Oldham-born actress Anne Kirkbride (21st June 1954 - 19th January 2015) achieved iconic status in the UK for her portrayal of Deirdre Barlow on Coronation Street, a role she played from 1972 to 2014 (becoming a permanent cast member in 1973). Prior to her casting on Coronation Street, Anne trained at Oldham Repertory Theatre and appeared in a Jack Rosenthal play Another Sunday and Sweet FA in 1972 together with Fred Feast and Lynne Carol.
Making Deirdre famous for her large glasses (which the character hadn't actually worn for many years) and raspy voice caused by years of cigarette smoking, Anne was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993, but was fully cured within a year.
Originally announcing in September 2014 that she would be leaving the programme for a three-month break, Anne passed away peacefully on 19th January 2015 after suffering a stroke during a battle with breast cancer. Her character's final scenes were broadcast Episode 8486 on 8th October 2014, and her death was handled in Episode 8678 on 8th July 2015.