John le Carre's half-sister Charlotte Cornwell dies aged 71

Charlotte Cornwall, the half-sister of late author John le Carre, has sadly died at the age of 71.

Cornwell is said to have died following a cancer battle on January 16, a little over a month after le Carre’s death aged 89.

An accomplished actress, Cornwell was best known for starring in the 1970s TV series Rock Follies, in which she played a member of the fictional Little Ladies pop group alongside Rula Lenska and Julie Covington.

The series also enjoyed success on the music charts as the soundtrack knocked Status Quo off the number one spot in the UK. The show won three Baftas and proved to be a hit overseas.

Other TV credits include political drama The West Wing and The Mentalist; while Cornwell also starred in movies such as The Krays (1990), Stardust (1974) and The Saint (1997).

Opening up about her career, Cornwell once said: ‘I’ve always felt embarrassed about the way I fell into acting because everyone I know wanted to do it from a frighteningly early age.’

However, she was inspired by sound advice from her famous older brother – born David Cornwell: ‘I was completely directionless until he sat me down and said “Come on, sis, what are you going to do? I think you’re creative, have you ever thought about acting?”‘

Cornwell was the muse for Le Carre’s iconic 1983 spy novel The Little Drummer Girl and campaigned for her to win a part in the movie adaptation the following year.

‘But they got Diane Keaton instead, which was about as silly a piece of casting as you could wish,’ he once lamented.

Cornwell was also familiar with the theatre boards and began at the Bristol Old Vic before becoming a lead actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company for three years. From there, she went on to join the National Theatre.

The actress is survived by her daughter Nancy Cranham, 39, who she shares with former partner Kenneth Cranham. Cornwell and Cranham never married and split three years after welcoming their daughter but remained friends.

Her older half-brother, le Carre, died on December 12 following a battle with pneumonia. He was best known for writing the books Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager, both of which were adapted for the screen.

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