Liz Fraser

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Liz Fraser
Julian Dutton with actress Liz Fraser August 2015 (cropped).JPG
Fraser in 2015
Born Elizabeth Joan Winch
(1930-08-14)14 August 1930
Southwark, London, England
Died 6 September 2018(2018-09-06) (aged 88)
London, England
Alma mater Goldsmiths College
London School of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actress
Years active 1955–2007, 2018
Spouse(s) Peter Yonwin
(m. 1958; divorced 1960s)
Bill Hitchcock
(m. 1965; his death 1974)

Elizabeth Joan Winch (14 August 1930 – 6 September 2018),[1][2] known professionally as Liz Fraser, was an English actress, best known for her comedy roles as a provocative "dumb blonde" in British films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Early life[edit]

Fraser was born in Southwark, London.[3] Her year of birth was usually cited as 1933, which she gave when auditioning for her role in I'm All Right Jack, because the Boulting Brothers wanted someone younger for the part. In fact she was three years older, as she confirmed in her autobiography, Liz Fraser ... and Other Characters, published by Signum Books in 2012.[4] Her father was a travelling salesman for a brewery and her mother owned a shop just off the New Kent Road. Their family life was disrupted by the Second World War, when she was evacuated, initially to Westerham in Kent and then, when that was deemed still too vulnerable to bombing, to Chudleigh, a village in Devon. Her father died in May 1942, aged 40, when she was 11.[5]

She went to St Saviour's and St Olave's Grammar School for Girls between the ages of 13 and 17. She then attended evening courses at Goldsmiths College, where she joined a drama group, and the City of London College for Commerce, Book-Keeping, Shorthand and Typing, and won an evening scholarship to the London School of Dramatic Art.[6]

Career[edit]

Her first film appearance was in Touch and Go (1955), using her birth name,[7] and The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) in which she worked with Peter Sellers for the first time.[8] Her breakthrough role was as the daughter of Sellers' character in I'm All Right Jack (1959), for which she received a BAFTA nomination as Most Promising Newcomer.[9] She was in several of the early Carry On films: Carry On Regardless (1961), Carry On Cruising (1962), and Carry On Cabby (1963), but was sacked by producer Peter Rogers after casually saying the series could be better marketed. She re-appeared in the series in Carry On Behind (1975), her salary apparently half of what it had been before.[7][10]

Her other film appearances include Two-Way Stretch (1960), again with Sellers,[11] The Bulldog Breed (1960),[12] Double Bunk (1961)[13] The Painted Smile (1962),[14] The Americanization of Emily (1964),[15] The Family Way (1966),[16] Dad's Army (1971),[17] and a string of sex comedies: Adventures of a Taxi Driver[18] (1976), Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Adventures of a Private Eye (1977) and Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse[19] (1978).

Fraser was also known for her many appearances in British television series, including Hancock's Half Hour,[20] and the Avengers episode "The Girl from Auntie".[21] As Elizabeth Fraser, over a period of nearly six months, she appeared in numerous editions of the Associated-Rediffusion soap opera Sixpenny Corner (1955–56). She appeared on Benny Hill's late-1950s TV shows, and in a single sketch in the 23 December 1970 episode of his Thames TV series. This episode was in black and white (owing to the "Colour Strike" by ITV technicians, who wanted to be paid extra for working with the then-new colour TV technology), and hence the sketch was not included in any of the half-hour syndicated episodes of The Benny Hill Show. However, it is included in the Volume 1 box set of the complete Benny Hill Show, issued by A&E and Fremantle.[citation needed]

She played Mrs Brent, a dead/missing girl's mother, in Nemesis, one of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple episodes for the BBC in 1987.[22] Another role was in the "Backtrack" episode of the British police series The Professionals, as Margery Harper ("Marge"), a glamorous woman who fenced stolen property in her shop.[23]

Her other television work included Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Crown Court, Citizen James, Last of the Summer Wine,[24] The Bill, Foyle's War, Birds of a Feather, Minder[25] and Holby City.[26]

Personal life and death[edit]

Fraser married Peter Yonwin, a travelling salesman, in November 1958, but the marriage soon broke down and they were divorced. She married her second husband, Bill Hitchcock, a TV director, in January 1965 at Harrow Register Office. They agreed not to work together, but this changed in 1972 when she appeared in the Rodney Bewes sitcom Albert!, which Hitchcock co-directed,[27] and again later in the same year, when she acted in Turnbull's Finest Half-Hour, a comedy series starring Michael Bates and produced by Hitchcock.[28] Hitchcock died from a pulmonary embolism in February 1974, at the age of 45.

