer Mike Gibbon who had wanted to lighten up the gloomy saga. The influx of new characters which also included batty senior citizen Marge Green (Pat Coombs) and handyman Paul Priestly (Mark Thrippleton) were all jettisoned the following year after failing to catch on with viewers.
In the BBC serial’s plots, Julie leased a premises on Turpin Road to launch a salon and enlisted Paul Priestly to renovate the place for her. Julie seduced Paul while he was on the job, leaving his girlfriend Diane Butcher fuming. The maneater also rubbed Kathy Beale up the wrong way by flirting with her boyfriend Laurie Bates.
Later storylines revolved around the failure of Julie’s business as diminishing footfall saw her struggle to pay the bills and wages of stylist Michelle Fowler and insubordinate trainee Marie Davies. Julie had a fling with Grant Mitchell, unaware that he and his brother were just after the lease on her salon for one of their dodgy associates. When Julie sussed their plan she got her own back by agreeing to sell the lease at a higher price than the Mitchell brothers had anticipated meaning they had to forgo their cut of the deal. Julie then closed her salon and moved back up north.
Plowright went on to appear in many West End productions, making her debut in Mamma Mia! in 1999. She had been starring in Wicked as Madame Morrible at the time of her cancer diagnosis in 2013. Her other TV credits include Footballers Wives: Extra Time, Grange Hill and London’s Burning.
“Our darling Louise Plowright. Now out of pain and in a better calmer place. Sadly missed and hugely loved forever X” – Talent agency Belfield and Ward