Inside Malcolm Hebden’s life – multiple Corrie roles to near-death experience

Coronation Street icon Malcolm Hebden will be remembered on the soap in upcoming scenes after he quit the show.

In Wednesday night's episode his legendary character, Norris Cole, will be killed off off-screen, and a number of other Weatherfield residents will get together to celebrate his life in what is sure to be some emotional scenes.

Malcolm, 81, made the decision to permanently leave the ITV soap back in January, after stepping back previously.

He made a brief return last year when Ken Barlow (Bill Roache) moved to Stillwaters retirement home, but he hasn't been seen since.

Now, as the death of his iconic character is on the cards, Daily Star is taking a look at the much-loved actor's life – from his secret other Coronation Street role, to a terrifying near-fatal heart attack.

Early struggles

Malcolm, born in Chester but grew up in Burnley, revealed that he found school difficult due to "severe dyslexia" – however he was thought to be "just dim".

He drifted between jobs – such as a shop assistant and window dresser – before he set his sights on acting.

The eventual soap-star was a keen amateur actor but after seeing Richard Moore go to Bristol Old Vic drama school he decided he could do it too.

He went on to land parts in various stage shows and had small roles in television shows like Heartbeat and Band of Gold.

Secret Corrie role

While Malcolm is loved by many as the nosey Kabin owner Norris, he actually played another character 20 years before he landed his iconic role.

Back in 1974, the Cheshire native joined the cobbles as Carlos, the Spanish boyfriend of Thelma Barlow's Mavis Riley.

Carlos lived across from classic character Bet Lynch and was pretty good with English, but needed help here and there.

He was a waiter at his cousin's restaurant, but didn't have a work permit that let him stay in the country.

Carlos was dragged into a prank by Ray Langton to make Mavis think she was meeting up with another Spanish local she'd met on holiday.

But he eventually came clean and, although Mavis had been angry, they made up and soon things progressed.

Little did Carlos know, though, Mavis was using him to make Jerry Booth jealous – however she did develop feelings for him.

Carlos asked Mavis to marry him and she accepted, and he was hoping they'd tie the knot straight away so he could sort his work permit issues.

She soon realised that was what he was wanting and broke things off, even turning down his offer of cash.

Soon after, Carlos moved away, giving actor Malcolm the opportunity to return as an even more popular character.

Corrie return

Malcolm made a return to Coronation Street in 1994, 20 years after his first appearance as Carlos.

This time he played Norris Cole, arriving in Weatherfield after a chance encounter at the side of a motorway with Derek Wilton.

Funnily enough, Norris shared scenes with Mavis, as he stayed with her and husband Derek for a little while.

Norris was stomping the cobbles for three years before he left in 1997, but he soon made his return in 1999 which turned out to be more permanent.

He developed close friendships with Rita Tanner, Emily Bishop, Blanche Hunt and eventually Mary Taylor, whom he would go on to marry.

The nosey Kabin owner was a lover of street gossip, but he also had some serious storylines over the years.

He was among the first to suspect that Richard Hillman was a killer in 2003, and family relationships were explored when his long-lost brother Ramsay turned up in 2009 to make amends as he had a secret brain tumour which soon killed him.

After Ramsay's death, Norris bought the Kabin from pal Rita and continued entering competitions with Mary.

He left the cobbles at the start of 2018 to help take care of close friend Emily, though he was next mentioned in 2019 when it was revealed he was selling his house.

By June, Norris confessed he was having second thoughts about selling the house, but eventually left, with him reminiscing in the back of a taxi, saying: "I shall miss this street and the people on it. Goodbye old friends."

He made a brief return for Ken's 80th birthday celebrations in October of the same year, and bumped into his old friend again in February 2020 when Ken moved into Stillwaters retirement home.

Malcolm's final appearance as Norris was in May 2020, to celebrate VA Day with his old friends.

Off-screen death

  • Coronation Street's Amy Barlow star looks very glamorous as she shares stunning selfie

In Wednesday night's episode Norris will die off-screen, with Weatherfield residents heading to the sad event including Ken, Gail Platt and Claudia Colby.

A source told The Sun: "When Malcolm left the soap he made it clear he would not be returning and bosses took the decision to write him out.

"Norris was a huge character for Coronation Street and his funeral will be filled with fun and laughter as well as tears.

"Make no doubt about it, this will be a celebration of all of the best moments Norris had on the cobbles."

It's reported that the scenes will be an "emotional watch", based on the huge impact the character made on the soap.

Personal life

Malcolm is very private and in 2009 he said: "I live alone and I quite like it like that.

"I don't hide away, though, and I've been filmed shopping in Sainsbury's on someone's mobile phone once — it was on YouTube. You do have to be careful though. I don't go out clubbing at night. For one thing I'm too old, but I don't anyway because when people have had a few drinks their attitude can be slightly different.

Not much is known about his life off-screen in terms of his family.

Near-death experience

In December 2017, Malcolm suffered a heart attack which almost killed him.

He told the Blackpool Gazette: "Most of December I was in an induced coma, in the care of these brilliant, wonderful people at the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

"Fortunately I didn't realise how bad it was – I was dying. The cardiac team, headed by Mr Joseph Zacharias, simple saved my life."

He explained that he had at least one hole in his heart, after the heart attack badly damaged it.

The brilliant medical team at Blackburn hospital took a chance and operated on him and saved his life.

Quiet Corrie exit

In January of this year, Malcolm quietly left the soap, making it clear that Norris would not be seen on-screen again.

He told The Sun: "I absolutely adored playing Norris and I was pleased to be able to return briefly after my operation.

"It took a great deal of courage to make the decision to retire.

"But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much."

One thing's for sure, he will be missed on the cobbles!

Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV

Do you know any of the Love Island contestants? Email us at [email protected].

Source: Read Full Article