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  1. ITV Report

Rentaghost and Billy Elliot star, Ann Emery, has died age 86

Ann Emery, who starred in Rentaghost and Billy Elliot the musical, has died. Credit: Paul Spyker Management

Ann Emery, best known for playing Ethel Meaker in the children's show Rentaghost, has died at the age of 86.

Ms Emery also starred as Grandma in the original Billy Elliot stage production from 2005 to 2010, and its director Stephen Daldry released a statement confirming her death.

He paid tribute to her "zest for life and professional experience."

She will have a special place in all our hearts as an 'old pro' who never seemed old and never took the profession for granted.

She was herself a child of the theatre, whose enthusiasm and joy was always apparent...

She will be remembered fondly and today deeply missed.

What a treat it was to have known her.

– Stephen Daldry

The official Twitter feed for the Billy Elliot also posted a tribute.

Ms Emery was born in London 1930 and was the half-sister of comedian Dick. She featured in eight episodes of The Dick Emery Show before getting her Rentaghost role in 1976.

She starred alongside Christopher Biggins and Sue Nicholls until the show ended in 1984 after 58 episodes.

She retired from acting in 2014 after suffering with a back problem.

Several stage stars and celebrities posted tributes on Twitter including singer Elaine Paige and her former co-star Biggins.