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Gretchen Franklin
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    (July 7, 1911-July 11, 2005)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Portrayed Ethel Skinner in 'EastEnders' (1985-2000)
    Appeared in the films 'Shadow of Fear' (1954), 'Ticket to Paradise' (1961), 'The Murder Game' (1965), 'How I Won the War' (1967), 'The Night Visitor' (1971), 'The Three Musketeers' (1973), 'The Quartermass Conclusion' (1979) and 'Return to Waterloo' (1984)
    Appeared on the West End stage in 'Sweet and Low' (1940), 'Slings and Arrows' (1948), 'Verdict' (1958) and 'Spring and Port Wine' (1965)
    Her roles were described as 'dithery females, dotty spinsters or nosy landladies.'
    As Ethel Skinner, she had a pug named Willy and was always asking the double entendre line, 'Has anyone seen my Willy?'
    She discovered that Willy was chauffeur-driven to the EastEnders studio while she had to take the bus.
    After her EastEnders character was killed off, she said 'I didn't miss the show, only the money.'
    She was a former Tiller Girl and could still do high kicks in her late 70s.
    She said, 'I can play comedy scenes or the tearjerkers. The producers and directors have finally realized that.'
    She donated her EastEnders royalties to her favorite animal charities, saying 'At my age, one isn't buying new fur coats and diamonds.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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