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Charlotte Coleman 1968-2001

Country : London, England
Profession : Actress
Date of birth : 1968-04-03
Date of death : 2001-11-14
Cause of Death : Asthma attack

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Charlotte Ninon Coleman (3 April 1968 - 14 November 2001) was an English actress. She is best remembered by cinema-goers as Scarlett, Charles's punk flatmate, in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). She died of an asthma attack in Islington, aged 33.


Early life

Coleman was born in London. Her mother is the actress Ann Beach; her father was the TV producer Francis Coleman. Her younger sister, actress Lisa Coleman, appeared in Casualty as Jude. Coleman went to the Anna Scher Theatre school in Islington, North London, because she said she was "too cool" to go to the Brownies.

When she was 15, feeling that her upbringing to that point had been too liberal (her parents "didn't believe in restraint"), she used her earnings to enrol in Dartington Hall school in Devon—ironically a very progressive school where students "didn't have to go to any lessons, so I didn't. I spent 15 grand—all my money—and it was just stupid really." After this, she attended cookery school.

Television work

Coleman's first major TV role was as Sue in Southern Television's Worzel Gummidge. This ran for four series (and a Christmas special) from 1978 to 1981 on the ITV network.

Early TV roles included A Choice of Evils (BBC Play for Today, 1977) and Two People (LWT, 1979, as Emma Moffatt). She had a crush on Stephen Garlick, her co-star in Two People. For the role, she had to choose a stuffed toy for Emma to carry; she named it "Haggis" and still had it when interviewed in 1990.

This was soon followed by her role as the teenage rebel Marmalade Atkins, firstly in Marmalade Atkins in Space (a one-off drama shown in 1981 as part of the Dramarama strand), and then in two series, Educating Marmalade (1982 - 1983) and Danger - Marmalade at Work (1984). All three were made by Thames and written by Andrew Davies.

In 1990, Coleman appeared as Jess, a girl from Lancashire brought up by a strict Pentecostal mother, in the acclaimed BBC television drama Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, based on Jeanette Winterson's novel of the same name. Coleman won a Royal Television Society, Best Actress award and was nominated for a BAFTA for her portrayal of the young lesbian character. She also read the novel for release by BBC Audiobooks.

Other television appearances in the 1980s and '90s included roles in The Bill and Inspector Morse, the short-lived comedy series Freddie and Max, with Anne Bancroft, a drama about homelessness, Sweet Nothing, and, in 1996, another lesbian role, Barb Gale, in the political satire Giving Tongue. She also appeared in Simon Nye's sitcom How Do You Want Me? (1998-2000), alongside Dylan Moran, and voiced the lead female character, Primrose, in the animated adaptation of Brambly Hedge.

Her last ever appearance was on TV, in the television adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's Double Act, where she play the twins' teacher, Miss Debenham.


  • Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  • The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995)
  • Different for Girls (1996)
  • Sweet Revenge (1998)
  • If Only... (or The Man with Rain in His Shoes 1998)
  • Bodywork (1998)

Her last major film was Jasmin Dizdar's Beautiful People (1999), set in London in 1993, at the time of the Bosnian war, playing the role of Portia Thornton.


  • Lorna in Our Own Kind (Roy MacGregor), Bush Theatre, London (April 1991), Coleman co-starred with Kevin Whately, Nisha Nayar and Jane Horrocks.

"The prime focus falls on Sylvie's bright-eyed schoolgirl sister Lorna. Vividly brought to life by Charlotte Coleman, she's both a droll chorus figure and an optimistic, surrogate victim. The play is tightly directed by new Bush supremo Dominic Dromgoole"

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