English actress Elisabeth Sladen, best known for portraying Sarah Jane Smith in “Doctor Who” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” died Tuesday, April 19, from cancer. She was 63.
Sladen began in the role in the long-running BBC sci-fi series in 1973 and continued for 81 episodes through 1983, starting alongside the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and continuing with Tom Baker and David Tennant. She appeared in a “Doctor Who” telepic in 1993; spinoff series “The Sarah Jane Adventures” began in 2007, and she recurred on “Doctor Who” from 2006-10.
“Sarah Jane Adventures” creator and former “Doctor Who” lead writer Russell T. Davies said: “I absolutely loved Lis. She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis.”
Born in Liverpool, Sladen had a brief run on “Coronation Street” before joining “Doctor Who.”
Survivors include Sladen’s husband, actor Brian Miller, and a daughter.