Elsa Lanchester (1902–1986)

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Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was born into an unconventional a family at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents, James "Shamus" Sullivan and Edith "Biddy" Lanchester, were socialists - very active members of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in a rather broad sense - and did not believe in the institution of marriage and being tied to any ... See full bio »

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Known For

Murder by Death Jessica Marbles
The Bride of Frankenstein Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley / The Monster's Mate
Mary Poppins Katie Nanna


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (99 credits)
 1980 Die Laughing
 1979 Where's Poppa? (TV Movie)
Momma Hocheiser
 1976 Murder by Death
Jessica Marbles
 1973 Arnold
 1973 Terror in the Wax Museum
Julia Hawthorn
 1973 Here's Lucy (TV Series)
Mumsie Westcott
- Lucy Goes to Prison (1973) ... Mumsie Westcott
 1972-1973 Mannix (TV Series)
Portia Penhaven / Edna Barrington
- A Matter of Principle (1973) ... Portia Penhaven
- Death Is the Fifth Gear (1972) ... Edna Barrington
 1972 Night Gallery (TV Series)
Lydia Bowen (segment "Green Fingers")
- Green Fingers/The Funeral/The Tune in Dan's Cafe (1972) ... Lydia Bowen (segment "Green Fingers")
 1971 Nanny and the Professor (TV Series)
Aunt Henrietta
- Aunt Henrietta and the Poltergeist (1971) ... Aunt Henrietta
- Aunt Henrietta and the Jinx (1971) ... Aunt Henrietta
- Aunt Henrietta's Premonition (1971) ... Aunt Henrietta
 1970-1971 The Bill Cosby Show (TV Series)
Mrs. Wochuk
- The Power of a Tree (1971) ... Mrs. Wochuk
- The Elevator Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1970) ... Mrs. Wochuk
 1971 Willard
Henrietta Stiles
 1969 It Takes a Thief (TV Series)
Miss Mollie Taylor
- The Old Who Came in from the Spy (1969) ... Miss Mollie Taylor
 1969 In Name Only (TV Movie)
Gertrude Caruso
 1969 Then Came Bronson (TV Series)
Hattie Calter
- The Circle of Time (1969) ... Hattie Calter
 1969 The Magical World of Disney (TV Series)
Mrs. Formby
- My Dog, the Thief: Part 2 (1969) ... Mrs. Formby
- My Dog, the Thief: Part 1 (1969) ... Mrs. Formby
 1969 Me, Natalie
Miss Dennison
 1969 Rascal
Mrs. Satterfield
 1968 Blackbeard's Ghost
Emily Stowecroft
 1968 Off to See the Wizard (TV Series)
Widow Sonder
- Cinderella's Glass Slipper: Part 1 (1968) ... Widow Sonder
 1967 Easy Come, Easy Go
Madame Neherina
 1965-1966 The John Forsythe Show (TV Series)
Margaret Culver
- Get Me to the Execution on Time (1966) ... Margaret Culver
- From Russia with Chaos (1966) ... Margaret Culver
- Doctor Soo (1966) ... Margaret Culver
- If I Were a Prince (1966) ... Margaret Culver
- It Takes a Heap of Sergeants (1966) ... Margaret Culver
 1965 That Darn Cat!
Mrs. MacDougall
 1965 Slattery's People (TV Series)
Louella Woodward
- Question: What's a Swan Song for a Sparrow? (1965) ... Louella Woodward
 1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV Series)
Dr. Agnes Dabree
- The Brain-Killer Affair (1965) ... Dr. Agnes Dabree
 1965 Ben Casey (TV Series)
Mrs. Miriam Crain
- A Boy Is Standing Outside the Door (1965) ... Mrs. Miriam Crain
 1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series)
Aggie McGregor
- The McGregor Affair (1964) ... Aggie McGregor
 1964 Pajama Party
Aunt Wendy
 1963-1964 Burke's Law (TV Series)
Bessie Mopes / Mrs. Ormsby
- Who Killed Cassandra Cass? (1964) ... Bessie Mopes
- Who Killed Eleanora Davis? (1963) ... Mrs. Ormsby
 1964 Mary Poppins
Katie Nanna
 1964 Honeymoon Hotel
 1964 The Eleventh Hour (TV Series)
Mrs. Dalrymple
- A Full Moon Every Night (1964) ... Mrs. Dalrymple
 1962 The Flood (TV Movie)
Noah's Wife (voice)
 1962 Follow the Sun (TV Series)
Lilli St. John
- A Ghost in Her Gazebo (1962) ... Lilli St. John
 1961 The Dick Powell Theatre (TV Series)
Naomi Griswald
- The Fifth Caller (1961) ... Naomi Griswald
