British actress Emma Chambers played the younger sister of Hugh Grant’s character in the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill, which starred Grant and Julia Roberts. But she was best known for her role as the dim-witted but sweet and kind hearted church verger Alice Tinker, (later Horton) in the BBC comedy series, The Vicar of Dibley. According to reports, the 53 year old actress died of natural causes but other reports state she died of a heart attack. She is survived by her husband, actor Ian Dunn.
Comedienne Dawn French, who played the titular character in the series, expressed her sorrow on her co-star’s death. ‘A very bright spark and the most loyal friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much.’
James Fleet, who played her equally simple husband in the series, ‘Just heard the terrible news about lovely Emma Chambers. We had many laughs together and as it says in the song, I always thought I'd see her again. She created one of the best TV characters ever and I was proud to have worked with her. Xxxx.’
From Hugh Grant, ‘She brought laughter and joy to many. Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.’
From Jon Plowman, the series’ executive producer, 'This is a sad day. Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played — no matter how ditzy or other worldly — look easy. To create a much loved comic character as she did, you have to be every bit as bright and clever as Emma always was. She was great fun to work with and adored by all the cast and crew of Vicar of Dibley. She will be missed and our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.’
Emma Chambers is the third The Vicar of Dibley cast member to pass on. Roger Lloyd Pack who played the colourful and earthy farmer Owen Newitt died of pancreatic cancer in 2014 and Liz Smith who played Mrs Letitia Cropley died at age 95 in 2016.