ACTRESS Kate O'Mara, who lived near Taunton for a number of years, has died aged 74.

Miss O'Mara's agent Phil Belfield said she died in a Sussex nursing home on Sunday (March 30) morning following a short illness.

She lived in a cottage in Buckland St Mary and Mr Belfield praised her "energy and vitality" and her "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."

Miss 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".

More recently she had appeared in ITV soap Benidorm and a 2012 stage adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death On The Nile.

She last posted a message on Twitter on March 17, writing: "Thank you so much for your kind tweets.

"It's both humbling and completely overwhelming to read all of your messages. Much Love x."

Joan Collins, who played Alexis Colby in Dynasty, paid tribute to O'Mara on Twitter.

She tweeted: "Tragic news about Kate O'Mara, we had great fun on Dynasty when she played my sister Caress who Alexis insisted on calling CASSIE ! RIP."

A private funeral and a memorial service will be held on a date yet to be confirmed.