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Beloved actress Dora Bryan dead at 91

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Jul 23, 2014 | 12:19pm EDT

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.

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