The Info List - Dora Bryan

Dora May Broadbent, OBE (7 February 1923 – 23 July 2014), known as Dora Bryan, was an English actress of stage, film and television.[1][2]


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Awards and testimonials 4 Personal life 5 Death 6 Selected filmography 7 Television roles 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Bryan was born in Parbold, Lancashire
at 14 Mill Lane, later known as "Cob Cottage". Her father was a salesman and she attended Hathershaw County Primary School in Oldham, Lancashire. Her career began in pantomime before World War II, during which she joined ENSA in Italy to entertain British troops.[3] Career[edit] Bryan made her stage debut as a child in a pantomime in Manchester and, encouraged by her mother, joined the Oldham
Repertory while still a teenager. After spending six years honing her craft there, she moved to London to develop her stage career, becoming a regular performer in the West End. Cast in a production of Noël Coward's Private Lives, the actress was encouraged to adopt a stage name by Coward himself. She opted for Dora Bryant, which she often said was inspired by a box of Bryant and May matches which were lying on the table, but a typographical error left off the last letter on the theatre hoarding and she became Dora Bryan.[4] Instantly recognisable from her voice, which became a trademark of her performances, she followed many of her theatre contemporaries into film acting, generally playing supporting roles. She often played women of easy virtue—for example in The Fallen Idol (1948), one of her earliest films, and Ealing's The Blue Lamp
The Blue Lamp
(1950). She appeared in similarly stereotypical female roles in other films, for example Gift Horse (1952), The Cockleshell Heroes
The Cockleshell Heroes
(1955), The Green Man (1956) and Carry On Sergeant
Carry On Sergeant
(1958). She appeared in a cameo role on the BBC
radio series Hancock's Half Hour, in an episode commonly known as "Cinderella Hancock" (1955). She appeared in the film A Taste of Honey (1961) which won four BAFTA awards including Best Actress for Bryan and Best British Film . In 1963 she recorded the Christmas song
Christmas song
"All I want for Christmas is a Beatle". She played the Headmistress in The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), and she starred in her own television series for the BBC, According to Dora (1968–69). In 1955 Bryan received theatrical recognition when, after the first night of a production of A. P. Herbert's The Water Gypsies, the billing outside was changed to " Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
in A.P. Herbert's The Water Gipsies".[5] It was Bryan's first venture into West End musical comedy, in which she played Lily Bell, and was a personal triumph. The show's hit songs, sung by Bryan, included "Why Did You Call Me Lily?", "You Never Know With Men", and "It Would Cramp My Style".[6] Bryan appeared in the Anglo-Argentine Hitchcockian thriller, Apartment Zero (1988). The film was directed by Martin Donovan (the Argentine aka: Carlos Enrique Varela y Peralta-Ramos) and starred Hart Bochner and Colin Firth. Bryan plays the role of one of two eccentric characters (the other was played by Liz Smith) described by The Washington Post as two "tea-and-crumpet gargoyle-featured spinsters who snoop the corridors". It featured in the 1988 Sundance Film Festival.[7] Throughout her career, she continued to perform on the stage, often appearing in musicals such as Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1962) and Hello, Dolly! (1966–68). She also headlined a number of stage revues such as The Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
Show (1966), "My Name Is Dora" (1967) and An Evening with Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
and Friends (1968). She made her Broadway debut as Mrs. Pierce in Pygmalion (1987), starring Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
and Amanda Plummer. Other notable credits include her first Shakespearean role, Mistress Quickly
Mistress Quickly
in The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merry Wives of Windsor
(1984), Mrs. Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer
She Stoops to Conquer
(1985) and Carlotta Campion (singing "I'm Still Here") in the 1987 London production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical Follies. In 1992, she toured the country including appearing at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, her home town, and starred in London's West End at the Vaudeville Theatre in Kander and Ebb's 70 Girls 70 to great acclaim. At this time she joked with Terry Wogan
Terry Wogan
and Michael Barrymore on their TV shows that she was aged not 70 but "sixty-several" and could still kick her leg higher than her head, which brought much audience laughter. She appeared in the 1994 revival of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.[citation needed] In 1999, she made an appearance in the Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
sitcom Dinnerladies. In 2000, she joined the cast of the long-running BBC comedy series Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine
as Aunt Ros Utterthwaite, and in 2001 she was a guest star on Absolutely Fabulous
Absolutely Fabulous
as June Whitfield's on-screen friend Dolly (originally called Milly). She received a BAFTA nomination in 2002 for this role. A few years later in 2005 her role in Last of the Summer Wine
Last of the Summer Wine
came to an end.[8] At about the same time, she stopped making films. Her last screen appearance was in the short film Gone to the Dogs (2006) with Antony Booth. In 2006, she was intended to appear both in the comedy Rock-a-Hula Rest Home at a pub theatre in Brighton, and in the comedy There's No Place Like a Home, but in both cases she had to withdraw because of her inability to memorise her lines.[8] Awards and testimonials[edit] Her autobiography According To Dora was published in 1987 and has since been updated and republished. In 1996 she was awarded the OBE in recognition of her services to acting and the same year she was awarded a Laurence Olivier Award for her role in the West End production of the Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
play, The Birthday Party. She was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in April 1962 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at her home in Brighton, and in January 1989 when Michael Aspel surprised her on the stage of the Opera House, Manchester
at the curtain call of Hello, Dolly!. An exhibition about Bryan opened on 13 September 2013 at Rottingdean Museum.[2] Personal life[edit] She was married for 54 years to former Lancashire
and Cumberland cricketer Bill Lawton until his death as a result of Alzheimer's disease in August 2008. The couple met in Oldham
during World War II and were married at Werneth St Thomas, Oldham, in 1954. During her husband's final years she reduced her public commitments to enable herself to look after him, as well as suffering with health problems herself, including a serious operation for a hernia.[citation needed] Bryan once owned Clarges Hotel at 115–119 Marine Parade on Brighton's seafront, which was used as an exterior location in the films Carry On Girls
Carry On Girls
and Carry On at Your Convenience. She and her husband were forced to sell the bulk of the building because of bankruptcy, but they retained a flat with a sea view on the first floor for many years. Still maintaining its original structure, the rooms of the hotel have been reconverted into flats, which are rented and owned by local residents.[9] By 2013 she was a wheelchair user and resided in a nursing home in Hove
in frail health.[8] On 31 May 2009, Dora – A Gala Charity Show was held at Her Majesty's Theatre in London to raise funds for two charities nominated by Bryan: the Variety Club
Variety Club
Children's Charity and the Alzheimer's Society. Sir Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard
was the star performer, but among the performers and celebrity guests there were old friends and colleagues, including June Whitfield, Rita Tushingham, and Joanna Lumley. Bryan managed to attend.[10][11][12] Death[edit] She died on 23 July 2014 at the age of 91. Prior to her death she had been living at a care home in Hove.[13] Her funeral service was held in August 2014 at St George's Church, Brighton, where she had regularly attended services. Selected filmography[edit]

