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Syliva Anderson, pictured here with Lady Penelope, a character voiced by, and modeled after, herself.

Syliva Anderson, pictured here with Lady Penelope, a character voiced by, and modeled after, herself.

Sylvia Anderson, co-creator of the hit science fiction adventure television series Thunderbirds and the voice of its character Lady Penelope, is reported by her family as having passed away at her home in Berkshire after a short illness. Her daughter, Dee Anderson, describes her as “a mother and a legend”. Anderson co-created the hit science-fiction puppet series, which ran from 1965, with her late husband Gerry. Her career spanned five decades; she was also instrumental in the creation of shows like Supercar, Joe 90, and Captain Scarlet.

“Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way,” Dee Anderson said.

Her former husband Gerry Anderson died in 2012 after suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Nick Williams is Chairman of Fanderson,  a fan club dedicated to the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. He told BBC Breakfast she was a “huge influence” on the entertainment industry. “She was one of the first really prominent women in the film and TV industry,” he said, adding that Anderson leaves behind “an amazing legacy of fantastic television, really groundbreaking entertainment.”

Born in south London to a boxing promoter and a dressmaker, Sylvia Anderson graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in sociology and political science. She spent several years in the US and worked as a journalist before returning to the UK and joining a TV production company, where she met her future husband.

Five decades of work in the entertainment industry hardly befits a short commentary on a web site, to be quite honest about it. Sylvia Anderson was a pioneer in the television and motion picture industries at a time when women in positions of creative responsibility, women in charge, were exceedingly rare. It is by force of her intelligence, her creativity, and her irrepressible spirit that she accomplished all she did, and she cleared the way for many who followed in her footsteps. While we mourn her passing, we also note how much light and brilliance she brought to the world.

Sleep well, Sylvia.

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