Geraldine McEwan, born on 9 May 1932 in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, is best known for portraying the title role in the ITV period drama series “Agatha Christie’s Marple.”

Between 2004 and 2008, with television adaptations of Christie’s books “The Body in the Library,” “The Murder at the Vicarage,” “4.50 from Paddington,” “A Murder Is Announced,” “Sleeping Murder,” “The Moving Finger,” “By the Pricking of My Thumbs,” “The Sittaford Mystery,” “At Bertram’s Hotel,” “Ordeal by Innocence,” “Towards Zero,” and “Nemesis,” Miss McEwan played Miss Marple twelve times.

Even though the Berkshire born actress only played Christie’s sleuth during the first three series, Miss McEwan was arguably THE quintessential Jane Marple.

Geraldine McEwan with her Barchester Towers co-star Alan Rickman in 2008 © Dan Wooller

In an article penned for “The New York Times” by staff writer Marilyn Stasio, Miss McEwan is quoted to have said, “I do enjoy playing very original and slightly eccentric characters. It is very amusing that Agatha Christie should have created this older woman who lives a very conventional life in a little country village and yet spends all her time solving violent crimes.”

Like many of her contemporaries, Miss McEwan, having been a five-time Olivier Award nominee, and twice won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress, was an accomplished thespian.

The first of the two Evening Standard Awards came in 1983 for her performance in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s five act play “The Rivals.”

In 1995, with her performance in the William Congreve written play “The Way of the World,” the second of Miss McEwan’s Evening Standard Awards was won.

Further, the thespian was also nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in Eugène Ionesco’s tragic farce play “The Chairs.”

Geraldine McEwan (1932–2015)

In an obituary penned by Michael Coveney for the website “What’s On Stage,” the theatre critic described Miss McEwan as “a great comic stylist, with a syrupy, seductive voice and a forthright, sparkling manner.”

Proving Miss McEwan was equally as comfortable performing for cameras as she was with treading theatrical broads, she won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the 1990 television serial “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.”

Based on the 1985 Jeanette Winterson written novel of the same title, Winterson adapted her own work to the small screen. The BBC series revolved around a young girl named Jess. Jess was played by Charlotte Coleman.

Jess grew up in a Pentecostal evangelical household in Accrington, Lancashire, England in the 1970s, who comes to understand that she is a lesbian. In the series, Miss McEwan portrayed Jess’ mother.

Despite there being significant differences between the source material and the televised series, the series caused controversy when shown due to the remaining lesbian sex scenes and its portrayal of the Elim Pentecostal faith.

Regardless of the controversy, in addition to the Best Actress award going to Miss McEwan, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” won the BAFTA awards for Film Sound and for Best Drama.

In the documentary “A Tale of Four Seaports,” Miss McEwan narrated the episode discussing Rye. The actress mentions the television series “Mapp & Lucia.” Miss McEwan played Emmeline ‘Lucia’ Lucas / Queen Elizabeth I in the series.

As Miss McEwan correctly points out in the documentary, the series “Mapp & Lucia” was based on three 1930s novels by E. F. Benson.

As Miss McEwan is noted to have said she enjoys “playing very original and slightly eccentric characters,” it would be prudent to mention the actress played the witch Mortianna in the 1991 Kevin Reynolds directed action adventure drama “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”

Considering how demented Mortianna was, the character fitted with what Miss McEwan enjoyed.

Relating to a stoke the actress had suffered three months earlier, Miss McEwan died on 30 January 2015 at the Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith. She was 82.

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Shain E. Thomas, recently graduated with an M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas, is currently working on an M.Sc. in Library Science. Shain, the senior editor of "Harsh Light," is also the U.S. Correspondent for "The Welshman" and a regular contributor to the "North Texas Daily."