Sylvia Anderson, who was the voice of Lady Penelope and co-creator with her husband (at the time) Gerry Anderson on Thunderbirds, passed away after a brief illness at home at the age of 88.
Describing her as “a mother and a legend”, daughter Dee Anderson said, “Her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged. She was a force in every way.”
She worked for years with Gerry on the various supermarionation shows they were famous for as a writer and producer, but also on live action productions such as UFO and Space: 1999, including designing the “future 1980s” fashion in the former.
For Space: 1999, she was on record as against the casting of American lead actors, but was overruled by Sir Lew Grade, then head of ITC Entertainment, as they wanted to insure an American TV market. She capitulated, but threw her vote for Robert Culp (I Spy) and Katharine Ross (The Graduate) – instead her husband went with then-hot husband and wife team of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. It was between the first and second seasons of the show that the Anderson’s separated and later divorced.
I’ve mentioned before that the Andersons were among the architects of my childhood, having grown up with Thunderbirds and Space: 1999. Their influence has been great, and will be greatly missed.