Web Page 2010
21st December 2013
A very Happy Christmas to you all from Pam and me.
Top Picture: Liz Fraser in typical pose in what she calls her Bra and Panites days
Middle Picture: Carry on regardless poster, this is Liz’s favourite Carry on film.
Bottom Picture: Liz Fraser today
Liz Fraser was never a top of the bill actress but during our youth she was always there, whether be supporting a top line comedy star or appearing in Carry On Films and The Confessions of Films.
She was born above a South London corner shop and was Christened Elizabeth J. Winch in 1930 but she gave the date of 1933 when auditioning for her role in I'm All Right Jack, as the producers the Boulting Brothers wanted someone younger for the part and this date stuck with her until she wrote her "Liz Fraser and Other Characters" when she revealed her real DOB. Her father was a travelling salesman for a brewery and her mother owned a shop just off the New Kent Road in London. Naturally her family life was disrupted greatly by the Second World War when she was evacuated, initially to Westerham in Kent but even there after a time it was deemed to be vulnerable to the bombs. She was moved to Chudleigh, a village in Devon. During this period of time her father died in, aged just 40 when she was only 11.
On returning to London after the war she attended St Saviour's and St Olave's Grammar School for Girls until she was 17, she also attended 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 and won an evening scholarship to the London School of Dramatic Art.
We all know her for her many appearances in British films and television series, including Hancock's Half Hour, Citizen James, Last of the Summer Wine and in one episode of The Avengers entitled "The Girl from Auntie".
Over a period of nearly six months, she appeared in numerous editions of the Associated-Rediffusion long forgotten soap opera Sixpenny Corner (1955–56). For a time she was very rarely off our screens in a variety of roles, not always appearing as the voluptuous girl in the Basque. She moved on to play Mrs Brent, a dead/missing girl's mother, in one of the Joan Hickson Miss Marple episodes for the BBC in 1987. Then came a strong and very memorable performance in The Professionals episode "Backtrack" as a fairly glamorous lady that fenced stolen property in her shop.
Needless to say she appeared on Benny Hill's late-1950s TV shows and in one single sketch in 1970 on his Thames TV series. As this episode was in black & white (due to the "colour strike" by TV technicians, who 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 later distributed world wide. However, it is included in the Volume 1 box set of the complete "Benny Hill Show.
Her film appearances started with I'm All Right, Jack (1959) for which she received a BAFTA nomination as Most Promising Newcomer, Two-Way Stretch (1960), the comedies Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1975), Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Adventures of a Private Eye (1977) and Rosie Dixon- Night Nurse (1978), and four of the Carry On films, Regardless (1961),Cruising (1962), Cabby (1963)and Behind (1975). Her other television work has included Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Crown Court, The Bill, Foyle's War, Birds of a Feather, Minder and Holby City. She was also Compo’s ‘bit on the side’ in Last of the Summer Wine.
She had married Peter Yonwin, a travelling salesman, in November 1958 but the marriage soon broke down and they divorced. She married her second husband, Bill Hitchcock, a TV director, in January 1965 at Harrow Registry Office. They agreed not to work together, but this 'pact' was broken in 1972 when she appeared in the Rodney Bewes sitcom Albert! and again later in the same year, when she acted in Turnbull's Finest Half-Hour a comedy series starring Michael Bates. Bill Hitchcock died in February 1974. In her autobiography she mentions also an affair with Tony Priday, captain of the England bridge team and bridge correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph. She also has a half-brother, Philip, 11 years older, the son of her mother from a previous marriage.
She, at one time, owned three greyhounds and still owns a watch, once owned by Princess Margaret, which she bought at auction. Apart from Acting, has made a living out of being a professional landlord.
At 83 she still has the cheeky, forthright sparkle in her eyes and voice that made her such a sought after actress long after she had stopped being hired merely for her blonde hair and busty sex appeal. She has worked steadily for more than half a century in the entertainment industry from the day she first stepped on to a repertory stage in 1952 at the age of 22, right into her 70s.
While she was bang in the front row of a generation of British actresses who turned the word “blonde” into an adjective that meant brainless there was always steely intelligence beneath that platinum froth. Unlike so many exploited actresses of her generation, she managed her own money and played the stock market, translating her winnings into a healthy income from an extensive property portfolio.
When her fellow Carry On star Joan Sims found herself in financial straits in her later years Liz was able to stop Joan being evicted from her home. She agrees that her business sense probably came from her mother Bessie, widowed when Liz was 11 but single-handedly running her corner shop through the war years and beyond, earning enough money to pay the fees for the grammar school. Her family made it clear that she had to support herself so, after making sure she’d come top in shorthand and typing, she paid her own way through drama school by working as a temp.
She readily admits that her bust did become the focal point of her career but she declares that she ran her life from her head rather than her chest.. She has a good business head and from her first purchase of shares in a greyhound track that later became the site of London’s Brent Cross shopping centre, she has rarely lost money.
She now lives in an apartment overlooking the Thames.
Stay in touch
Carry On Christmas !!!!!!!!!
Carry On Christmas !!!!!!!!!
News and Views:
Bobby Rydell’s forthcoming tour of Australia in February is a sell out already
On this Day 21st December 1960-1965
On 21/12/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was The Army Game (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and 13.68 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada).
On 21/12/1961 the number one single was Tower of Strength - Frankie Vaughan and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 21/12/1962 the number one single was Return to Sender - Elvis Presley and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 21/12/1963 the number one single was I Want to Hold Your hand - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 21/12/1964 the number one single was I Feel Fine - The Beatles and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 21/12/1965 the number one single was Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out - The Beatles and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.