Former Dynasty star Kate O'Mara has died at the age of 74, her agent said. The actress was best known for playing Alexis Colby's scheming sister Cassandra ''Caress'' Morrell in the US soap in the mid 1980s, along with roles in British series Doctor Who, Howards' Way and Triangle.
Her agent Phil Belfield said she died on Sunday morning in a Sussex nursing home after a short illness. He said: ''She was extraordinary, she had so much energy and vitality with a love for theatre and acting.'' He added: ''A shining star has gone out and Kate will be dearly missed by all who knew and have worked with her.''
O'Mara's first television roles were in the 1960s. But it was in the 1980s that she landed her biggest and longest-running roles. As well as Dynasty, she starred as a ruthless businesswoman in BBC drama Howards' Way, which was dubbed the ''Dallas of the Seas''. She also appeared in the original run of Doctor Who, opposite both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, as renegade Time Lord The Rani. Last year, which was Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, she said she would like to reprise the role. She told the Huffington Post: ''I'd love to come back as The Rani another time around. ''To have a much older woman as your adversary, there's something interesting about that.''
She was devastated last year when her son Dickon Young, 48, was found hanged at their home on New Year's Eve in 2012. Mr Young's body was discovered by a neighbour in the garage of the £750,000 cottage he shared with his mother in the village of Long Marston, Warks. He had moved in with his mother after developing mental health problems following a car crash several years ago. Mr Young was the twice-divorced actress' son by her first husband, actor Jeremy Young.
Following their divorce, O'Mara gave birth to another son but when his father left, she made the decision to have the child adopted. The boy, Chris Linde, contacted her decades later but the pair did not get on.
She married second husband Richard Willis in 1993 but they divorced three years later. In the 1990s she starred in the comedy show Absolutely Fabulous as Jackie, the sister of Joanna Lumley's character Patsy.
More recently she had appeared in ITV soap Benidorm and a 2012 stage adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death On The Nile. She is survived by her sister, the actress Belinda Carroll. Mr Belfield said there would be a private funeral and a memorial service on a date to be confirmed.