Sylvia Anderson: Family Confirms ‘Thunderbirds’ Creator’s Death

Sylvia Anderson, Thunderbirds queen and voice for the famous puppet Lady Penelope, has died. Her daughter, Dee, confirmed the reports on her mother’s death on Wednesday.

Anderson was 88-years-old when she passed.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Anderson’s official website posted an emotional eulogy for the icon. Dee announced that her mother died at her home in Bray, Berkshire. Sylvia Anderson battled a brief illness before her death.

Thunderbirds, a well-known and beloved science-fiction series, spawned two full-length films and a toy franchise, hosted a celebration last year to salute to their 50 years of performing.

Last fall, Anderson spoke of a reboot in the works. She gushed about the show, called Thunderbirds Are Go!, and she could not wait to voice her new character, the great-aunt to Lady Penelope.

Anderson was among the first female producers in the U.K. who made waves in the grand film industry. Her inventive ideas and creativity rivaled those of many people in programming.

Anderson was born in London, England, and she later worked in journalism as a freelancer. She met her husband, Gerry, while employed with a film company. They created the first ideas and plans for Thunderbirds, and in 1965, they launched the series.

The unique Anderson team created the technique called “supermarionation.” They recorded the character’s voices before filming the puppets’ actions. Then, when the puppets were onscreen, built-in sensors activated, which moved the puppets’ lips in perfect time with the recorded voices.

However, the Anderson team split when the couple divorced in 1981. Gerry died in 2012 after a difficult battle with Alzheimer’s.

Anderson teamed up with Gerry in writing a few of the episodes for the show. She also dabbled in character development techniques and designing some of the costumes for the show.

Sylvia Anderson’s career spanned about 50 years. She worked on other shows in that time, like Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet.

Rae Earl, the writer of the My Mad Fat Diary television series, posted a warm message for Anderson on social media earlier today.

“Sylvia Anderson was responsible for some of my favorite TV.”

At the time of her death, Anderson had a TV show co-written with her daughter in the works, called The Last Station.

Dee spoke fondly of her late mother on the official Sylvia Anderson website.

“Sylvia was a Mother and a Legend – her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way, and will be sadly missed.”

Nick Williams, the chairman of the group that commemorates team Anderson’s work, which included events and TV shows specifically for charities such as Breast Cancer Care, spoke about Sylvia and the impact of her death.

“[She was] a huge influence on the entertainment industry. She was one of the first prominent women in the film and TV industry… [Sylvia Anderson] leaves behind an amazing legacy of fantastic television, really groundbreaking entertainment.”

Friends and family added that she did anything she could for the charities she chose and for anyone who came to her in need.

According to BBC News, Anderson filmed her last public interview on the BBC Radio 2 Graham Norton Show with actor David Graham in December. Graham worked with Anderson voicing characters for Thunderbirds.

Former co-workers worldwide give sympathies to the Anderson family, offer condolences in the wake of her death, and remember time spent with Sylvia. Fans that followed Anderson’s projects from her very first programs, like Thunderbirds, express the impact that her authentic love for her work and her characters had on their lives.

[Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images]