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Mona Washbourne Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Nov 27, 1903
  • Died: Nov 15, 1988

Mona Washbourne was trained as a concert pianist at the Birmingham School of Music. After performing in the "Modern Follies Concert Party" of 1924, she found acting, singing and clowning more to her liking. She launched her musical-comedy career in the touring musical revue Fol De Rols, remaining in this line of work until switching to straight dramatic acting in the 1937 West End production of Mourning Becomes Electra. In 1948, Washbourne inaugurated her film career, contributing sparkling characterizations to such films as Doctor in the House (1954), The Good Companions (1957), Billy Liar (1963) and My Fair Lady (1964, as Henry Higgins's housekeeper Mrs. Pearce). She played her patented dithering, doddering mannerisms opposite two humorless "psychos" in the space of a single year when she appeared in Night Must Fall (1964) and The Collector (1965). She went on to essay several distinct characterizations in O Lucky Man (1973), and to win the British Film Academy Award for her portrayal of the "lion mother" in Stevie (1978). Having appeared in experimental television broadcasts as early as 1929, Mona Washbourne returned to the small screen to close out her career as Nanny Hawkins in Brideshead Revisited (1982). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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