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Betty Driver

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Betty Driver At Home
Elizabeth Mary "Betty" Driver (20th May 1920 - 15th October 2011) was an actress and singer most famous for her long-running Coronation Street role as Rovers Return Inn barmaid Betty Williams (previously Turpin), a role she played from 1969 to 2011. After a career in the 1930s and 1940s as a big band singer, Betty went into acting, and in 1964 she auditioned for the part of Hilda Ogden on the Street, but was rejected because the casting directors wanted an actress who weighed less. In 1965 she gained a role in the Street spin-off sitcom Pardon the Expression, where she suffered a back injury after the script required her to throw Arthur Lowe.

Betty retired from showbusiness in November 1967 to run a pub - firstly Cock Hotel at Whaley Bridge and later the Devonshire Arms in Mellor where H.V. Kershaw tracked her down in 1969 and persuaded her to return to acting in the role of Betty Turpin. Betty was awarded the MBE in 1999. Betty was also awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the British Soap Awards in 2010.

Betty was rushed to hospital on 11th May 2011 suffering from pneumonia. Her character's final scenes aired in Episode 7610 on 27th May. The actress passed away several months later on 15th October. Her funeral was held at St Ann's Church, Manchester on Saturday 22nd October when Helen Worth and Bill Kenwright gave addresses and many of the cast, past and present, attended. The character she had played for 42 years was written out of the programme in April 2012, after dying off-screen of natural causes. A portrait of her was placed on the wall of the Rovers Return set, allowing the memory of both she and the character to remain a constant presence.

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