Brenda Bruce

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Brenda Bruce
Born (1918-07-07)7 July 1918
Manchester, England, UK
Died 19 February 1996(1996-02-19) (aged 77)
London, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Roy Rich
Clement McCallin
Children 1 son

Brenda Bruce (7 July 1918 – 19 February 1996) was a British actress. She had a long and successful career in the theatre, radio, film and television.

Early life[edit]

Brenda Bruce was born in Manchester; she started her acting career as a teenager on stage as a chorus girl.

Acting career[edit]

She was with the Birmingham Repertory Company (1936–39) and a long-time actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). She was the RSC's resident Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, playing the role in 1964, 1968, 1975 and 1995. She also appeared as Irma in the RSC's production of Jean Genet's The Balcony in 1971.

In the 1950s she appeared on television in many dramas, and in a chat show Rich and Rich with her husband. She starred as Winnie in the 1962 British premiere of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, and in 1977 as Lucilla Edith Cavell Teatime in Murder Most English.

Brenda Bruce played P.G. Wodehouse's character Aunt Dahlia in the 1990s production of Jeeves and Wooster with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Other roles include Tilda in the Doctor Who story "Paradise Towers", Bea in the rag trade drama Connie and in The Riff Raff Element. In 1964, she also had the important role of Mary Lewis in Nightmare. In 1994, she starred in Honey for Tea, a short-lived sitcom.

Personal life[edit]

She was married twice, to television personality Roy Rich and to actor Clement McCallin. She had a son who died in childhood of asthma.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

She died in London, 19 February 1996, aged 77, of undisclosed causes.

Awards[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Stage
Year Play Role Notes
1962 Happy Days Winnie Royal Court Theatre
Woman in a Dressing Gown The Vaudeville Theatre
1967 Little Murders Aldwych Theatre
1970 The Balcony Irma Aldwych Theatre
1980 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Radio[edit]

Radio
Year Play Role Notes
1965 Host Planet Earth Clare Stewart BBC Light Programme
1977 Cry God for Harry! Doll Tearsheet BBC Radio 4
1983 When the Wind Blows Hilda BBC Radio 4
1983 A Mad World, My Masters Courtesan's Mother BBC Radio 3
1986 Too Long an Autumn Maisie May BBC Radio 4
1992 The Boy with the Cart Mother BBC Radio 4
1993 A Perfect Spy Miss Dubber BBC Radio 4

TV and filmography[edit]

