There is one strange, mesmerizing film scene that easily sums up thedisturbing fascination Eleanor Bron brought to her characters on stage,TV and in the cinema. This is the classic fig-eating scene which sheshares with 'Alan Bates (I)' in the Oscar-winning drama Women in Love (1969) . It is not to be missed. A dark, cold-eyed,ethnic-looking beauty, the unsmiling Eleanor would typically be cast asunapproachable, unsympathetic and intensely neurotic secondleads/supports in classy film drama and costumers.
And yet, there wasanother distinct side to her as well. In direct contrast to all themurkiness usually associated with her, Eleanor was a talented writerand performer of TV series comedy!Eleanor was born in Stanmore, London in 1938 of Eastern European Jewishdescent. The family's surname was Bronstein, but abbreviated to Bron byfather Sidney, an established music publisher (Bron's OrchestralService). She was educated at the North London Collegiate School andNewnham College, Cambridge. Older brother Gerry Bron later became arecord producer (his Bronze Records label handled such rock groups asUriah Heep) while another brother became a professor of medicine.
Eleanor started her career off in comedy sharing the same stage with'Peter Cook (I)' (of "Beyond the Fringe" fame) in a CambridgeFootlights revue entitled "The Last Laugh" in 1959. This led to aplethora of comedy offers, writing and performing satires and spoofs onboth radio and TV from the late 60s on, including "Not So Much aProgramme, More a Way of Life," "World in Ferment," "Where Was Spring","Beyond a Joke" and "After That, This" -- often in tandem with writer'John Fortune (I)' or actor/writer 'John Bird (I)' Eleanor made her film debut in the prominent role of the high priestessAhme in the Beatles' second feature film Help! (1965) . In fact,she is often credited to having inspired the name of the Beatles' #1pop song hit "Eleanor Rigby". She showed just as much promise as adoctor who comes into contact with 'Michael Caine (I)' 's worldlylover Alfie (1966) , and as part of a vacationing foursomealongside 'Albert Finney' , 'Audrey Hepburn (I)' and'William Daniels (I)' , who played her screen husband, in thetearjerker Two for the Road (1967) . Here Eleanor shows off her"other woman" formidableness that would reappear time and again.
Thatsame year she reteamed with comedian 'Peter Cook (I)' , who by nowwas partnered successfully with 'Dudley Moore' , in Bedazzled (1967) , and was third-billed as pregnant'Sandy Dennis (I)' ' friend and confidante in A Touch of Love (1969) [aka "Thank You All Very Much"]. Following her excellence as 'Alan Bates (I)' ' supercilious wife in Women in Love (1969) , and after a co-starring role in thesatirical farce The National Health (1973) , a biting comment onEngland's national health program, Eleanor was little seen in film, atleast for the rest of the decade. TV took a good share of her time. Herfeatures grew more severe as time passed and her characters moregargoyle-like. Unforgettable as 'Joanna Lumley' 's horror of amother in episodes of the vitriolic comedy "Absolutely Fabulous" (1992) , a softer core was occasionallyglimpsed, as with her Virgin Mary in The Day Christ Died (1980) (TV) , and her remote but touchingEdith Frank in The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank (1988) (TV) .
Back to feature films she proved as repelling as ever playing thearrogant Lady Wexmire (again opposite 'Peter Cook (I)' ) in Black Beauty (1994) and the harsh, witchy-like Miss Minchin in A Little Princess (1995) . Her film output in later years wouldinclude The House of Mirth (2000) , The Heart of Me (2002) , Love's Brother (2004) and thetennis comedy/drama Wimbledon (2004) . Throughout her career, Eleanor would maintain close ties with theclassical and contemporary stage, giving vivid appearances in suchplays as "The Doctor's Dilemma" (1966), "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"(1967), "Major Barbara" (1969), "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" (1970),"Hedda Gabler" (1970), "Luv" (1971), the West End musical "The Card"(1973), "Two for the Seesaw" (1974), "The Merchant of Venice" (1975),"Private Lives" (1976), "Uncle Vanya" (1977), "The Cherry Orchard"(1978), "The Real Inspector Hound" (1985), "The Duchess of Malfi"(1985), "The Miser" (1991) and "A Delicate Balance" (1997). Morerecently she appeared in the musical "Twopence to Cross the Mersey"(2005) and the plays "The Clean House" (2006), "In Extremis" (2007) and"All About My Mother" (2007), and has also performed her own one-womanshows "On My Own" and "Desdemona: If You Had Only Spoken". In the 1980sshe appeared frequently in Secret Policeman's Balls live benefit shows,working in tandem with her favorite, 'Peter Cook (I)' , and othertop comic entertainers as 'Rowan Atkinson' .
She also appeared inthe film version of The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982) . Eleanor is the author of several books -- Life and Other Punctures is anaccount of bicycling in France and Holland; "The Pillow Book of EleanorBron, or An Actress Despairs" is a collection of notes andremembrances; and "Double Take" (1996) is a romantic novel. Longmarried to well-known architect Cedric Price, she became his widow in2003. They had no children. .
|1||Doctor Who: 30 Years in the Tardis||1993||as Art Gallery Visitor|
|2||My Father Knew Lloyd George||1965||as Various roles|
|3||The National Health||1973||as Sister McFee/Sister Mary MacArthur|
|4||The Secret Policemans Ball||1979||as Various Roles|
|5||Dawn Frenchs Girls Who Do: Comedy||2006||as Herself|
|6||French and Saunders||1987||as Dr. Marcia Hardstein|
|7||Second City Reports||1964||as Various Characters|
|8||Ten from the Twenties||1975||as Catherine Wilkes|
|9||The Aweful Mr. Goodall||1974||as Dr. Rachel Moffatt|
|10||The Play on One||1988||as Lady Elspeth MacIlvrae|
|11||A Bedazzled Conversation with Harold Ramis||2006||as Margaret|
|12||A Little Princess||1995||as Miss Minchin|
|13||A Month in the Country||1985||as Natalya|
|14||A Touch of Love||1969||as Lydia Reynolds|
|15||Alfie||1966||as The Doctor|
|16||Barry Humphries on Bedazzled||2005||as Margaret|
|18||Black Beauty||1994||as Lady Wexmire|
|19||Cucumber Castle||1970||as Lady Margerie Pee|
|20||Deadly Advice||1994||as Judge|
|21||Golden Gala||1978||as Herself|
|23||Hyde Park on Hudson||2012||as Daisy's Aunt|
|25||Little Dorrit||1987||as Mrs. Merdle|
|26||Loves Brother||2004||as Signora Carmellina|
|27||Micky Love||1993||as Adele Franklin|
|28||Nice or Nasty?: The Making of Vengeance on Varos||2012||as Kara|
|29||Paris in the Springtime||2005||as Art Gallery Visitor|
|30||Pleasure at Her Majestys||1976||as Various|
|31||Revelation Exhumed||2005||as Kara|
|32||Saint-Ex||1996||as Marie de Saint-Exupéry|
|33||StreetDance 3D||2010||as Madame Fleurie|
|34||The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank||1988||as Edith Frank|
|35||The Beatles in Help!||2007||as Herself|
|36||The Blue Boy||1994||as Christine|
|37||The Comedy Vaults: BBC2s Hidden Treasure||2014||as Herself|
|38||The Dalek Tapes||2006||as Kara|
|39||The Day Christ Died||1980||as Mary|
|40||The Heart of Me||2002||as Mrs. Burkett|