Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies star Dilys Watling dies age 78 after suffering long illness 

Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies star Dilys Watling has died in her Clapham home at the age of 78 after suffering from a long illness.

Dilys was a Tony Award nominated actress and famously played Merle Baker in Coronation Street in 1966. She passed away on August 10.

Dilys has four half-siblings, including the late Dr Who actress Deborah Watling – who passed away in 2017 – and Clacton MP Giles Watling.

Sad news: Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies star Dilys Watling died on August 10 at the age of 78 after suffering from a long illness (pictured 1977)

Sad news: Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies star Dilys Watling died on August 10 at the age of 78 after suffering from a long illness (pictured 1977)

Sad news: Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies star Dilys Watling died on August 10 at the age of 78 after suffering from a long illness (pictured 1977)

Giles confirmed in a statement to the Wandsworth Times: ‘Dilys was a much-loved sister and was the eldest of the five of us.

‘She led the way and was a real trailblazer for the rest of us.

‘She took Broadway by storm in the late 1960s, playing the eponymous role of Georgy – and we were proud when she was nominated for a Tony Award.

‘She also released a couple of singles, including Don’t Say You Love Me, which made it into the charts in 1964.

Nominated: Dilys was a Tony Award nominated actress and famously played Merle Baker in Coronation Street in 1966. She passed away on August 10 (pictured 1975)

Nominated: Dilys was a Tony Award nominated actress and famously played Merle Baker in Coronation Street in 1966. She passed away on August 10 (pictured 1975)

Nominated: Dilys was a Tony Award nominated actress and famously played Merle Baker in Coronation Street in 1966. She passed away on August 10 (pictured 1975)

‘She was eccentric in many ways, but was always incredibly generous, warm and loving.

‘In her last few days, she recounted stories of her life that we thought she had long-since forgotten.

‘After a long illness, she passed away peacefully.’

Half brother: Dilys' half-brother, Clacton MP Giles Watling, confirmed in a statement: 'After a long illness, she passed away peacefully' (pictured 1977)

Half brother: Dilys' half-brother, Clacton MP Giles Watling, confirmed in a statement: 'After a long illness, she passed away peacefully' (pictured 1977)

Half brother: Dilys’ half-brother, Clacton MP Giles Watling, confirmed in a statement: ‘After a long illness, she passed away peacefully’ (pictured 1977)

Dilys leaves behind son Ion, who she shared with her ex, Line of Duty, actor Owen Teale. 

Dilys also starred in The Morecambe & Wise Show, as Flossie, and appeared in Minder in 1994 as well as an episode of The Bill in 1991.  

Dilys was born in 1943 in Fulmer Chase, Bucks, to parents Ion Rhys Jones and Patricia Hicks.

Family: Dilys leaves behind son Ion, who she shared with her ex, Line of Duty, actor Owen Teale (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

Family: Dilys leaves behind son Ion, who she shared with her ex, Line of Duty, actor Owen Teale (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

Family: Dilys leaves behind son Ion, who she shared with her ex, Line of Duty, actor Owen Teale (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

Her father Ion was a Lancaster Bomber pilot and was killed in action during WW1 with her mother going on to marry actor Jack Watling.

Dilys attended St Mary’s Convent School in Essex and later performed at the Bristol Old Vic.

The late star’s film credits include the 1963 crime film Calculated Risk and 1967’s horror Theatre of Death.

Place of birth: Dilys was born in 1943 in Fulmer Chase, Bucks, to parents Ion Rhys Jones and Patricia Hicks (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

Place of birth: Dilys was born in 1943 in Fulmer Chase, Bucks, to parents Ion Rhys Jones and Patricia Hicks (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

Place of birth: Dilys was born in 1943 in Fulmer Chase, Bucks, to parents Ion Rhys Jones and Patricia Hicks (pictured: filming Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width in 1967)

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