Doris Hare

Doris Breamer Hare, MBE (1 March 1905 – 30 May 2000) was a Welsh actress, singer, dancer and comedienne, active in New York and London, as well as Scotland, she is best known for being the second actress to portray Mrs Mabel, Ethel "Mum" Butler, usually called Ethel, in the popular sitcom On the Buses alongside Reg Varney.

Doris Hare
Doris Breamer Hare

(1905-03-01)1 March 1905
Died30 May 2000(2000-05-30) (aged 95)
Years activeCareer 1908–1993, film 1934-1993
Spouse(s)John Alexander Fraser Roberts (m. 1941 - 1973, divorced)
RelativesKate Hare (mother)
Bertie Hare (brother)
Betty Hare (sister)
Winifred Hare (sister)


Hare was born in Bargoed, Glamorgan. Her parents had a portable theatre in South Wales and it seemed inevitable that she would become a part of it, making her debut at the age of three in Current Cash and appearing in juvenile troupes all over Britain as a child, before going solo as 'Little Doris Hare', appearing in music hall, variety, cabaret, revues and pantomimes. One of five, her brother, Bertie Hare and her sisters Betty Hare and Winifred Hare Braemer were also actors and performers

In 1930, the actress toured in The Show's the Thing, taking the part made famous by Gracie Fields. In 1932 she appeared in the West End in Noël Coward's show Words and Music, alongside John Mills. In 1936 she made her Broadway debut in Night Must Fall. During the war she joined Evelyn Laye to put on a revue for the troops and compered Shipmate's Ashore on the BBC Forces Programme for the Merchant Navy, earning her the MBE in 1946.

In 1958, she created the role of Grannie Tooke in the original production of Sandy Wilson's musical version of Valmouth at the Lyric Hammersmith. She also performed on the recording of this production made by Pye Records in 1959, where she duetted with Cleo Laine, who was standing in for Bertice Reading. In 1982, when this musical was revived by John Dexter at Chichester Festival Theatre, Doris Hare, Bertice Reading, Fenella Fielding and Marcia Ashton all played the roles they had played in the original production.

In 1963 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1965 joined the National Theatre at the Old Vic. She acted in plays by Shakespeare, Shaw, Pinero, and Pinter.

Having turned down the role of Ena Sharples in Coronation Street in 1960, Hare did play Alice Pickens in the series during 1969. She was due to marry Albert Tatlock, but the wedding never took place.

That same year Hare came to national attention in the role of Mrs Butler in On the Buses, taking over the part from Cicely Courtneidge in the second series of the ITV comedy. The series ran until 1973 and spawned three spin-off films On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972) and Holiday on the Buses (1973) in which Hare recreated her small-screen role. The cast also performed a stage version of the popular series in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1988.

In 1974 Hare spent a year in the West End farce No Sex Please, We're British and made her final stage appearance, aged 87, at the London Palladium alongside John Mills in a tribute to Evelyn Laye.

Hare won a Variety Club of Great Britain Special Award for her contributions to show business in 1982. She died at Denville Hall the actors retirement home in Northwood, London in 2000, aged 95.


Year Title Role Notes
1935Night MailUncredited
1935Jubilee WindowUncredited
1935Opening Night
1938Luck of the NavyMrs. Maybridge
1939DiscoveriesBella Brown
1939She Couldn't Say NoAmelia Reeves
1948It's Hard to Be GoodMinor RoleUncredited
1948Here Come the HuggettsMrs. Fisher
1949The History of Mr. PollyMay Pant
1950Dance HallBlonde
1953Thought to KillAgnes
1954Double ExposureWPC
1955Tiger by the TailNurse Brady, hospital property clerk
1955No SmokingCustomer
1957Strangers' MeetingNellie
1958Another Time, Another PlaceMrs. Bunker
1960The League of GentlemenMolly Weaver
1964A Place to GoLil Flint
1969-1973On the BusesMabel "Mum" Butler67 episodes
1971On the Buses
1972Mutiny on the Buses
1973Holiday on the Buses
1975Confessions of a Pop PerformerMrs. Lea
1976Confessions of a Driving Instructor
1977Confessions from a Holiday Camp
1980Why Didn't They Ask Evans?Rose PrattTV movie
1986Never the Twain
1990Nuns on the RunSister Mary of the Sacred Heart
1994Second BestMrs. Hawkins(final film role)
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