Odd Man Out
Odd Man Out
(1947) - Girl in Telephone Kiosk (uncredited) The Fallen Idol (1948) - Rose No Room at the Inn (1948) - Spiv's Girlfriend (uncredited) Once Upon a Dream (1949) - Barmaid The Perfect Woman
The Perfect Woman
(1949) - Model in shop Now Barabbas (1949) - Winnie Adam and Evalyn (1949) - Blonde Sales Assistant (uncredited) Don't Ever Leave Me
Don't Ever Leave Me
(1949) - Beautician (uncredited) The Interrupted Journey
The Interrupted Journey
(1949) - Waitress The Cure for Love (1949) - Jenny Jenkins The Blue Lamp
The Blue Lamp
(1950) - Maisie No Trace (1950) - Maisie Phelps Traveller's Joy
Traveller's Joy
(1950) - Eva Something in the City (1950) - Waitress Files from Scotland Yard (1951) - Minnie Robinson The Quiet Woman
The Quiet Woman
(1951) - Elsie Circle of Danger
Circle of Danger
(1951) - Bubbles Fitzgerald Scarlet Thread (1951) - Maggie No Highway in the Sky
No Highway in the Sky
(1951) - Rosie, Barmaid (uncredited) Lady Godiva Rides Again
Lady Godiva Rides Again
(1951) - Lady in Charge of Publicity High Treason (1951) - Mrs. Bowers Whispering Smith Investigates (1952) - La Fosse 13 East Street (1952) - Valerie

∗ Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire
Mother Riley Meets the Vampire
- Tilly ( 1953)