 1961 General Electric Theater (TV Series)
Hanna Winters
- Cat in the Cradle (1961) ... Hanna Winters
 1960 Adventures in Paradise (TV Series)
Miss Creshaw
- The Intruders (1960) ... Miss Creshaw
 1958 Shirley Temple's Storybook (TV Series)
Mother Goose
- Mother Goose (1958) ... Mother Goose
 1958 Bell Book and Candle
Queenie Holroyd
 1957 Witness for the Prosecution
Miss Plimsoll
 1956 Robert Montgomery Presents (TV Series)
 1956 I Love Lucy (TV Series)
Mrs. Edna Grundy
- Off to Florida (1956) ... Mrs. Edna Grundy
 1956 The 20th Century-Fox Hour (TV Series)
Ida Perkins
- Stranger in the Night (1956) ... Ida Perkins
 1954-1956 Lux Video Theatre (TV Series)
Miss Mabel / Emily
- Miss Mabel (1956) ... Miss Mabel
- Ladies in Retirement (1954) ... Emily
 1956 Shower of Stars (TV Series)
Mrs. Zooker
- The Flattering World (1956) ... Mrs. Zooker
 1955 The Star and the Story (TV Series)
 1955 Alice in Wonderland (TV Movie)
Red Queen
 1955 Max Liebman Spectaculars (TV Series)
Fräulein Rottenmeier
- Heidi (1955) ... Fräulein Rottenmeier
 1955 The Best of Broadway (TV Series)
Mrs. Orcutt
- Stage Door (1955) ... Mrs. Orcutt
 1955 The Ford Television Theatre (TV Series)
Rosie Bowker
- Hanrahan (1955) ... Rosie Bowker
 1955 The Glass Slipper
Widow Sonder
 1954 3 Ring Circus
The Bearded Lady
 1954 Hell's Half Acre
Lida O'Reilly
 1953 Schlitz Playhouse (TV Series)
Betsey Monk, the Widow
- The Baker of Barnbury (1953) ... Betsey Monk, the Widow
 1953 Omnibus (TV Series) (segment "Toine")
- Toine (1953) ... (segment "Toine")
 1953 Studio One (TV Series)
 1952 Androcles and the Lion
 1952 Les Miserables
Madame Magloire
 1952 Dreamboat
Dr. Mathilda Coffey
 1950 Frenchie
 1950 The Petty Girl
Dr. Crutcher
 1950 Mystery Street
Mrs. Smerrling
 1950 Buccaneer's Girl
Mme. Brizar
 1949 The Inspector General
 1949 Come to the Stable
Amelia Potts
 1949 The Secret Garden
 1948 The Big Clock
Louise Patterson
 1947 The Bishop's Wife
 1947 Northwest Outpost
Princess 'Tanya' Tatiana
 1946 The Razor's Edge
Miss Keith
 1946 The Spiral Staircase
Mrs. Oates
 1944 Passport to Destiny
Ella Muggins
 1943 Lassie Come Home
Mrs. Carraclough
 1943 Thumbs Up
Emma Finch
 1943 Forever and a Day
 1942 Tales of Manhattan
Elsa (Mrs Charles) Smith
 1941 Ladies in Retirement
Emily Creed
 1938 The Beachcomber
Martha Jones
 1936 Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty (Short)
Millicent Bracegirdle
 1936 Rembrandt
Hendrickje Stoffels
 1935 The Ghost Goes West
Miss Shepperton
 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley / The Monster's Mate
 1935 Naughty Marietta
Madame d'Annard
 1935 David Copperfield
 1934 The Private Life of Don Juan
Maid (uncredited)
 1933 The Private Life of Henry VIII
Anne of Cleves - The Fourth Wife
 1932 The Stronger Sex
 1931 Potiphar's Wife
 1931 The Officers' Mess
Cora Melville
 1931 The Love Habit
 1930 Ashes (Short)
 1929 Mr. Smith Wakes Up (Short)
 1928 Blue Bottles (Short)
 1928 Day-Dreams (Short)
Elsa / Heroine in Dream Sequence
 1928 The Tonic (Short)
 1928 The Constant Nymph
Lady (uncredited)
 1927 One of the Best
 1925 The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (Short)
Beatrice de Carolle
Show Show Soundtrack (6 credits)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (35 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (25 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Radio: "Suspense", Episode 42 "The ABC Murders" See more »

Publicity Listings:

2 Print Biographies | 1 Portrayal | 7 Articles | 1 Pictorial | 2 Magazine Cover Photos | See more »


5' 4" (1.63 m)


Charles Laughton  (his death)


James Sullivan | Edith Lanchester

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[on Maggie Smith] She's better on stage, from a distance. On a screen, close up, she makes you want to dive for cover. See more »


Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen. See more »

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