Actress and presenter Lynda Bellingham, who died on Sunday at the age of 66, once recalled how her adopted mother told her: “We just don’t understand you, I think it’s because you’re Jewish.”
The actress, who passed away after a year-long battle with colon cancer, was born in 1948 in Montreal Canada, as Meredith Lee Hughes.
Bellingham’s Orthodox Jewish mother gave birth to her out of wedlock and was compelled to give her up due to family pressure.
She was adopted by Donald and Ruth Bellingham in Buckinghamshire and described her up-bringing on a farm as ‘idyllic’.
In an interview with the Evening Standard in 2011, Bellingham recalled her adopted mother telling her: “‘We just don’t understand you, I think it’s because you’re Jewish.’ So that was one of the first things I learned about my heritage. My big nose gave me a face that wasn’t pretty but I wasn’t an Ugly Betty. I was in no man’s land.”
After having trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, in London, Bellingham had a highly successful acting career, which spanned five decades.
She was best known for her role as the mother in the Oxo TV advert, drama; All Creatures Great and Small, and more recently, popular daytime TV show Loose Women.
She did track down her birth mother, and had regular conversations, although was said to be devastated at not being invited to her mother’s funeral.