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13 January 2014, 08:08
Actress Alexandra Bastedo, best known for her role in the 1960s sci-fi series The Champions, has died aged 67 following a long illness.
Mrs Bastedo, who was born in Hove and had also starred on TV in Absolutely Fabulous, Boon and the Agatha Christie Hour, had battled against cancer.
In later life, the animal rights supporter founded the ABC Animal Sanctuary near Pulborough, which announced her death.
The charity said on Twitter: "It is with great sadness that we announce that Alexandra Bastedo passed away this Sunday afternoon after a long illness aged 67.
"She will be sadly missed by all those who knew and worked with her, and by all the volunteers at the ABC Animal Sanctuary.''
From a young age, her love for animals shone through. She would spend her spare time as a child at her local vets helping to clean and look after animals.
She harboured ambitions to become a vet, but at the age of 16 she was discovered by Columbia Pictures and sent to Hollywood to make a horror film called The Candy Web.
Aged 20, following a number of TV shows, she won her big break starring in ITV's The Champions, which ran for a year from 1968 and "totally changed my life''.
Tributes were paid by actress Liza Goddard who wrote on Twitter: "My dear friend Alexandra Bastedo died today. A beautiful person who will be greatly missed.''
Actor Peter Egan, also a supporter of the ABC Animal Sanctuary, wrote: "Deeply sad. Our dear friend Alexandra Bastedo lost her battle with cancer at 4pm today. A beautiful woman and Animal Champion.''