Wednesday, October 28, 2009
REMEMBERING ELSA LANCHESTER
The Bride of Frankenstein.
As a child in England she studied dance with Isadora Duncan, and at the age of 12 taught dance to neighborhood children! Consumed by performing, she worked non-stop, rising and being noticed until she landed a role in a play called Mr. Prohack, in 1927. In that production, she met her future husband, another young rising star of the British stage, Charles Laughton.
After they were married, they often worked together on stage and in film, even appearing as Peter Pan and Captain Hook, respectively, in the popular J.M. Barrie play Peter Pan, at the London Palladium, the year after The Bride of Frankenstein was released.
Her early film work included work in early talkies with other rising stars like Laurence Olivier, and H.G. Wells even wrote some scripts for her in early silents made in 1928.
Elsa Lanchester crafted a stellar career creating memorable characters, and worked steadily until 1980. She did a number of turns in Disney films, including "Katie Nanna" in Mary Poppins (1964) and the delightfully funny "Jessica Marbles" in Murder By Death (1976).
Charles Laughton passed away in 1962, and Lanchester continued working in Hollywood until her death in 1986.
British author M.J. Simpson is currently working on an exhaustive biography.
(Original image "True Love", acrylic on canvas, and text copyright Mark Redfield.)