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Moyra Fraser

Moyra Fraser, who died aged 86, was an actress and dancer who achieved success in theatre, entertainment and television.

The younger sister of actress Shelagh Fraser, she was born in Australia on December 3, 1923, but came to Britain with her family when she was still a small child.

She had a long and varied career in the theatre and in truth, she had three careers. She trained as a ballerina at Sadler’s Wells Ballet school and made her first appearance with the company in The Nutcracker in 1937, remaining with the company until 1945. After dancing with the Covent Garden Opera Company as Venus in The Olympians, she went on to star in several West End musicals, including Song of Norway (Palace, 1946) and Golden City (Adelphi, 1950).

Her second career was as a deliciously funny and stylish comedienne in a series of hit London intimate revues, including Penny Plain (St Martins, 1951), Airs on a Shoestring (Royal Court, 1953) and Fresh Airs (Comedy, 1956).

She then moved into straight theatre, where her many roles over the years included Mrs Squeamish in The Country Wife (Royal Court, 1956 and Adelphi, 1957), Audrey in As you Like It, Lady Froth in The Double Dealer and Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, all in the Old Vic season of 1959-60, with her lifelong friends Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Alec McCowen, Joss Ackland and John Moffatt. She also played Lady India in Ring Round the Moon (Haymarket, 1968), Lady Otteline Morrell in Bloomsbury (Phoenix, 1974) and in the eighties she played in the long-running No Sex Please, We’re British (Garrick Theatre) and with Joan Collins in The Last of Mrs Cheyney (Chichester Festival and Phoenix Theatre). She also created the role of Morgan Le Fay in the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1964), opposite Laurence Harvey.

She also toured overseas including South Africa and the Far and Middle East in On Approval, The Rivals and Bedroom Farce.

Her film work included a memorable Madame Dubonnet in Ken Russell’s version of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend and other notable big screen appearances included The VIPs with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.

She appeared regularly on television in plays and series, including The Good Life, Rodney Ackland’s Absolute Hell and from 1992 to 2005 she played Judi Dench’s sister-in-law in the hit BBC series As Time Goes By.

Her first marriage to Douglas Sutherland was dissolved and she then had a long and happy second marriage to Roger Lubbock, who died in 1999.

She died on December 13, aged 86, and is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

 

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