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Image: British TV stalwart Best known for: Playing Sybil in Fawlty Towers Early life: Prunella Margaret Rumney Illingworth was born on June 22, 1932, in Surrey. Her mother, Catherine Scales, was an actress and her father was a cotton salesman. When the Second World War broke out, her parents rented a farmhouse with no gas or electricity in Suffolk to escape the bombing. As a child, Prunella was shy, but discovered her passion for acting in her teens. She began training at the Old Vic Theatre School at 17, before going on to study at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York.

Love life: Married actor Timothy West in 1963. They have two sons Samuel, who's also an actor, and Joseph. She has a step-daughter, Juliet, from West's first marriage. spotlight on... Prunella Scales Career: Following stints in repertory theatre, Scales joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and also appeared in the films Laxdale Hall and Hobson's Choice. In 1963, she starred with Richard Briers in the sitcom Marriage Lines, but didn't become a household name until 1975, when she was cast as the fearsome Sybil in Fawlty Towers. Since then, she has worked regularly in theatre, film and television. In 1992, she was nominated for a Bafta for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the Alan Bennett drama A Question of Attribution, and was awarded the OBE in the same year. Other projects include Howards End, The Shell Seekers and An Ideal Husband. Her most recent big-screen appearance was in family comedy Horrid Henry: The Movie.

Don't mention: Typecasting. Scales has complained that directors only ask to her play "old bags", and admits she would like the opportunity to play more glamorous roles. Quote: "I remember an American producer coming up to me and saying, 'You're a wonderful actress. Now what are we going to do about your face?"' Tonight: Agatha Christie's Marple, ITV1, 6pm.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 28, 2012
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