Tributes to actress Leila Webster

Published Thursday, 06 February 2014
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Northern Ireland actress Leila Webster has died at the age of 90.

Tributes to actress Leila Webster
Tributes have been paid to one of Belfast's best-known actresses. (© Pacemaker)

She has been described as a Belfast institution and a legend of local theatre.

Leila Webster was well known for her one woman comedy shows, but she also worked alongside the late Hollywood superstar Bob Hope.

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has led the tributes.

"Leila was a remarkable woman, and an inspirational figure whose talent and enthusiasm will be sadly missed," said the Sinn Féin minister.

"A singer and performer who excelled on both stage and screen, Leila entertained audiences of all ages. Born off the Ormeau Road in Belfast, she began singing at the age of 10.

Leila shared the stage with a range of stars, from James Young to Bob Hope. She left a lasting impression both audiences and those she worked with.

Carál Ní Chuilín

"It was the beginning of a career which evolved to show Leila's versatility across many disciplines - from comedy to drama, from opera to improvisation.

"My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time."

Local actor Dan Gordon said Ms Webster's talent allowed her to enjoy a very diverse career.

"She kept reinventing herself, that was part of the trick, going from a cabaret singer, then comedy came along, then acting and television," he told UTV.

"The plays were how I really got to know her and you were always kind of jealous of her ability to appeal to everyone."

Dennison Mahood, who was a close friend, paid tribute to a "legend of Ulster theatre".

Dennison said: "She was a great lady who brought much pleasure and laughter to many people. Really she was an institution in Belfast and beyond.

"She was a legend of Ulster theatre."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
JOY ANDERSON in BELFAST wrote (355 days ago):
Leila, well known for her contribution to Mental Health. She give years of her time entertaining less fortunate people. She was a very welcome face with many of the Patients and Staff in Knockbracken. (Purdysburn Hospital) She made regular weekly visits to entertain and involve the patients in her sessions of Musical entertainment. She was loved and respected by all in Knockbracken giving years of fun and laughter to bring joy into their lives. Deepest Sympathy to her Family and friends. Our loss of a wonderful Lady and entertainer. Joy Anderson , a very sad day.
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