Fraser had a half-brother, Philip, 11 years older, the son of her mother from a previous marriage. She supported various charities and was a patron of the London Repertory Company.[29]

She died on 6 September 2018 at Royal Brompton Hospital as a result of complications following an operation.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1955 Touch and Go Girl on the Bridge (As Elizabeth Winch)
1957 The Smallest Show on Earth Girl in Cinema (uncredited)
1958 Davy Waitress
1958 Dunkirk Worker in Holden's Factory (uncredited)
1958 Wonderful Things! (uncredited)
1959 Top Floor Girl Mabel
1959 Alive and Kicking
1959 I'm All Right Jack Cynthia Kite
1959 Desert Mice Edie
1959 The Night We Dropped a Clanger Lulu
1960 Two-Way Stretch Ethel
1960 Doctor in Love Leonora
1960 The Bulldog Breed NAAFI Girl
1960 The Pure Hell of St Trinian's Constable Susan Partridge
1961 The Night We Got the Bird Fay Sellars
1961 Fury at Smugglers' Bay Betty
1961 The Rebel Waitress
1961 Carry On Regardless Delia King
1961 Double Bunk Sandra
1961 Watch it, Sailor! Daphne Pink
1961 Raising the Wind Miranda Kennaway
1961 On the Fiddle Girl with Daisies (uncredited)
1962 A Pair of Briefs Gloria Hoskins
1962 Carry On Cruising Gladys Trimble
1962 The Painted Smile Jo Lake
1962 Live Now, Pay Later Joyce Corby
1962 The Amorous Prawn Pvt. Suzie Tidmarsh
1963 Carry On Cabby Sally
1965 Every Day's a Holiday Miss Slightly
1965 The Americanization of Emily Sheila
1966 The Family Way Molly Thompson
1968 Up the Junction Mrs. McCarthy
1971 Dad's Army Mrs. Pike
1972 Hide and Seek Audrey Lawson
1975 Three for All Airport Passenger
1975 Carry On Behind Sylvia Ramsden
1976 Adventures of a Taxi Driver Maisie
1976 Confessions of a Driving Instructor Mrs. Chalmers
1976 Under the Doctor Sandra
1977 Adventures of a Private Eye Violet
1977 Confessions from a Holiday Camp Mrs. Whitemonk
1978 Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse Mrs. Dixon
1980 The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle Woman in Cinema
1990 Chicago Joe and the Showgirl Mrs. Evans

Television appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Liz Fraser, British Star of Comedy Film Series 'Carry On,' Dies at 88". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  2. ^ "FreeBMD Entry Info". freebmd.org.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  3. ^ Liz Fraser...and other characters, Liz Fraser, p. 9
  4. ^ "Liz Fraser… And Other Characters". SIGNUM BOOKS. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  5. ^ Liz Fraser ... and Other Characters, p. 21
  6. ^ "An Evening with Liz Fraser NEW EVENT " The Cinema Museum, London". CinemaMuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Liz Fraser, big-hearted blonde actress in Carry On films – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  8. ^ "The Smallest Show On Earth – British Comedy Films". comicbrits.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  9. ^ Mayer, Geoff (1 January 2003). Guide to British Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313303074.
  10. ^ Webber, Richard (31 March 2011). Fifty Years Of Carry On. Random House. ISBN 9781446409961.
  11. ^ a b "Liz Fraser: Carry On actress dies at 88". BBC News. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  12. ^ Variety's Film Reviews: 1959–1963. Bowker. 1 May 1989. ISBN 9780835227896.
  13. ^ Reid, John Howard (1 March 2006). America's Best, Britain's Finest: A Survey of Mixed Movies. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781411678774.
  14. ^ Keaney, Michael F. (5 March 2008). British Film Noir Guide. McFarland. ISBN 9780786464272.
  15. ^ Blum, Daniel (1 June 1966). Daniel Blum's Screen World 1965. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. ISBN 9780819603067.
  16. ^ Willis, John (1 June 1983). Screen World 1968. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. ISBN 9780819603098.
  17. ^ McCaighey, Mark (3 March 2015). The Dad's Army Movie Dossier: The Making of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's Classic Film. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 9781785381423.
  18. ^ Weiner, David J. (1991-04-01). Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever, 1992. Thomson Gale. ISBN 9780810394049.
  19. ^ "Liz Fraser filmography". locatetv.com. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  20. ^ Webber, Richard (31 January 2011). Fifty Years Of Hancock's Half Hour. Random House. ISBN 9781446409985.
  21. ^ "The Avengers Forever: The Girl From Auntie". theavengers.tv. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  22. ^ "Ciaran Brown meets actress Liz Fraser". ciaranbrown.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  23. ^ Matthews, Dave. "The Professionals details". mark-1.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Last of the Summer Wine | Series 21 – 7. Just a Small Funeral | Radio Times". RadioTimes. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  25. ^ TV.com. "Liz Fraser profile". TV.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Holby City | Series 9 – 32. The Human Jungle | Radio Times". RadioTimes. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Dear Mother.... ....Love Albert – Albert! – If He'd Meant Us To Fly – British Comedy Guide". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Turnbull's Finest Half Hour-Part 3 (1972)". BFI. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Liz Fraser profile". LondonRepertoryCompany.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.

Sources[edit]

  • Simon Sheridan Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema, Titan Books (2011, 4th edition); ISBN 9780857682796

External links[edit]