|Born||Kathleen Mary Margaret Bryant
8 March 1897
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Died||1 January 1988
Heald Green, Cheshire, England
Early life and career
The daughter of general practitioner Dr. William Arthur Bryant, Bryant moved to London with her parents on completing her education. There, she became interested in the theatre, and appeared in the chorus lines of various productions before moving on to musical comedies.
She also appeared in a number of films, such as Stop Flirting with Fred Astaire, Cure for Love and Beat Girl with Oliver Reed in 1960. She also appeared in a West End role, as Lucy in Gay's the Word at the Old Saville. Bryant also toured in My Mother Said and later appeared in the show's television production. She also appeared in The Bell Family and in films I Get Myself Arrested and The Large Rope.
Bryant's most notable television role came later in life, playing timid Minnie Caldwell on the soap opera Coronation Street, a role she occupied from 1960 to 1976 over the course of 990 episodes. The character's life tended to revolve around her ginger tom-cat, Bobby. Minnie Caldwell was a diminutive figure, with a distracted manner and often appeared drinking milk stout in the snug of the soap's public house the Rover's Return. The character, consequently, was a put-upon companion of her two friends Martha Longhurst (played by Lynne Carol) and Ena Sharples (played by Violet Carson). Bryant suffered severe memory loss - amnesia in March 1976, and was unable to continue in the role; her penultimate episode involved her reading her lines off prompts and on props such as her handbag and her final episode was broadcast in April 1976, her on-screen absence was explained by mentioning that her character had moved to live with an old friend, Handel Gartside (played by Harry Markham) in Derbyshire.
Bryant was a dedicated performer, always insisting on high standards of professionalism and good manners. She was later distressed by her declining ability to learn her lines as her health deteriorated.
Ultimately Bryant was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was admitted to Cheadle Royal Hospital, Heald Green, Cheshire where she remained as an in-patient until her death on New Year's Day 1988 at the age of 90, 2 months before her 91st birthday. She never married and never had any children. However she was close friends with fellow Coronation Street actress Eileen Derbyshire.
- The Daily Telegraph - Obituaries (5 January 1988)