Popular comic actress Dora Bryan dies aged 91
Bryan's many credits spanned classics on stage and screen
Much-loved screen and stage actress Dora Bryan has died aged 91.
Born in 1923, Bryan's first taste of acting came when she appeared in pantomime as a child in pre-war Manchester. She went on to become known for her comic roles in popular TV series including Absolutely Fabulous and Last of the Summer Wine.
But her first love was theatre, and she was acclaimed for her performances including Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit and the indomitable old lady in A Cream Cracker Under the Settee as part of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads.
She also enjoyed a long film career, which took in classics including A Taste of Honey, Carry On Sergeant, The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery and The Cockleshell Heroes.
In later life the actress lived in Brighton, where she owned a hotel with her husband Bill Lawton. An exhibition was held at Rottingdean Museum last year celebrating her career.
Her son Daniel Lawton, who was by his mother's bedside in Hove when she died, told The Argus: "It was heartbreaking but it was peaceful. She just left us. She was a tiny woman but her constitution was incredible.
"She loved being on stage, that's what she wanted. Not only did she do it, but she was good at it. She was a star, and a mum."
Tributes to Bryan have poured in on Twitter - here's a selection:
I met Dora Bryan backstage at Theatre Royal Brighton - she was hilarious within ten seconds— Jenny Eclair (@jennyeclair) July 23, 2014
So very sad to hear of the passing of my good friend Dora Bryan. She was wonderful.— Lionel Blair (@thelionelblair) July 23, 2014
Worked with Dora Bryan on "Ab Fab". Well into her 70's, she was continually doing the splits. Incredible. RIP Dora.x— James Dreyfus (real) (@DreyfusJames) July 23, 2014
Dora Bryan was so funny that a friend of mine once wet himself while watching her on Sunday Night at the London Palladium.— Robin Ince (@robinince) July 23, 2014