Patricia Phoenix was an English film and television actress who became one of the first sex symbols of British television through her role as Elsie Tanner, an original cast member of Coronation Street. Phoenix attended Fallowfield Central School. As a child, she nursed early theatrical ambitions, appearing regularly on the radio in Children's Hour at the age of 11, after having submitted a monologue. After leaving school, she worked as a filing clerk for the gas department of Manchester Corporation, performing in amateur dramatics in her spare time. She joined the Arts Theatre in Manchester and other Northern repertory companies. Phoenix's big break came in 1948, when she played Sandy Powell's wife in the Mancunian Film Studios film Cup-tie Honeymoon, followed by a summer season in Blackpool with Thora Hird in the show Happy Days. Phoenix's love life was often fodder for tabloid stories. Her first marriage was to actor Peter Marsh, whom she married in Bradford Cathedral; the marriage lasted only a year. In 1972, she married her Coronation Street co-star Alan Browning, who had alcohol-related problems and died from liver failure in 1979. She later married actor Antony Booth, the father-in-law of future Prime Minister Tony Blair. Phoenix wrote two volumes of autobiography: All My Burning Bridges (1974) and Love, Curiosity, Freckles and Doubt (1983). She was a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party, campaigning for her son-in-law Tony Blair in the 1983 General Election and helping him win his first seat in a landslide majority, and a practising Roman Catholic. She also owned the Navigation Inn, a pub in Buxworth.
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