Dora Bryan (born Dora Mary Broadbent on February 7, 1924) is a British actress, a household name with a huge list of films to her credit. She was born in Southport, Lancashire, UK, and has a distinctive speaking voice which has become a trademark of her film and television performances.
Her career began in pantomime before the Second World War, during which she joined the ENSA in Italy to entertain British troops in that theatre of the conflict. She became a regular performer in the West End of London following the war, where she became a star of theatrical revues. She soon followed many of her theatre contemporaries by moving into film acting, generally playing supporting roles. She often played women of easy virtue - for example in Ealing's The Blue Lamp (1950) and The Fallen Idol (1948), one of her earliest films. She appeared in similarly stereotypical female roles in other films, for example The Cockleshell Heroes (1955), Carry On Sergeant (1958) and The Green Man (1956), and A Taste of Honey (1961). She played a 'dodgy' head mistress in The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966).
Dora had a top twenty hit in 1963, All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle.
Bryan took a break from acting in the 1970s to raise children but did a public service TV advertisement on children's safety in this period. Since the early 1980s she has once again been very active. Her most recent film appearance is in MirrorMask (2005). She was a regular on the long-running BBC comedy series Last Of The Summer Wine. Dora is currently appearing in 'Rock 'A' Hula Rest Home' (2006) at the Marlborough Theatre in Brighton for Thin-King Productions.
Her autobiography According To Dora was published in 1987 and has since been updated and republished. In 1996, Dora Bryan was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to acting.
She has been married to Bill Lawton since 1954, and is the mother of 3 children; she has been living in Brighton, England for over 30 years.