Obituary: Liz Fraser

 Liz Fraser Obituary

 Liz Fraser ….The Provocative ‘Dumb Blonde’ of British films Dies 88 

Liz Fraser (born Elizabeth Joan Winch; 14 August 1930 – 6 September 2018) was an English actress, best known for her comedy roles as a provocative “dumb blonde” in British films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Fraser was born in Southwark, London. Her year of birth was usually attributed as 1933, which she gave when auditioning for her role in I’m All Right Jack. This was because the Boulting Brothers wanted someone younger for the part. Fraser’s true age was three years older. This was confirmed in her autobiography, Liz Fraser … and Other Characters, published by Signum Books in 2012. Her father was a travelling salesman for a brewery. Liz’s mother owned a shop near the New Kent Road. Family life was disrupted by the Second World War when she was evacuated. Initially it was to Westerham in Kent. However then, when that was deemed still too vulnerable to the bombs, to Chudleigh, a village in Devon. Her father died in May 1942, aged 40, when she was 11.

St Olave’s Grammar School

She attended St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Grammar School for Girls between the ages of 13 and 17. Also attending Goldsmiths College in the evenings, where she had joined a drama group. On leaving school she attended the City of London College for Commerce, Book-Keeping, Shorthand and Typing.   Proudly she won evening scholarship to the London School of Dramatic Art.

Her first films were Touch and Go (1955) using her birth name and The Smallest Show on Earth (1957). Working with Peter Sellers for the first time. Further film appearances include 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). However she 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

Other Films

Her other film appearances include Two-Way Stretch (1960), The Bulldog Breed (1960),

Double Bunk (1961) The Painted Smile (1962). The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Family Way (1966), Dad’s Army (1971), the 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 known for her many appearances in British films and television series.These included 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. Also in a single sketch in the 23 December 1970 episode of his Thames TV series. As this episode was in black & white (due to the “Colour Strike” by ITV technicians. They wanted to be paid extra for working with the then-new colour TV technology). 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

Crime Series

She played Mrs Brent, a dead/missing girl’s mother, in Nemesis – one of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple episodes for the BBC in 1987. Fraser performed in the British police series The Professionals, episode “Backtrack”, first broadcast in 1979 as Margery Harper (Marge) a glamorous lady who fenced stolen property in her shop.

Her other television work included Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)Crown CourtCitizen JamesLast of the Summer Wine The BillFoyle’s WarBirds of a FeatherMinder and Holby City.

Personal Life

She married Peter Yonwin, a travelling salesman, in November 1958 but the marriage soon broke down and they divorced. Her second marriage was to   Bill Hitchcock, a TV director, in January 1965 at Harrow Register Office. At that time, they agreed not to work together. 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. This was 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 had a half-brother, Philip, 11 years older, the son of her mother from a previous marriage. Liz supported various charities and was a patron of the London Repertory Company.

She died on 6 September 2018, in the Brompton Hospital, London.

Source: Source Wiki