According to her agent, actress Emma Chambers has passed away unexpectedly from natural causes at the age of 53. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Ian Dunn.
Chambers was best known stateside for her role as Honey Thacker, Hugh Grant’s younger sister, in 1999’s “Notting Hill.” In her native England, though, she had already become a recognizable face as the recurring character Alice Tinker on “The Vicar of Dibley” (1994-2007).
Born in 1964, Chambers received formal training at London’s Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art – whose alumni include such legends as Angela Lansbury, Minnie Driver, and countless others. Chambers debuted on screen as Margaret in 1988’s TV mini-series “The Rainbow.” After a few years of bit parts, she really broke through in 1994. In addition to landing the role of Alice Tinker, Chambers appeared as Charity Pecksniff in all six episodes of the TV mini-series “Martin Chuzzlewit,” an adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens.
She followed that banner year with another series of small roles before hitting it big again in 1998-1999 as series regular Helen Yardley in the British sitcom “How Do You Want Me?” as well as her part in “Notting Hill.”
Chambers wasn’t confined to the screen. In addition to her film and TV work, she was a prolific stage performer known for her comedic chops. Perhaps most notably, she starred alongside – and later lived with – Sir Ian McKellen. She would go on to revere him as a father figure.
Though she never quite elevated her star to the level of a leading lady, Chambers certainly made her mark on the acting world and will be missed.