Mona Washbourne

Mona Lee Washbourne (27 November 1903 – 15 November 1988) was an English actress of stage, film, and television.[1][2] Her most critically acclaimed role was in the film Stevie (1978), late in her career, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award.

Mona Washbourne
Mona Lee Washbourne

(1903-11-27)27 November 1903
Died15 November 1988(1988-11-15) (aged 84)
London, England
Years active1924–1984
Basil Dignam
(m. 1940; died 1979)

Early life

Mona Washbourne was born in Solihull, Warwickshire, and began her entertaining career training as a concert pianist.[3][4][5] Her sister Katherine Washbourne was a violinist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult.


Washbourne was performing professionally from the early 1920s.[4] She married the actor Basil Dignam.[4] Her brother-in-law Mark Dignam was also a stage and film actor.[6] In 1948, after numerous stage musical performances, Washbourne began appearing in films.[7] Her film credits include the horror movie The Brides of Dracula, Billy Liar (1963) and The Collector (1965).[8] She is probably best known to American audiences for her role as housekeeper Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady (1964). She also appeared as the stern and caustic Mrs. Bramson in the remake of Night Must Fall (also 1964), and the Matron in the film, If.... (1968).[2]

She appeared at both the Royal Court Theatre in London and on Broadway in 1970 in David Storey's Home.[9] She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.[10] In 1975 she appeared on the West End stage with James Stewart in a revival of Mary Chase's play Harvey, in the role originally taken by Josephine Hull.[11] Washbourne won the 1981 New York Film Critics' Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Stevie (1978).[12]

Later life

In 1981, Washbourne appeared in Granada Television's TV miniseries adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited as Nanny Hawkins.[13] One of her last television appearances was in Where's the Key? (1983),[14] a BBC play about Alzheimer's disease. She died in 1988, aged 84, in London.[1]

Selected filmography

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1971 25th Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play
1977 2nd Laurence Olivier Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1978 4th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress
1979 36th Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
32nd British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
1981 53rd National Board of Review Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
1982 16th National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2nd Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
47th New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Won


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