Coupland was born in Leeds in 1932, and originally wanted to be a ballet dancer, but she could not fulfill this ambition due to a horse-riding accident. At the age of 11 her music career started when Barney Colehan, a BBC producer, heard Coupland sing and she sang on one of his radio shows. By the time she reached 14, she was singing full time at the Mecca Locarno in Leeds, and when she was 15 moved with her parents to London, where she became a resident singer at Mecca’s Tottenham Court Road ballroom. During the 1940s and 1950s, she became a leading singer of the day, singing at the The Dorchester and The Savoy. Coupland also dubbed the singing voices of actresses who could not sing, namely Lana Turner in Betrayed and most famously in the James Bond film Dr. No, where she dubbed the singing voice of Ursula Andress. She gave up professional singing in the 1960s.
In 1959, she was unexpectedly cast by Joan Littlewood as Sally in the Theatre Workshop musical Make Me An Offer, and she soon appeared in many West End plays including Gigi and Not Now, Darling. Her television appearances started in the 1960s, and early appearances included Dixon of Dock Green, The Wednesday Play, Softly, Softly and Z-Cars. However, after playing a mother in Please Sir! and the Siberian wife in Mel Brooks’s 1970 film The Twelve Chairs, Coupland got her big break in 1971 when she achieved television fame as Jean Abbott, the long suffering-wife of Sid James’s character, in Bless This House. This role continuted until James’ untimely death in 1976. She appeared in a few films including, Charlie Bubbles and Spring and Port Wine.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, Coupland appeared in Wilde Alliance, Triangle and Juliet Bravo. She got a role in the soap opera Triangle after the actor who was due to play the part of owner of the line died. Her husband was a director on the programme and she had been watching the filming and was offered the part. In 1992, she appeared in an episode of One Foot in the Grave, and in 2000 she had a six week role as Maureen Carter in EastEnders. Following this, Coupland appeared in Doctors, Casualty and in 2005 Rose and Maloney, her final television appearance.
Diana Coupland married twice. She and her first husband, composer Monty Norman divorced after 20 years of marriage, having had one daughter. In 2001, she gave evidence in a High Court after her former husband sued The Sunday Times following a 1997 article suggesting that Norman had falsely taken credit and royalties for the James Bond theme music, and that it had actually been written by John Barry. Coupland described the article as “blatantly untrue” and her former husband was awarded £30,000.
She married secondly Marc Miller, a producer, in 1980. Diana Coupland, who was a patron of National Lupus UK, died aged 74 at the University Hospital, Coventry in 2006 after failing to recover following an operation to resolve long-term heart problems.
Edited by kiko_murakami on 21 Jan 2007, 16:35
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