Elsa Lanchester

On this date in 1902, unorthodox actress Elsa Lanchester was born In London. Young Elsa studied to be a dancer under Isadora Duncan, then turned to acting as a teenager, debuting in films in 1924. Routinely described as a "dedicated nonconformist," Elsa married Charles Laughton in 1929, with whom she had an unorthodox marriage. Her splashy American debut was as the "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). She played Anne of Cleves in "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933). Her many other films include: "Lassie Come Home" (1946), "The Spiral Staircase" (1947), "The Big Clock" (1949), "Come to the Stable" (1949), "Les Miserables" (1955), "The Glass Slipper" (1958), "Witness for the Prosecution" (1957), "Bell, Book & Candle," "Mary Poppins" (1964), "Pajama Party" (1965), "That Darn Cat" (1968), "Murder by Death" (1976, playing "Miss Marbles"), and "Die Laughing" (1980). She wrote the book Charles and Me (1939) and her autobiography, Elsa Lanchester Herself (1983). Ultra-religious actress Maureen O'Hara, in her own autobiography, mentions twice in that book that she disapproved of Elsa Lanchester because Elsa did not believe in God. D. 1986.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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