19 February 2013 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A dignified comic actor in farce and on TV, and a dedicated disability campaigner alongside her husband, Brian Rix

The acting career of Elspet Gray, who has died aged 83, was obscured but not extinguished by being so closely bound up with her marriage to the farceur Brian Rix. In 1951, Gray gave birth to a daughter, Shelley, who had Down's syndrome. In later life she was active alongside her actor-manager husband after he left the stage in 1977 to work for people with learning disabilities – initially through presenting a BBC television series, and then as secretary general of Mencap. However, she made periodic returns to the stage and maintained a screen presence: in 1979, for instance, she was a paediatrician guest in Fawlty Towers, and in 1994 the first bride's mother in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

As well as bringing up her subsequent three children, she visited Shelley every week in the residential »

- Dennis Barker

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