Miss Brahms, Are You Free? – Wendy Richard Dies

One of the staples in my household is on Saturday nights turning the TV to the local PBS station to watch British comedies from the BBC- also known as Britcoms. Here I have watched the shows “Keeping Up Appearances ” “The Victor of Dibley,” “BlackAdder,” “Red Dwarf,” Waiting For God,” and of course “Are You Being Served.”
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“Are You Being Served?”was a long-running British sitcom broadcast from 1972 to 1985. The show centered on a fictional store in London called Grace Brothers and the workers of it’s men’s and women’s department. The show made great fun of the British class system and included recurring characters such as the effeminate Mr. Humphries; Captain Peacock, the haughty floorwalker who fought in World War: the boisterous Mrs. Slocombe with her ever-changing hair color and whose jokes about her cat help make the show; and the lovely Miss Shirley Brahms, a sales representative with a heavy Cockney accent.

Miss Brahms was played by Wendy Richard who has taken her Final Taxi. Richard played that role through the entire run of the series and also appeared in the Are You Being Served? sequel Grace & Favour in 1992 and 1993. (This was repacked in the US as Are You Being Served Again?)

Richard was first seen on BBC TV in a 1960 soap opera, The Newcomers. She has also appeared in Dad’s and in two of the British comedy films series Carry On (Carry On Matron and Carry On Girls) What really surprised me recently is that I purchased the newly digitally reworked version of The Beatles movie Help! (1965) and in the special features DVD was a scene that was not in the original movie that starred our own Wendy Richard. It was a treat being a fan of The Beatles and of Richard.

Richard breathes a life of her own into the Miss Brahms character. She was one of the few members of the cast who was sexy and attention grabbing which means she was always getting advances and flirted with. This was not only by members for the staff but customers as well. Many of the innuendos thrown at her went over her head as she had a “dumb blonde” nature. It is what made the character so well loved.

After the gaiety of Are You Being Served? Wendy Richard joined the cast of the BBC soap opera EastEnders playing the role of played the long-suffering matriarch Pauline Fowler. She played this role from the first episode in 1985 until the character’s death at Christmas of 2006. It was a part she played for over 22 years.

In 2007, Richard was awarded a British Soap Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ for her role in Eastenders. In October 2008 it was reported that she was suffering with an aggressive cancer. She died at a clinic in London with her husband John Burns by her side. She was 65.

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General Hospital’s Nurse Amy – Shell Kepler

In the legendary days of the TV soap opera, General Hospital, most people will recall the names of “Luke and Laura’. There was another character that was popular during that time, Nurse Amy Vining. She was played by actress Shell Kepler.

Kepler, who is best known for her work on General Hospital, has taken her Final Taxi. According to reports, the 49-year-old actress succumbed to renal failure, a situation in the body in which the kidney fails to function adequately.

Kepler joined General Hospital in 1979, taking over the role of the gossipy nurse from Cari Ann Warder, who portrayed the character in 1975. She beat out over 205 people during the audition and was considered as a fan favorite, enjoying more than two decades of exposure on the long-running soap.

Kepler’s character, Amy, was the sister of icon, Laura Spencer, who was adopted by Amy’s family when she was a baby. Raised as siblings, Amy and Laura established a strong bond even after Laura left the Vinings to go and live with her biological mother, Lesley Webber. Amy soon followed her sister to Port Charles and became a nurse at General Hospital. Amy remained single during her stint on the show and was never really officially written off. She last appeared on the canvass in 2002.

Additionally, Kepler was also credited for the 1982 Joan Collins film, Homework, the soap opera Port Charles, and a couple of episodes of the sitcom Three’s Company. I also remember seeing her in an early episode of CHiPS.

Apart from being an actress, Kepler was also a business woman, marketing her clothing line, Lacy Afternoon, on the former Home Shopping Club with sales over $20 million in one year alone