Time Gentlemen, Please! (1952) - Peggy Stebbins Mother Riley Meets the Vampire
Mother Riley Meets the Vampire
(1952) - Tilly Gift Horse (1952) - Glad Flanagan Miss Robin Hood (1952) - Pearl Made in Heaven (1952) - Ethel Jenkins The Ringer (1952) - Mrs. Hackett Women of Twilight (1952) - Olga Street Corner (1953) - Prostitute at Police Station The Fake (1953) - Barmaid The Intruder (1953) - Dora Bee Fast and Loose (1954) - Mary Rawlings, the maid You Know What Sailors Are (1954) - Gladys The Young Lovers (1954) - Switchboard Operator (uncredited) The Crowded Day (1954) - Customer Mad About Men
Mad About Men
(1954) - Berengaria As Long as They're Happy
As Long as They're Happy
(1955) - May See How They Run (1955) - Isa The Cockleshell Heroes
The Cockleshell Heroes
(1955) - Myrtle You Lucky People (1955) - Sgt. Hortense Tipp Child in the House
Child in the House
(1956) - Cassie The Green Man (1956) - Lily Small Hotel
Small Hotel
(1957) The Man Who Wouldn't Talk
(1958) - Telephonist Carry On Sergeant
Carry On Sergeant
(1958) - Norah Operation Bullshine
Operation Bullshine
(1959) - Pvt. Cox Desert Mice
Desert Mice
(1959) - Gay Follow That Horse!
Follow That Horse!
(1960) - Miss Bradstock The Night We Got the Bird (1961) - Julie Skidmore A Taste of Honey (1961) - Helen The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery
The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery
(1966) - Amber Spottiswood The Sandwich Man (1966) - Mrs De Vere Two a Penny
Two a Penny
(1968) - Ruby Hopkins Hands of the Ripper
Hands of the Ripper
(1971) - Mrs Golding Up the Front
Up the Front
(1972) - Cora Crumpington Screamtime (1983) - Emma Apartment Zero
Apartment Zero
(1988) - Margaret McKinney MirrorMask
(2005) - Aunt Nan

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1956 My Wife's Sister Dora (4 episodes)

1961-1964 Happily Ever After Dora Morgan (12 episodes)

1972 Both Ends Meet / Dora Dora Page (13 episodes)

1985 Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
As Seen On TV Pam's Mother (1 episode)

1994 Mother's Ruin Kitty Flitcroft (6 episodes)

1996-2001 Absolutely Fabulous Millie/Dolly (2 episodes)

1999 Dinnerladies Connie (1 episode)

2000-2005 Last of the Summer Wine Ros Utterthwaite (50 episodes)


^ "Researcha.co.uk – UK Company and Company Director Reports". Web.researcha.com. Retrieved 5 May 2012. [permanent dead link] ^ a b The Argus, 2 September 2013: Feted Brighton
actress Dora, 90, to make rare public appearance, linked 6 September 2013. ^ "Obituary: Dora Bryan". bbc.com. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2015-01-17.  ^ " BBC
News - Dora Bryan: Summer Wine and Ab Fab actress dies aged 91". Bbc.co.uk. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-08-03.  ^ Dennis Barker (23 July 2014). " Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
obituary Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
(1924-02-07). " Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2014.  ^ Apartment Zero' (R), Washington Post, 3 November 1989 ^ a b c Profile, Daily Mail, 11 September 2008; "Comedy legend Dora Bryan was saved from the brink of despair by an uplifting 70-year romance"; accessed 6 September 2013. ^ Brighton and Hove
Brighton and Hove
on FilmCarry on Girls (1973), mybrightonandhove.org.uk, 22 March 2006. ^ "Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears write crime targets letter to top coppers and urge them to increase public confidence", Daily Mail, 19 May 2009; accessed 6 September 2013. ^ UK Theatre Web: Dora: A Gala Charity Show Celebrating the Career of Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
OBE, linked 6 September 2013. ^ Elizebthtoni.com, 2 June 2009: Part 2 Celebs at Dora: A Gala Charity Show – London – Arrivals Archived 25 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed 6 September 2013. ^ "Family announce the death of actress Dora Bryan". The Argus. 23 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
on IMDb Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
at the British Film Institute's Screenonline Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Dora Bryan's appearance on This Is Your Life Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
exhibition at Grange Museum, Rottingdean A review of Dora Bryan's 1964 album 'Dora'

