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Elsa Lanchester

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Elsa Lanchester
Bride of Frankenstein (Universal Classics) 001
Known aliases Elizabeth Sullivan

Elsa Lanchester was a British actress born in Lewisham, London, England. During her early career, she appeared in several silent films in the UK then relocated to the United States after marrying fellow actor Charles Laughton. The two would go on to star in many films together over their respective careers. Lanchester is best known for her contributions to James Whale's 1935 classic The Bride of Frankenstein by Universal Pictures. Although she had very little screen time, Lanchester played a dual role in this film, appearing in the very beginning of the film as well as the very end. In the prologue to the film, Lanchester plays the part of Frankenstein author Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and has an exchange with two of her contemporaries, Percy Shelley (whom she later married) and Lord Byron. As with the previous film Frankenstein, the character of the "mate" is not revealed in the credits and is ambiguously marked by three question marks.

Although Lanchester contributed little to the horror genre since The Bride of Frankenstein, she did appear in the 1971 film Willard as the character Henrietta Stiles. Willard was one of Lanchester's final film roles and her last horror role.

Elsa Lanchester passed away from pneumonia following a stroke the day after Christmas in Woodland Hills, California, 1986.

Notes & Trivia

  • Elsa Lanchester became a U.S. citizen in 1950.
  • Elsa Lanchester was born out of wedlock.

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