Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Tamm enjoyed a long and varied career on stage and screen. As well as Doctor Who, she appeared in feature films including The Odessa File and The Likely Lads and played recurring roles in soaps Brookside and EastEnders.
Her agent Barry Langford said: "She had a great zest for life. She was a fantastic actress – she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully."
Beginning her career at the Birmingham Repertory Company, Tamm worked on stage alongside the likes of Joan Sims, Ronnie Barker and Derek Jacobi before moving into film and TV and notching up early credits in Coronation Street, The Donati Conspiracy and Freddie Francis’s film Tales That Witness Madness.
Remaining a presence on TV throughout her career, she recently starred in Wire in the Blood, Paradise Heights and Jonathan Creek.
Tamm also returned to Doctor Who in recent years, reprising the role of Romana in a series of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio adventures. In 2009, she published her autobiography First Generation.
Former Doctor Who Magazine writer Patrick Mulkern, who has compiled a definitive Doctor Who story guide for this website, said: "I can’t believe that yet another great lady of Doctor Who has succumbed to cancer at a relatively early age.
"Mary Tamm was an instant success in 1978 as Time Lady Romana. She was supposed to be a snooty, brainy ice maiden, but Mary gave her a delightfully sardonic edge and voluptuous warmth, making Romana a very sexy successor to Louise Jameson’s Leela. No mean feat.
"I thought she was fabulous and had a lot more mileage than the one year (26 episodes) she spent on Doctor Who."
Tamm is survived by her husband Marcus Ringrose, daughter Lauren and seven-year-old son Max.