Elizabeth "Liz" Dawn MBE (born 8 November 1939) is an English actress, best known for her role as Vera Duckworth in the long-running British soap opera, Coronation Street. First starting on the serial in 1974, she had more of a recurring role as a factory worker until her husband, Jack, (played by William Tarmey) first appeared in 1979 and later for a more concrete role in 1983. For her role as Vera, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 British Soap Awards. She was made an MBE in the 2000 Queens Birthday Honours.
Born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, Dawn started her show business career as a nightclub singer. By the late 1960s Dawn had ventured into acting, often taking small parts in television programmes as well as advertisements. During the 1970s, she appeared in a variety of programmes including All Creatures Great and Small and Colin Welland's play Leeds United, as well as an early appearance in Crown Court as a non speaking back ground artist.
She was also one of the alien voices in the Cadbury's Smash advertisements in the 1970s.
In January 1990, Dawn was featured on This is Your Life.
Dawn published her autobiography Vera Duckworth – My Story in 1993.
In 2000, Dawn was chosen as the Lady Mayoress of Leeds and was awarded an MBE in October of that year for her services to charity, having helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for hospitals in the Manchester and Leeds areas.
On 12 October 2010, Dawn appeared in a wheelchair at the naming ceremony of the new Cunard cruise ship, MS Queen Elizabeth in Southampton.
She appeared at the 2011 British Soap Awards giving the Lifetime Achievement Award to former co-star, Bill Tarmey.
On 12 June 2014, Dawn was the subject of one of five celebrity specials of The Jeremy Kyle Show. She appeared on the show, talking about her career and health.
On 11 November 2015, it was announced that Dawn was to briefly come out of retirement and make a guest appearance in Emmerdale over Christmas 2015 as Mrs Winterbotton.
Departure from Coronation Street
In mid-2004, Dawn was diagnosed with the incurable lung disease emphysema. On 22 July 2007, Granada Television (makers of Coronation Street) announced that Dawn was to be written out - at her own request - before Christmas, because of further complications with emphysema.
Her final appearance came in the episode screened on 18 January 2008, when Vera Duckworth died in her sleep, thus ending 34 years of the popular, iconic character. Bill Tarmey, who played on screen husband Jack Duckworth, continued to be a part of the cast of Coronation Street. Dawn stated that the hardest thing about leaving Corrie was saying good-bye to Tarmey, with whom she was best friends. On 8 November 2010 she made a brief one-off return to the soap for the final scenes of her on-screen husband, Jack, who died in the same chair as Vera. Dawn appeared as Vera's spirit, who had come to take Jack on his final journey and the pair enjoyed one final dance together.
Dawn won the Special Achievement Award at the 2008 British Soap Awards for her 34-year-long portrayal of her iconic character.
In May 2009, Dawn agreed to become the "Celebrity Ambassador" of the British Lung Foundation - the only UK charity working on behalf of all people affected by lung disease. She is currently working to raise awareness of COPD - an umbrella term for a list of diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, of which she is a sufferer herself. In June 2009 she spearheaded the campaign "Breathe Easy Week", where members of the Breathe Easy network (patient groups associated with the British Lung Foundation) raise awareness of the work of the BLF.
Dawn married her first husband Walter Bradley on Boxing Day 1957. They had one son, Graham. She married her second husband Donald Ibbertson, an electrician, in January 1965. Through this marriage, she has three children. Dawn also has six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Dawn is a supporter and an activist for the Labour Party and has been seen on campaign trails during elections, even at the 2010 general election, by which time her deteriorating health had already led to her departure from Coronation Street.
She is also a practising Roman Catholic and was selected to meet Pope John Paul II during his visit to the UK in 1982.
She is also a supporter of the monarchy and has met several members of the Royal Family.
In 2004, Dawn was diagnosed with the incurable lung disease emphysema.
In a January 2013 interview with the Daily Mirror Dawn revealed that only a third of her lungs are still working and that doctors have told her there is nothing more they can do to prolong her life. She said that her only goal was "being alive this time next year". In an interview with the Sun she attributed her health problems to her earlier heavy smoking, warning against the dangers of smoking. Dawn started smoking at the age of 14, developing a 24-a-day habit.
Dawn had a heart attack in May 2013. She was fitted with a pacemaker in September 2013 - there were complications during the operation when the pacemaker punctured her lung.
|Village Hall||Other Voter|
|The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club||Waitress|
|1972–1975||Crown Court||Female Officer/Warder/ |
|1973–1975||Play for Today|
|1975||Sunset Across the Bay||Canteen Lady/Striker/ |
|1975||Greenhill Pals||May||TV Film|
|1976||Open All Hours||Woman Outside Shop||Uncredited|
|1979||All Day on the Sands||Derek's mother||TV Film|
|1997||Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas!||Vera Duckworth||Direct-to-video Coronation Street spin off|
|2001||Lily Savage's Blankety Blank||Herself|
|1974, 1976–2008, 2010||Coronation Street||Vera Duckworth||Won: 2001 British Soap Award for Best On-Screen Couple (shared with William Tarmey); |
2008 British Soap Award Lifetime Achievement
Nominated: 2008 Television and Radio Industries Club Award for TV Soap Personality;
|2012||Coronation Street: Text Santa Special||Vera Duckworth|