Entertainment & Arts

Vivean Gray, Mrs Mangel in Neighbours, dies aged 92

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Media captionMark Little pays tribute to Vivean Gray, who played his mother Mrs Mangel in Neighbours.

Vivean Gray, best known for playing the gossipy Mrs Mangel in Australian soap opera Neighbours, has died aged 92.

Born Jean Vivra Gray in 1924, the Cleethorpes native moved to Australia in 1952 to pursue an acting career.

She went on to appear in shows such as The Sullivans and Prisoner Cell Block H, before landing her best-known role as Ramsay Street's resident busybody.

Mark Little, who played her on-screen son Joe, said he had been "privileged to know and work with her".

"We laughed a lot creating The Mangel Dynasty," the comedian and actor said on Twitter.

Image copyright @themarklittle/Twitter

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, Little said Gray had played a "nosy parker" on Neighbours "so, so well".

"She was only in the show for two years but she made such an impact."

Gray played Nell Mangel in more than 250 episodes of Neighbours from 1986 to 1988.

She gave up acting after the show, complaining of the verbal attacks she received from people who could not distinguish her from her on-screen character.

"I could barely set foot outside my own door without someone screaming abuse at horrid old Mrs Mangel," she was quoted as saying in 1989.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption The actress, pictured in 1980, was born in Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire

"People didn't seem to appreciate it was acting. So I decided to take a break."

"One of the sadnesses of her life was that she was basically hounded out of existence," said Little.

"She came back to England and hid, basically."

'Soap legend'

Gray's other roles included a schoolteacher in Peter Weir's 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock.

She worked with the director again on his 1977 film The Last Wave, in which she played an expert in Aboriginal history.

"Vivean's contribution to Australian drama will never be forgotten. It is a very sad day for the Neighbours family," said Rick Maier of Australia's Network Ten, which broadcasts the soap.

"Mrs Mangel was the ultimate busybody, remembered for her conservatism and her caustic wit," said Neighbours' executive producer Jason Herbison, describing Gray as "a true soap legend".

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