Sunday 25 March 2018

Mrs Mangel actress Vivean Gray dies at 92

Vivean Gray played meddlesome Neighbours character Nell Mangel (FremantleMedia Ltd/PA)
Vivean Gray played meddlesome Neighbours character Nell Mangel (FremantleMedia Ltd/PA)

Vivean Gray - the British-born actress who played meddlesome Neighbours character Nell Mangel - has died at the age of 92.

Gray was best known for her role in the Australian soap, but also played gossipy neighbour Ida Jessup in The Sullivans.

She landed her most famous role, as busybody Mrs Mangel in Neighbours, in 1986.

The actress became an overnight star in the soap but her role was so convincing that she received abuse from viewers, and decided to leave Neighbours after two years.

"You've just got to have a sense of humour about the whole thing, and rationalise it by saying at least the character is working!" she once said of the reaction to her alter-ego.

Neighbours executive producer Jason Herbison said in a statement: "It's with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Vivean Gray.

"Mrs Mangel was the ultimate busybody, remembered for her conservatism and her caustic wit. She was a true soap legend and we thank her for all the wonderful memories."

Rick Maier, head of drama at Network Ten, told Australian blog TV Tonight: "Mrs Mangel and Mrs Jessup were two of our most iconic characters from one our very best character actors.

"Ramsay Street changed forever, and certainly no secret was ever safe, with Mrs Mangel on the lookout.

"Vivean's contribution to Australian drama will never be forgotten. It is a very sad day for the Neighbours family."

Mark Little, who played Joe Mangel in the soap, paid tribute on Twitter.

"Vivean Gray: Legend many times over. I was privileged to know and work with her. We laughed a lot creating The Mangel," he said.

Jean Vivra Gray was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, the eldest of four children and the daughter of a fish and chip owner.

The family moved to Surrey and Gray came to acting late in life, after working as a photographer's assistant and a sales assistant in a department store.

She moved to Australia in 1953, looking for acting work, and landed roles on the stage and in radio.

Gray is said to have moved back to West Sussex after leaving Neighbours.

Little later told ITV show This Morning: "What an actress. She was one of the main reasons that I joined Neighbours, because I was going to be her estranged son and join the Mangel dynasty.

"And what a wonderful, subtle, fabulous actor she was...

"She did such a wonderful job as Mrs Mangel that she sort of got hounded out of existence. That's the sad part.

"It's one of the reasons that I didn't want to be a baddie on that show, because you just get hell."

He added: "She played the busybody, the street's stickybeak, the nosy parker, she encapsulated that role so well.

"There was also the feud that she was having with Anne Charleston as Madge.

"She played the prim and proper, almost old-fashioned Australian that clashed with the modern Australian. She did all those things so wonderfully subtly."

He added: "It got everyone's imagination and love - love and hate at the same time."

Former Home And Away star Isla Fisher, who was also on This Morning to promote her children's book, said the actress's death was "really sad news".

Press Association

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