Avis Bunnage

Avis Bunnage (22 April 1923, Ardwick, Manchester, Lancashire – 4 October 1990, Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea, Essex) was an English actress of film, stage and television.[1][2]

Avis Bunnage
Black and white picture of Bunnage from the film The L-Shaped Room
Bunnage as Doris in The L-Shaped Room (1962)
Born(1923-04-22)22 April 1923
Died4 October 1990(1990-10-04) (aged 67)

She attended Manley Park Municipal School and Chorlton Central School in Manchester. She worked as a secretary and a nursery teacher before deciding to become an actress. She gained stage experience in rep and made her first professional appearance at Chorlton Rep Theatre in Manchester in 1947. She appeared as Veronica, the wife of Rigsby, in Rising Damp, for one episode, and as Amy Jenkinson, Ivy Unsworth's friend, in 11 episodes of In Loving Memory.[3] Bunnage was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. There she created the role of Helen, the mother in A Taste of Honey, her first West End role when the play transferred to Wyndham's Theatre, and a role in Oh, What a Lovely War! at Stratford East, which also transferred to Wyndham's Theatre.[4][5] When Avis was on holiday from this production for two weeks, her role was taken over by Danny La Rue.[6] Among her other roles for Theatre Workshop were Mrs. Lovitt in Christopher Bond's play Sweeney Todd (the basis for the Sondheim musical), and the title role in a play about the music hall legend Marie Lloyd.[7][8] In the early years of Coronation Street she played Lucile Hewitt's aunt.[9] She was in the musical Billy at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, playing the mother of Billy Liar.[10] She played Golda in Fiddler on the Roof, opposite Alfie Bass, at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.[11]

Among her various film roles were several British New Wave productions, such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.[1]

Married to Derek Orchard, she died on 4 October 1990 in Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, aged 67.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Expresso Bongo Mrs. Rudge Uncredited
1960 Doctor in Love Mrs. Jimp Uncredited
1960 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Blousy Woman
1961 No Love for Johnnie Constituent Uncredited
1962 The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Mrs. Smith
1962 The L-Shaped Room Doris
1963 Sparrows Can't Sing Bridgie
1963 What a Crazy World Mary Hitchens
1963 Tom Jones Landlady. George Inn
1965 Rotten to the Core Countess de Wett (Matron)
1965 A Study in Terror Landlady
1966 The Wrong Box Queen Victoria
1967 The Whisperers Mrs. Noonan
1968 Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter Tulip's Mother
1978 Panic Old Lady Short
1982 Gandhi Colin's Mother
1984 Forbidden Frau Schimdt
1985 No Surrender Martha Gorman
1988 CivvyStreet Lou's mother
1990 The Krays Helen (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Avis Bunnage". BFI. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Avis Bunnage - Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
  3. ^ "Avis Bunnage". www.aveleyman.com.
  4. ^ a b McFarlane, Brian (16 May 2016). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781526111968 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Avis Bunnage in Oh What a Lovely War (Wyndham's Theatre, 1963) - Oh What a Lovely War - Landmarks: Oh What a Lovely War, Night Waves - BBC Radio 3". BBC.
  6. ^ "Danny La Rue". 1 June 2009 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  7. ^ Stewart, John (21 November 2012). Broadway Musicals, 1943–2004. McFarland. ISBN 9781476603292 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Poore, Benjamin (15 November 2011). Heritage, Nostalgia and Modern British Theatre: Staging the Victorians. Springer. ISBN 9780230360143 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "Alice Burgess". www.corrie.net.
  10. ^ "Billy - 1974 Original London Cast".
  11. ^ Wright, Adrian (15 December 2017). West End Broadway: The Golden Age of the American Musical in London. Boydell Press. ISBN 9781843837916 – via Google Books.

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