Comedy Icon Victoria Wood A ‘Humble Genius’ Passes, Aged Just 62

Victoria Wood is widely regarded as a comedy genius. Wood, who was one of the brightest stars of her generation and arguably paved the way for a generation of British comedy talent, has passed away after a short illness. Wood shot to fame during the 1980s, and Victoria’s comedy partnership with her great friend, Julie Walters, is the stuff of comedy legend. The Mirror reports that Walter’s is devastated by Wood’s passing saying that the loss of Victoria “is incalculable.”

According to the Guardian, Victoria’s publicist confirmed earlier today that Wood had passed away after a “short but brave fight against cancer.”

“The multi-Bafta-award-winning writer, director, actor and comedian died peacefully at her north London home with family this morning. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”

Victoria’s brother praised Wood saying that he was “hugely proud” of his sister, and her death had “robbed us of one of the brightest talents of our generation.”

“It wasn’t just that Victoria was hugely talented in so many different fields, she was also outstanding in her tremendous, single-minded drive and determination to pursue her chosen career. Success did not come easily to Victoria, and it was only after years of struggle that she achieved her well-deserved national acclaim.”

Victoria Wood and Julie Walters met in 1978 when they both had parts in a London play called In At The Death, and they formed a friendship that lasted for over 35 years. Walters previously told the BBC that Wood was the major talent in their collaboration

“People talk about it as a collaboration, and I say, ‘Yes that’s right,’ but it’s not. Victoria wrote them and I acted them basically.”

As you might expect, figures from the world of entertainment have been effusive in their praise of Wood as they paid tribute. Caitlin Moran, who cited Wood as an inspiration, said Victoria gave her the belief that women can be successful comedians.

“Oh, Victoria Wood. You were SO my hero. I can quote whole scripts by heart. Seeing Victoria Wood on TV – working class, bookish, silly, clever, doing stand-up, singing, acting – made me think ‘Girls can do this’.”

According to the Telegraph, Ben Lawrence said that Wood could “make even the mundane seem magical.”

“Wood loved her characters and it showed. Officious middle managers, self-righteous Cheshire spinsters, sweet naïve couples bewildered by the birds and the bees, she drew them all with an unwavering accuracy and crucially never patronised them. When you laughed at them you often felt cruel for doing so — such was the emotional truth that lay behind her creations.”

Sky News reports that Wood toured the U.K. for many years with her stand-up show, during which she showcased her famous talent for impressions, witty social observation, and for composing and performing comical songs. Woods won numerous awards, including five Baftas, for her work on stage and screen. Wood was made a CBE in Queen’s Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours in 2008.

Fellow Comedian Lenny Henry said he was devastated at the news of Wood’s passing

“Victoria will be sorely missed. Always funny, she worked incredibly hard. A killer stand-up and a fantastic songwriter. My condolences to all her family.”

Wood will be sorely missed by the world of entertainment, she will leave a massive hole in the lives of everyone who knew her but of course it is Victoria’s two children, Grace and Henry who will miss her most.

Victoria Wood was talented, dedicated and an inspiration to a whole generation of comedians. Wood’s contribution to the world of entertainment is incalculable. Victoria was a genius, and we may never see her like again.

[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]