Trailblazing star rocked to No.1
CHARLOTTE Cornwell made her name in the cult 1970s TV show Rock Follies, about a female fictional band, Little Ladies, trying to make it big in the pop charts.
She played Anna Wynd alongside Rula Lenska as Q and Julie Covington as Dee in the rock music series, a groundbreaking format when it launched in 1976.
The actresses performed original songs and dance routines, evoked a feminist image and worked an exhausting schedule, all of which mirrored the struggles of their on-screen counterparts.
Winning three Baftas including Best Drama Series in 1977, the show was a transatlantic hit and led to a No.1 UK album.
Cornwell said: “I always had the feeling that what we were involved with was either going to be a very special thing or disappear down the tubes. I never felt there would be any in-between.”
She was also known as the half-sister of David Cornwell, who wrote under the pseudonym of John le Carré and died last month.
Born in London, she was the daughter of jailed fraudster Ronnie Cornwell and his second wife, Jean. Her brother Rupert became an award-winning journalist.
Le Carré, Ronnie’s son by his first marriage, stepped up to look after his little sister when he frequently disappeared.
After graduating fromWebber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, Cornwell started her career with Bristol Old Vic Company. She had a small part in the 1974 film Stardust before Rock Follies. Touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre, she worked with writers including Harold Pinter.
Cornwell died from cancer and is survived by her daughter Nancy from her relationship with actor Kenneth Cranham.