Beloved British actress Dora Bryan has died, aged 91. The A Taste of Honey star, who also enjoyed TV success on shows like Last of the Summer Wine and Absolutely Fabulous, passed away at a nursing home in Hove, England.
A statement released by her son Daniel, who was with his mum when she died, reads: "It was heartbreaking but it was peaceful."
He added, "She was a tiny woman but her constitution was incredible. She loved being on stage, that's what she wanted. Not only did she do it, but she was good at it... She was a star and a mum."
Bryan's credits also include a handful of Carry On films and 1988's Apartment Zero, and she starred in her own BBC show in the mid-1960s.
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1995 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in The Birthday Party and picked up an O.B.E. for her services to drama the following year (96).
Born Dora May Broadbent in Southport, Lancashire in 1924, she started acting in pantomime as a child and worked in repertory theatre and with the Entertainments National Service Association during World War Two.
She became a West End regular after moving to London in 1945.
After a string of stage successes, Bryan made her big screen debut in 1948's The Fallen Idol and went on to appear in over 40 films.
She is perhaps best known for her role as an alcoholic mother in classic 1961 film A Taste of Honey, for which she won a Best Actress BAFTA.
On TV she played Dolly in Absolutely Fabulous and Roz in Last of the Summer Wine.
Her personal life was tinged with tragedy when her adopted daughter Georgina died from alcoholism, a disease the actress also battled. She was forced to give up acting when short-term memory loss robbed her of her ability to learn lines.
Bryan was married to English cricket star Bill Lawton until his death in 2008.
Dame Helen Mirren has found herself at the centre of a prizegiving controversy after three judges from the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards quit amid allegations of vote fixing to secure the movie star a top honour. Last month (Nov13), the 68 year old picked up the accolade for Best Actress for her portrayal of The Queen in West End stage play The Audience, but now the legitimacy of her win has come under scrutiny.
According to reports, Mirren was tied with another actress for the award at the end of a secret ballot, but one judge, Evening Standard newspaper writer Henry Hitchings, went on to change his vote, giving the Oscar winner the edge over her closest rival. The identity of the Best Actress runner up has not been revealed, but the category featured competition from Kristin Scott Thomas, Linda Bassett, Billie Piper and Lesley Manville.
News of Hitchings' last minute vote change has since prompted three of the seven judges to leave the seven-strong panel - theatre critics Charles Spencer, Georgina Brown and Susannah Clapp have all stepped down and will not return for next year's (14) awards show.
In a blog post for Britain's The Telegraph, Spencer claimed his "jaw dropped" when Mirren was announced as the Best Actress winner at the London ceremony, adding, "In the end awards are no more than the icing on the theatrical cake. But this year it left a bitter taste in the mouth."
However, Theatre Awards judge and Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands has dismissed the accusations, insisting there was nothing wrong with Hitchings' change of heart because his initial vote concerned The Light Princess actress Rosalie Craig, who had been removed from the Best Actress category in favour of inclusion in the Best Musical Performance shortlist.
She says, "(It was) an absolutely legitimate choice. It would be absolutely wrong to suggest that there was anything untoward about the (voting) process."
Another season of Project Runway has come to an end and another title handed out. Season 9's Anthony Ryan Auld walked away the winner of Lifetime's Project Runway All Stars Season 2 Thursday night. Auld beat out Emilio Sosa (Season 7) and Uli Herzner (Season 3) in the final challenge and on the final runway.
The final challenge of the season was to create a mini-collection in just four days with a budget of $3,000. Auld's final presentation clearly wowed the judges panel, which was made up of designers Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi and guest judges Liv Tyler and Margherita Missoni.
With his final collection, called "A Thin Line," Auld won the biggest prize in the history of Project Runway. Auld walked away with $150,000, the chance to design a custom capsule collection for Nine West, a new sewing and embroidery studio from Brother Sewing and Embroidery, a technology suite space from HP and Intel, a spread in Marie Claire magazine, a Contributing Editor position with the magazine, and a trip around the world to go to fashion weeks in Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo, and more, all paid for by Laura Mercier.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Lifetime]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.