Bernard Arthur Youens (28th December, 1914 - 27th August, 1984) was a British actor who achieved national fame and popularity for his portrayal of the lovable layabout Stan Ogden on Coronation Street, from June 1964 until March 1984, just five months before his death. Born "Bernard Popley" in Salford, he worked in repertory theatre before and after World War II where, Like Stan, he fought in North Africa and also took part in the Anzio landings. He went on to appear in two films before his big break came in 1956 when he landed a job at Granada as a continuity announcer. Bernard turned down the chance to audition for Coronation Street in 1960, preferring the security of his announcer's position, but ended up auditioning in 1964 and was chosen to play Stan, patriarch of the arriving Ogden family. He also appeared in Shadow Squad, Knight Errant and Skyport.
Along with screen wife Hilda, played by Jean Alexander, Bernard enjoyed immense popularity as Stan for almost twenty years. But a heavy work schedule on the Street was not be kind to his health, and Bernard suffered some heart attacks in the 1970s, and a stroke in 1975 that left his speech slightly impaired. He soldiered on in the role, enjoying a slightly more relaxed schedule on the programme thanks to the casting of Geoffrey Hughes as the Ogdens' lodger Eddie Yeats, which reduced Stan's dialogue.
Bernard was admitted to hospital in April 1984 suffering from severe arthritis. The following month, he suffered another stroke, and in July he contracted gangrene in his left leg, forcing it to be amputated. Bernard died in his sleep just after midday on 27th August 1984, at the age of 69. The character of Stan was killed off the Street in November of the same year from a heart attack.
In a fitting tribute to Bernard some 21 years after his passing, Stan and Hilda Ogden were voted as the most popular ITV characters in the network's 50-year history by the readers of Broadcast magazine in a 2005 survey.