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C. Coleman, 33; Actress Appeared in '4 Weddings'

November 18, 2001|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

LONDON — Charlotte Coleman, an actress best known for her portrayal of Hugh Grant's oddball, foul-mouthed roommate in the movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral," has died at 33.

Her family said she suffered a massive asthma attack.

Coleman's mother, actress Ann Beach, found the body in the young woman's north London apartment Wednesday. Beach had gone there after being unable to reach her daughter by telephone.

Coleman suffered from asthma for years but had never experienced a major attack before, said her father, Francis Coleman. She was rushed to Whittington Hospital in north London, but was pronounced dead on arrival, he added.

He said he and his wife had seen their daughter Tuesday, when she visited them at their London home.

"She had been in great form and in good spirits," he said. "When she left, she said she was feeling a little ill, and I told her to stay with us. But she wanted to go home. The family is devastated. We loved her, and she was a rare creature who the camera loved."

Charlotte Coleman acted professionally for most of her life, but she won the greatest fame for her role as Scarlett in the 1994 hit "Four Weddings and a Funeral." She and Grant's character, Charles, oversleep on the day of a friend's wedding and rush frantically to get to the ceremony in one of the movie's early scenes, spewing a stream of obscenities as they go.

Her portrayal of the offbeat, orange-haired Scarlett won Coleman a nomination for a BAFTA, Britain's top film award.

"I'm always the kooky girl," the actress once said. "I don't think I have ever played someone my age, straight, together, who wears normal clothes and does not turn out to be a murderer."

She gained prominence at the age of 11, when she won a role in the children's sitcom "Worzel Gummidge."

She later played a lesbian teenager in a 1990 British Broadcasting Corp. television adaptation of the novel "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit."

Among her other films over the last dozen years were "Bearskin: An Urban Fairytale," "Blackeyes," "Different for Girls," "The Young Poisoner's Handbook," "Beautiful Thing," "The Revengers' Comedies," "Twice Upon a Yesterday," "Beautiful People" and "Bodywork."

Other notable credits for television specials were "The Dark Angel," "Inspector Morse, Series VII: Happy Families" and "Oliver's Travels."

In addition to her parents, Coleman is survived by a sister, Lisa.

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