Elizabeth Joan Winch (14 August 1930 – 6 September 2018), known professionally as Liz Fraser, was an English actress, best known for her comedy roles as a provocative "dumb blonde" in British films.
Fraser in 2015
Elizabeth Joan Winch
14 August 1930
|Died||6 September 2018 88) (aged|
|Alma mater||Goldsmiths College|
London School of Dramatic Art
|Years active||1955–2007, 2018|
(m. 1958; divorced 1960s)
(m. 1965; his death 1974)
Fraser was born in Southwark, London. 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. 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.
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.
Her first film appearance was in Touch and Go (1955), using her birth name, and The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) in which she worked with Peter Sellers for the first time. 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. 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.
Her other film appearances include Two-Way Stretch (1960), again with Sellers, The Bulldog Breed (1960), Double Bunk (1961) The Painted Smile (1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Family Way (1966), Dad's Army (1971), and a string of sex comedies: Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976), Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Adventures of a Private Eye (1977) and Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse (1978).
Fraser was also known for her many appearances in British television series, including Hancock's Half Hour, and the Avengers episode "The Girl from Auntie". 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.
She played Mrs Brent, the mother of a missing girl, in the television production of Agatha Christie's Nemesis, starring Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, in 1987. 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.
Personal life and death
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, 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. Hitchcock died from a pulmonary embolism in February 1974, at the age of 45. Fraser was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978 and 1979, undergoing a lumpectomy the first time and having reconstructive surgery at the Marsden in 1979.
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. She was also an enthusiastic and talented poker and bridge player.
She died on 6 September 2018 at Royal Brompton Hospital as a result of complications following an operation.
- Sixpenny Corner (1955) – Julie Perkins
- Hancock's Half Hour (1956) – Muriel / Woman on restaurant counter / Girl in cafe / Various Characters
- Citizen James (1960–1962) – Liz
- The Avengers: "The Girl from AUNTIE" (1966) – Georgie Price-Jones
- Mickey Dunne (1967) – Maisie
- Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969): "It's Supposed to be Thicker than Water" – Fay Crackan
- The Goodies: "Caught in the Act" (1970)
- Turnbull's Finest Half-Hour (1972) – Faye Bush
- The Professionals: "Backtrack" (1979) – Margery Harper
- 3-2-1: "Medicine" (1979) – Herself
- Shroud For A Nightingale (1984) – Sister Mavis Gearing
- Fairly Secret Army (1984–1986) – Doris Entwhistle
- Miss Marple (1987) – Mrs. Brent
- Birds of a Feather: "Just Family" (1991) – Olive Stubbs
- Minder: "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Retiring" (1993) – Delilah
- Last of the Summer Wine (2000) – Reggie Unsworth
- Doctors (2006) – Beryl Gifford
- Foyle's War (2007) – Mollie Summersgill
- Holby City (2007) – Tabitha Blackstock
- Midsomer Murders: "Till Death Do Us Part" (2018) – Marcia Jackson
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- Liz Fraser...and other characters, Liz Fraser, p. 9
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- Liz Fraser ... and Other Characters, p. 21
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- Mayer, Geoff (1 January 2003). Guide to British Cinema. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313303074.
- Webber, Richard (31 March 2011). Fifty Years Of Carry On. Random House. ISBN 9781446409961.
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- Variety's Film Reviews: 1959–1963. Bowker. 1 May 1989. ISBN 9780835227896.
- Reid, John Howard (1 March 2006). America's Best, Britain's Finest: A Survey of Mixed Movies. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781411678774.
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- Blum, Daniel (1 June 1966). Daniel Blum's Screen World 1965. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. ISBN 9780819603067.
- Willis, John (1 June 1983). Screen World 1968. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. ISBN 9780819603098.
- 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.
- Weiner, David J. (1 April 1991). Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever, 1992. Thomson Gale. ISBN 9780810394049.
- "Liz Fraser filmography". locatetv.com. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Webber, Richard (31 January 2011). Fifty Years Of Hancock's Half Hour. Random House. ISBN 9781446409985.
- "The Avengers Forever: The Girl From Auntie". theavengers.tv. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
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- Matthews, Dave. "The Professionals details". mark-1.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Last of the Summer Wine | Series 21 – 7. Just a Small Funeral | Radio Times". RadioTimes. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
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- "Holby City | Series 9 – 32. The Human Jungle | Radio Times". RadioTimes. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Dear Mother.... ....Love Albert – Albert! – If He'd Meant Us To Fly – British Comedy Guide". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Turnbull's Finest Half Hour-Part 3 (1972)". BFI. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- BBC Radio 4 That Reminds Me 16 September 2003
- "Liz Fraser profile". LondonRepertoryCompany.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Simon Sheridan Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema, Titan Books (2011, 4th edition); ISBN 9780857682796