Beryl Reid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Beryl Reid

Beryl Reid Allan Warren.jpg
Reid in 1974
Beryl Elizabeth Reid

(1919-06-17)17 June 1919
Died13 October 1996(1996-10-13) (aged 77)
Years active1936–1994
Bill Worsley
(m. 1949; div. 1953)

Derek Franklin
(m. 1954; div. 1966)

Beryl Elizabeth Reid, OBE (17 June 1919 – 13 October 1996), was an English actress of stage and screen. She won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Killing of Sister George, the 1980 Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance for Born in the Gardens, and the 1982 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Smiley's People. Her film appearances included The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Assassination Bureau (1969), and No Sex Please, We're British (1973).

Early life[edit]

Born in Hereford in 1919,[1][2] Reid was the daughter of Scottish parents and grew up in Manchester, where she attended Withington and Levenshulme High Schools. As a child, she established a lifelong friendship with Nancy Wrigley, the daughter of the prominent classical soprano Isobel Baillie; years later, Reid fondly recalled how Baillie would "tell us the most wonderful can imagine nine-year old girls goggle-eyed at six princes serenading her in Hawaii!"[3]


Leaving school at 16, she made her debut in 1936 as a music hall performer at the Floral Hall, Bridlington. Before and during the Second World War, she took part in variety shows and pantomimes. She had no formal training but later worked at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her first big success came in the BBC radio show Educating Archie as naughty schoolgirl Monica and later as the Brummie, "Marlene."

Her many film and television roles as a character actor were usually well received. She reprised her Tony Award-winning performance of a lesbian soap opera star in The Killing of Sister George for the 1968 screen version and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Drama. The tour of the play was not a success; people in shops refused to serve her and other performers due to the gay characters in the play.[4]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1976 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in the car park of Thames Television's Teddington Studios.

In both Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) and Smiley's People, (1982) Reid played Connie Sachs. For Smiley's People she won a BAFTA for Best Actress on Television.

Between 1981 and 1983, Reid co-presented the Children's TV programme Get up and Go for Yorkshire Television, her co-presenter "Mooncat" being a green, talking, puppet cat. Stephen Boxer was her human co-star. After she left the show, it became titled simply Mooncat and Co.

Reid wrote an autobiography in 1984, So Much Love.[5]

She played the part of an elderly feminist and political subversive in the 1987 television drama, The Beiderbecke Tapes.

She appeared in many situation comedies and variety programmes on TV including BBC TV's long running music hall show, The Good Old Days.

Personal life and death[edit]

She married twice, but had no children.

An authorised biography, Roll Out the Beryl, was published by Fantom Films on 22 August 2016. Written by Kaye Crawford, it was the first biography to be written of the actress and coincided with the twentieth anniversary of her death.

Reid died at the age of 77 from severe osteoarthritis and kidney failure[1] (according to some obituaries, she had developed pneumonia)[6] at a hospital in Wexham, Buckinghamshire[1] on 13 October 1996, after complications following knee replacement surgery for arthritis.[6]


Year Film Role Notes
1940 Spare a Copper Minor Role Uncredited
1954 The Belles of St. Trinian's Miss Wilson
1956 The Extra Day Beryl
1960 Two-Way Stretch Miss Pringle
1962 The Dock Brief Doris Fowle
1968 Inspector Clouseau Mrs. Weaver
Star! Rose
The Killing of Sister George June 'George' Buckridge Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1969 The Assassination Bureau Madame Otero
1970 Entertaining Mr Sloane Kath
1971 The Beast in the Cellar Ellie Ballantyne
1972 Father, Dear Father Mrs. Stoppard
Dr. Phibes Rises Again Miss Ambrose, Harry's Cousin
1973 Psychomania Mrs. Latham
No Sex Please, We're British Bertha Hunter
1977 Joseph Andrews Mrs. Slipslop
1978 Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse Matron
Carry On Emmannuelle Mrs Valentine
1979 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Connie Sachs Episode "Smiley Tracks the Mole"
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1980 Rhubarb Rhubarb Home Owner's Wife Short
1981 Late Flowering Love Short, (segment "Invasion Exercise on the Poultry Farm")
Worzel Gummidge Sarah Pigswill Series 4 Episode 1 "Muvver's Day"
1982 Doctor Who Briggs "Earthshock": Episodes Two, Three, Four
Smiley's People Connie Sachs (Episode No. 1.3)
British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1983 Yellowbeard Lady Lambourn
The Wind in the Willows Ms. Carrington Moss TV movie, Voice
The Irish R.M. Mrs Knox of Aussolas Castle
1984 Minder Ruby Hubbard Series 5, Episode 4 "The Second Time Around"
1985 The Doctor and the Devils Mrs. Flynn
Bergerac Miss Broome Series 4, Episode 4 "Low Profile"
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole May Mole (5 episodes)
1987 The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole Grandma Mole (6 episodes)
The Beiderbecke Tapes Sylvia (1 episode)
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... Mrs. Moss (1 episode)


  1. ^ a b c Jonathan Cecil, "Reid, Beryl Elizabeth (1919–1996)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004 available online. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  2. ^ Hayward, Anthony (14 October 1996). "Beryl Reid: Obituary". The Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  3. ^ Never Sing Louder than Lovely, BBC Radio 4 FM, 26 February 1984
  4. ^ Daily Telegraph obituary, also featured in Chin Up Girls! (2005)
  5. ^ So Much Love, 1984, Hutchinson & Co Hardback, ISBN 0-09-155730-5
  6. ^ a b MEL GUSSOW (15 October 1996). "Beryl Reid, Actress, 76, Dies; Gave Life to Varied Eccentrics". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2012.

External links[edit]