Jenny Tomasin, a British actress forever known to hundreds of millions of television viewers as the clumsy, disheveled, Valentino-obsessed kitchen maid Ruby Finch in UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS, has died at her home in London. She is also known for her three roles in popular British soap operas, as well as a brief but memorable arc the 80s in DOCTOR WHO.
She died Jan. 3 of hypertensive heart disease, according to the coroner’s office in her neighborhood. She was 73, according to the membership records officer for the actor’s union Equity in Great Britain. Other reference guides put her age at 75. She had no immediate survivors, delaying confirmation of her death.
UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS was produced between 1970 and 1975, drew audiences worldwide and has endured in public television reruns. It had a direct influence on films including Robert Altman’s Gosford Park (2001) and shows such as DOWNTON ABBEY now airing on public television.
In the '70s she played the role of Ruby Finch in the British soap opera CROSSROADS, and she twice appeared on the British soap EMMERDALE — in the early 1980s and in the mid-2000s — and each time, her character was killed off. Naomi Tolly, daughter of Enoch Tolly, was killed in a tractor accident. Noreen Bell, a cantankerous villager, was killed off in July 2006.