Television writer and producer Sylvia Anderson, the voice of Lady Penelope in popular 1960s television show Thunderbirds, has died at age 88 after a short illness.

Anderson, who co-created the marionette puppet show with her late ex-husband Gerry, passed away at her UK home, according to a statement on her official website.

Debuting on British television screens in 1965, Thunderbirds followed a secret rescue performing organisation and its elegant Lady Penelope character, who was driven around in a pink Rolls-Royce, was modelled on Anderson.

The show aired for just two seasons, but has gained a huge following since.

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"Sylvia was a mother and a legend - her intelligence was phenomenal but her creativity and tenacity unchallenged," her daughter Dee Anderson wrote on the site.

"She was a force in every way, and will be sadly missed."

Born to a boxer and dressmaker from south London in 1927, Anderson also worked on television shows such as Stingray and Joe 90.

Her former husband, Gerry Anderson, died in 2012.

- AAP