v t e

Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role


Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
British, Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
Foreign (1952) Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
British, Leslie Caron
Leslie Caron
Foreign (1953) Yvonne Mitchell
Yvonne Mitchell
British, Cornell Borchers
Cornell Borchers
Foreign (1954) Katie Johnson British, Betsy Blair
Betsy Blair
Foreign (1955) Virginia McKenna
Virginia McKenna
British, Anna Magnani
Anna Magnani
Foreign (1956) Heather Sears
Heather Sears
British, Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
Foreign (1957) Irene Worth
Irene Worth
British, Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
Foreign (1958) Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
British, Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
Foreign (1959) Rachel Roberts British, Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
Foreign (1960) Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan
British, Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
Foreign (1961) Leslie Caron
Leslie Caron
British, Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Foreign (1962) Rachel Roberts British, Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
Foreign (1963) Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
British, Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
Foreign (1964) Julie Christie
Julie Christie
British, Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal
Foreign (1965) Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
British, Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
Foreign (1966) Edith Evans
Edith Evans
British, Anouk Aimée
Anouk Aimée
Foreign (1967)


Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
(1968) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1969) Katharine Ross
Katharine Ross
(1970) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1971) Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli
(1972) Stéphane Audran (1973) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1974) Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn
(1975) Louise Fletcher
Louise Fletcher
(1976) Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
(1977) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1978) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1979) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(1980) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1981) Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
(1982) Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(1983) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1984) Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
(1985) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1986) Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft
(1987) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(1988) Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins
(1989) Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
(1990) Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
(1991) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1992) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1993) Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
(1994) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1995) Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
(1996) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1997) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(1998) Annette Bening
Annette Bening
(1999) Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts
(2000) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2001) Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
(2002) Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson
(2003) Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton
(2004) Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard
(2007) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2008) Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan
(2009) Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
(2010) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2011) Emmanuelle Riva
Emmanuelle Riva
(2012) Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett
(2013) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2014) Brie Larson
Brie Larson
(2015) Emma Stone
Emma Stone
(2016) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand

v t e

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role



Nigel Hawthorne (1977) Robert Eddison (1978) Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
(1979) David Threlfall (1980) Joe Melia (1981) David Healy (1982) Alan Devlin (1983) Edward Petherbridge
Edward Petherbridge


Mona Washbourne
Mona Washbourne
(1977) Elizabeth Spriggs (1978) Doreen Mantle (1979) Suzanne Bertish (1980) Gwen Watford
Gwen Watford
(1981) Anna Massey
Anna Massey
(1982) Abigail McKern (1983) Marcia Warren (1984)



Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton
(1985) Paul Jesson (1986) Michael Bryant (1987) Eileen Atkins (1988) Michael Bryant (1989/1990)



David Bradley (1991) Oleg Menshikov
Oleg Menshikov
(1992) Julian Glover
Julian Glover
(1993) Joseph Mydell (1994) Ken Stott
Ken Stott


Sara Crowe (1991) Frances de la Tour (1992) Barbara Leigh-Hunt (1993) Helen Burns (1994) Dora Bryan
Dora Bryan



Trevor Eve
Trevor Eve
(1997) Roger Allam
Roger Allam
(2000) Ben Daniels (2001) Toby Jones
Toby Jones


Deborah Findlay (1997) Patricia Hodge (2000) Essie Davis (2001) Marcia Warren (2002)


Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(1996) Sarah Woodward (1998) Brendan Coyle (1999)



Essie Davis (2003) Warren Mitchell
Warren Mitchell
(2004) Amanda Harris (2005) Noma Dumezweni (2006) Jim Norton (2007) Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2008) Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart



Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne
(2010) Adrian Scarborough (2011) Richard McCabe (2013) Jack Lowden
Jack Lowden
(2014) Nathaniel Parker
Nathaniel Parker
(2015) Mark Gatiss
Mark Gatiss
(2016) Anthony Boyle
Anthony Boyle


Ruth Wilson
Ruth Wilson
(2010) Michelle Terry (2011) Nicola Walker (2013) Sharon D. Clarke (2014) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(2015) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2016) Noma Dumezweni (2017)


Sheridan Smith
Sheridan Smith

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42028444 LCCN: n80057647 ISNI: 0000 0000 7824 7135 SUDOC: 132528762 BNF: cb139302458 (data) MusicBrainz: 5886af4b-9e7d-45d6-a545-6693ef712a91 BN


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