Elizabeth Dawn MBE (born Sylvia Butterfield on 8th November, 1939) is a Leeds-born actress who achieved iconic status for her role in Coronation Street as gobby Vera Duckworth, a part she played from 1974 to 2008. Liz had appeared on the programme numerous times prior to her casting as Vera as a background extra. Together with screen husband William Tarmey, Jack and Vera entertained the nation for almost three decades together (the part of Jack was not cast until 1979).
Liz was diagnosed with the lung condition emphysema in 2004, brought on by the actress' cigarette habit (Vera herself was seen smoking in almost all of her Street scenes for many years), but she continued to work on the show, albeit in a reduced role. With her health deteriorating, Liz decided the leave the Street after nearly 34 years, and her final regular appearance was with Bill Tarmey in a moving death scene in January 2008. However Liz returned to share one final scene with Bill when he himself left in November 2010. The day after the episode aired, Producer Phil Collinson, Executive Producer Kieran Roberts and creator Tony Warren were at a BFI event marking 50 years of the programme. Explaining the unusual cameo, Collinson explained that "It's something I've heard a lot. People say 'When my mother was dying she saw my father', or 'When my grandmother was dying she said she saw her mother'. It's a story I've heard a few people say. We're storytellers at the end if the day." Warren admitted that his own father claimed to have seen his departed parents shortly before his death. Roberts added: "[Jack and Vera are] one of the great television couples. I think it was the right thing to see them together in his final moments."
Liz was made Lady Mayoress of Leeds in 2000, and was awarded the MBE that same year. Her other television credits include Open All Hours and Z Cars. Prior to becoming an actress she worked in cabaret for twenty years.