Film & Television
Year Title Role Notes
1938 Laugh with Me Rose Dinwiddy
The Wooing of Anne Hathaway Katharine Hathaway
1943 Millions Like Us Brenda
1945 They Came to a City One of couple on hillside
I Live in Grosvenor Square Girl in Guard's Van
1946 Night Boat to Dublin Lily Leggett
Piccadilly Incident Sally Benton
I See a Dark Stranger American Waitress
Carnival Maudie Chapman
1947 While the Sun Shines Mabel Crum
When the Bough Breaks Ruby Chapman
1948 My Brother's Keeper Winnie Foreman
1949 Marry Me! Brenda Delamere
Don't Ever Leave Me Miss Smith
1951 Two on the Tiles Janet Lawson
1953 The Final Test Cora
The Motorola Television Hour "Westward the Sun"
1954 Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents Emily "Man Who Heard Everything"
1958 Behind the Mask Elizabeth Fallon
Law and Disorder Mary
"Mary Britten, M.D. Mary Britten
1960 Peeping Tom Dora
1961 Sunday Night Theatre May Sommers "Nearer to Heaven"
Sunday Night Theatre Elaine "The Wrong Side of the Park"
1962 Armchair Theatre "Girl in a Bird Cage"
ITV Play of the Week Millie Crocker Harris "A Lily in Little India"
Zero One Sarah Elkinson "Stoneface"
The Winter's Tale Paulina
Sunday Night Theatre Ethel Gibbons "This Happy Breed"
1963 Armchair Theatre "The Monkey and the Mohawk"
Dr. Finlay's Casebook Bridie Bell "The Face Saver"
1964 Nightmare Mary Lewis
1965 The Uncle Addie Morton
Armchair Theatre Ellen "The Lodger"
Thirty-Minute Theatre Pat Pendleton "Give the Clown His Supper"
1966 The Wednesday Play Betty Bradshaw "Way Off Beat"
ITV Play of the Week Millie Crocker Harris "The Browning Version"
Knock on Any Door "The First Day of Spring"
Knock on Any Door "The Dear Ones"
1967 The Girl Miss Cashcart
The Wednesday Play Mollie "Death of a Teddy Bear"
Softly, Softly Hilda Berry "An Eye for an Eye"
1968 Sherlock Holmes (1965 TV series) Saunders "The Dancing Men"
Late Night Horror Mary Pearl "William and Mary"
The First Lady Mary Tunnicliffe "Mrs. Whatever"
The Gamblers Gertie "Give and Take"
1969 The Virgin Soldiers Nursing Sister
The Wednesday Play Ma "Happy"
1971 A Family at War Mrs Thomas "Happy Returns"
Budgie Janey Baib "Sunset Mansions or Whatever Happened to Janey Baib?"
1972 Country Matters Mrs Holland "The Mill"
Thirty-Minute Theatre The Wife "Not Counting the Savages"
The Man from Haven Mary Balfour
1973 Cheri Charlotte
That'll Be the Day Doreen
Play for Today Madge "Jingle Bells"
1974 Bedtime Stories Gertie "Hansel and Gretel"
Dial M for Murder (TV series) Kath "Recording Angel"
Alice Through the Looking Glass The White Queen
Swallows and Amazons Mrs Dixon
1975 All Creatures Great and Small Miss Harbottle
1976 Ubu roi Ma Ubu
Crown Court Angela Stacey "A Matter of Honour"
1977 Murder Most English Lucy Teatime
Centre Play Auntie Kathleen "Auntie Kathleen's Old Clothes"
The Man in the Iron Mask Queen Anne of Austria
1978 Armchair Thriller Sister Elizabeth "Quiet as a Nun"
The Devil's Crown Matilda
Play for Today Mrs Hackett "A Touch of the Tiny Hacketts"
Play of the Month Lady Bountiful "The Beaux' Stratagem"
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Aunt Miranda
1979 BBC Television Shakespeare Mistress Quickly "The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, with the life and death of Henry surnamed Hotspur"
BBC Television Shakespeare Mistress Quickly "The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, including his death and the coronation of King Henry the Fift"
1983 The Mad Death Miss Stonecroft three-part BBC television serial
The Home Front Mrs Place
BBC Television Shakespeare First Witch "Macbeth"
Farmers Arms Mrs Casson
1984 Weekend Playhouse Margaret "Winter Break"
Crown Court Angela Stacey "Oddball"
1985 Connie Bea
Steaming Mrs Meadows
1986 Screen Two June Swift "Time After Time"
David Copperfield Betsey Trotwood
1987 Doctor Who Tilda "Paradise Towers"
The Secret World of Polly Flint Granny Porter
London Embassy Madge Cowrie "Tomb with a View"
1988 The Tenth Man Madame Mangeot
Little Dorrit Duchess
Worlds Beyond "Home"
Menace Unseen Norma Trisk
The Return of the Antelope Mrs Henshaw "Travelling Companions"
1990 Jeeves and Wooster Aunt Dahlia Travers "The Hunger Strike", "Brinkley Manor"
Bergerac Karen Markham "In Love And War"
Back Home Lady Beatrice Langley
Theatre Night Old Woman "Bingo: Scenes of Money and Death"
Screen Two June Swift "Circles of Deceit"
1991 The New Statesman Beryl "Keeping Mum"
Lovejoy Mrs Jaglom "Bin Diving"
December Bride Martha Gilmartin
Antonia and Jane Therapist
4 Play Sarah "Finding Sarah"
1992 Growing Rich Mrs Baker
Goodbye Cruel World Marjory
Harnessing Peacocks Amy Tremayne
1993 Splitting Heirs Mrs Bullock
Riders Granny Maxwell
The Riff Raff Element Granny Grogan
CASUAL+Y Carrie Springett "The Final Word"
1994 Men of the World Mrs Daff
Honey for Tea Mary Harris
1995 Performance Grandmother "The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd"
1996 The Vet Kath Paley "Stormy Weather"

External links[edit]