Brenda Bruce

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Brenda Bruce
Actor Brenda Bruce.jpg
Born7 July 1919 (some sources cite 17 July 1919)
Died19 February 1996(1996-02-19) (aged 76)
London, England, U.K.
OccupationActress
Spouse(s)Roy Rich (1946-1970; his death); two daughters (twins)
Clement McCallin (19??-1977; his death; couple adopted a son who died in 1994)

Brenda Bruce OBE (7 July 1919[1][2] – 19 February 1996) was a British actress.[3] She had a long and successful career in the theatre, radio, film and television.[4]

Career[edit]

Bruce was born in Prestwich, Lancashire in 1919, and started her acting career as a teenager on stage as a chorus girl.[5] She appeared with the Birmingham Repertory Company (1936–39) and a long-time actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).[4] She was the RSC's resident Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, playing the role in 1964, 1968, 1975 and 1995.[6] She appeared as Irma in the RSC's production of Jean Genet's The Balcony in 1971.[7] In the 1950s she appeared on television in many dramas, and in a chat show Rich and Rich with her husband.[5] She starred as Winnie in the 1962 British premiere of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days,[8] and in 1977 as Lucilla Edith Cavell Teatime in Murder Most English.[9]

Bruce played Aunt Dahlia in the 1990s production of Jeeves and Wooster with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.[10] Other roles include Tilda in the Doctor Who story "Paradise Towers",[11] Bea in the rag trade drama Connie[12] and in The Riff Raff Element.[13] In 1964, she played Mary Lewis in Nightmare.[14] In 1994, she starred in Honey for Tea, a short-lived sitcom.[15]

Personal life[edit]

She was married and widowed twice, first to television personality Roy Rich, with whom she had two daughters, and second to actor Clement McCallin, with whom she adopted a son. McCallin died in 1977, and her son died in 1994.[4]

Death[edit]

She died in London on 19 February 1996 from undisclosed causes, aged 76. She was survived by her two daughters.[4]

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 TV Movie
The Wooing of Anne Hathaway Katharine Hathaway TV Movie
1943 Millions Like Us Brenda Uncredited
1944 They Came to a City One of couple on hillside
1945 I Live in Grosvenor Square 1st Girl in Guard's Van
1946 Night Boat to Dublin Lily Leggett
I See a Dark Stranger American Waitress Uncredited
Piccadilly Incident Sally Benton
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 Presents Emily "Man Who Heard Everything"
1958 Law and Disorder Mary Cooper
Behind the Mask Elizabeth Fallon
"Mary Britten, M.D. Mary Britten 13 episodes
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 TV Movie
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 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 Uncredited
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 5 episodes
That'll Be the Day Doreen
Play for Today Madge "Jingle Bells"
1974 Bedtime Stories Gertie "Hansel and Gretel"
Dial M for Murder Kath "Recording Angel"
Alice Through the Looking Glass The White Queen TV Movie
Swallows and Amazons Mrs Dixon
1975 All Creatures Great and Small Miss Harbottle TV Movie
1976 Ubu roi Ma Ubu TV Movie
Crown Court Angela Stacey "A Matter of Honour"
1977 The Man in the Iron Mask Queen Anne of Austria TV Movie
Murder Most English Lucy Teatime 4 episodes
Centre Play Auntie Kathleen "Auntie Kathleen's Old Clothes"
1978 Armchair Thriller Sister Elizabeth "Quiet as a Nun"
The Devil's Crown Matilda 2 episodes
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 Fifth"
1983 The Mad Death Miss Stonecroft three-part BBC television serial
The Home Front Mrs Place 6 episodes
BBC Television Shakespeare First Witch "Macbeth"
Farmers Arms Mrs Casson TV Movie
1984 Weekend Playhouse Margaret "Winter Break"
Crown Court Angela Stacey "Oddball"
1985 Connie Bea 10 episodes
Steaming Mrs Meadows
1986 Screen Two June Swift "Time After Time"
David Copperfield Betsey Trotwood 7 episodes
1987 Doctor Who Tilda "Paradise Towers"
The Secret World of Polly Flint Granny Porter 3 episodes
London Embassy Madge Cowrie "Tomb with a View"
1988 The Tenth Man Madame Mangeot
Little Dorrit Duchess
Worlds Beyond "Home"
Menace Unseen Norma Trisk 3 episodes
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"
The Fool
Antonia and Jane Therapist
1991 December Bride Martha Gilmartin
Lovejoy Mrs Jaglom "Bin Diving"
The New Statesman Beryl "Keeping Mum"
4 Play Sarah "Finding Sarah"
1992 Goodbye Cruel World Marjory 3 episode
Growing Rich Mrs Baker 2 episode
1993 The Riff Raff Element Granny Grogan TV Movie
Splitting Heirs Mrs Bullock
Riders Granny Maxwell TV Movie
CASUAL+Y Carrie Springett "The Final Word"
Harnessing Peacocks Amy Tremayne TV Movie
1994 Men of the World Mrs Daff 3 episode
Honey for Tea Mary Harris 2 episodes
1995 Performance Grandmother "The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd"
1996 The Vet Kath Paley "Stormy Weather" (final appearance)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Year of birth given as 1919, findmypast.co.uk; accessed 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ Some sources cite 17 July 1919.
  3. ^ "Brenda Bruce". BFI. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Brenda Bruce". The Independent. 1996-02-22.
  5. ^ a b "Brenda Bruce movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Brenda Bruce". theatricalia.com.
  7. ^ Jean Genet. "Production of The Balcony". theatricalia.com.
  8. ^ Roberts, Philip (1999-11-25). The Royal Court Theatre and the Modern Stage. ISBN 9780521479622.
  9. ^ "DVD Verdict Review — Murder Most English". dvdverdict.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Jeeves And Wooster". comedy.co.uk.
  11. ^ Campbell, Mark (2011-03-24). Doctor Who. ISBN 9781849018869.
  12. ^ "Network ON AIR > Connie: The Complete Series". networkonair.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015.
  13. ^ "The Riff Raff Element". bbc.co.uk. 1993-03-25. p. 104.
  14. ^ Cotter, Robert Michael "Bobb" (2014-01-10). The Women of Hammer Horror. ISBN 9781476602011.
  15. ^ "Honey for Tea [01/5/94]". BFI.
  16. ^ "Society of Film and Television Arts Television Awards 1962". Answers.com.
  17. ^ "BAFTA Awards". bafta.org.

External links[edit]