Elsa Lanchester

Active - 1927 - 1980  |   Born - Oct 28, 1902   |   Died - Dec 26, 1986   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Musical

Share on

Biography by Rovi

Eccentric, high-voiced British comedienne/actress Elsa Lanchester started her career as a modern dancer, appearing with Isadora Duncan. Lanchester can be seen bringing unique and usually humorous interpretations to roles in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), opposite husband Charles Laughton; The Bride of Frankenstein (1934), where she appears both as a subdued Mary Shelley and a hissing bride; David Copperfield and Naughty Marietta (both 1935); Tales of Manhattan (1942) and Forever and a Day (1943), both with Laughton; Lassie Come Home (1943), in which she is unusually subdued as the mother; The Bishop's Wife (1947); The Inspector General and The Secret Garden (1949); and Come to the Stable (1949), for which she was nominated for an Oscar. She and Laughton are riotous together in Witness for the Prosecution (1957), for which she was also Oscar-nominated, and she also appeared in Bell, Book and Candle (1958) and the Disney films Mary Poppins (1964), as the departing nanny Katie Nanna, and in That Darn Cat (1965). One of her best late performances was in Murder by Death (1976). Lanchester was also an actress at London's Old Vic, an outlandish singer, and a nightclub performer; she co-starred on The John Forsythe Show (1965-66), and was a regular on Nanny and the Professor in 1971.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography