Doris Hare

Doris Breamer Hare, MBE (1 March 1905 – 30 May 2000) was a Welsh actress, singer, dancer and comedienne, she is best known for being the second actress to portray Mrs Mabel "Mum" Butler in the British sitcom On the Buses after replacing original actress Cicely Courtneidge.[1]

Doris Hare
Doris Hare.jpg
Doris Breamer Hare

(1905-03-01)1 March 1905
Died30 May 2000(2000-05-30) (aged 95)
Northwood, London, England, UK
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • singer
  • dancer
Years activeCareer 1908–1994, film 1934–1994
Spouse(s)John Alexander Fraser Roberts (m. 1941–73, divorced)
RelativesKate Hare (mother)
Bertie Hare (brother)
Betty Hare (sister)
Winifred Hare (sister)


Hare was born in Bargoed, Glamorgan, Wales. Her parents had a portable theatre in South Wales and it seemed inevitable that she would become a part of it, making her debut at the age of three in Current Cash and appearing in juvenile troupes all over Britain as a child, before going solo as 'Little Doris Hare', appearing in music hall, variety, cabaret, revues and pantomimes. One of five, her brother, Bertie Hare and her sisters Betty Hare and Winifred Hare Braemer were also actors and performers

In 1930, the actress toured in The Show's the Thing, taking the part previously performed by Gracie Fields. In 1932 she appeared in the West End in Noël Coward's show Words and Music, alongside John Mills. In 1936, she made her Broadway debut in Night Must Fall. During the war she joined Evelyn Laye to put on a revue for the troops and compered Shipmate's Ashore on the BBC Forces Programme for the Merchant Navy, earning her the MBE in 1946.

In 1958, she created the role of Grannie Tooke in the original production of Sandy Wilson's musical version of Valmouth at the Lyric Hammersmith. She also performed on the recording of this production made by Pye Records in 1959, where she duetted with Cleo Laine, who was standing in for Bertice Reading. In 1982, when this musical was revived by John Dexter at Chichester Festival Theatre, Doris Hare, Bertice Reading, Fenella Fielding and Marcia Ashton all played the roles they had played in the original production.

In 1963, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1965 joined the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic. She acted in plays by Shakespeare, Shaw, Pinero, and Pinter.

She was offered the role of Ena Sharples an original in serial Coronation Street in 1960, she turned the role down and instead it was given to Violet Carson, Hare did however play a smaller role in the series in 1969 as Alice Pickens, who was due to marry Albert Tatlock, but the wedding never took place.

That same year Hare came to national attention in the role of Mrs Butler in On the Buses, taking over the part from Cicely Courtneidge in the second series of the ITV comedy. The series ran until 1973 and spawned three spin-off films On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972) and Holiday on the Buses (1973) in which Hare recreated her small-screen role. The cast also performed a stage version of the series in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1988.

In 1974, Hare spent a year in the West End farce No Sex Please, We're British and made her final stage appearance, aged 87, at the London Palladium alongside John Mills in a tribute to Evelyn Laye.

Hare won a Variety Club of Great Britain Special Award for her contributions to show business in 1982. She died at Denville Hall the actors retirement home in Northwood, London in 2000, aged 95.


Year Title Role Notes
1935 Night Mail Uncredited
1935 Jubilee Window Uncredited
1935 Opening Night
1938 Luck of the Navy Mrs. Maybridge
1939 Discoveries Bella Brown
1939 She Couldn't Say No Amelia Reeves
1948 It's Hard to Be Good Minor Role Uncredited
1948 Here Come the Huggetts Mrs. Fisher
1949 The History of Mr. Polly May Pant
1950 Dance Hall Blonde
1953 Thought to Kill Agnes
1954 Double Exposure WPC
1955 Tiger by the Tail Nurse Brady, hospital property clerk
1955 No Smoking Customer
1957 Strangers' Meeting Nellie
1958 Another Time, Another Place Mrs. Bunker
1960 The League of Gentlemen Molly Weaver
1964 A Place to Go Lil Flint
1969–1973 On the Buses Mabel "Mum" Butler 67 episodes
1971 On the Buses
1972 Mutiny on the Buses
1973 Holiday on the Buses
1975 Confessions of a Pop Performer Mrs. Lea
1976 Confessions of a Driving Instructor
1977 Confessions from a Holiday Camp
1980 Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Rose Pratt TV movie
1986 Never the Twain
1990 Nuns on the Run Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart
1994 Second Best Mrs. Hawkins (final film role)


  1. ^ Harris M. Lentz (2000). Obituaries in the Performing Arts. McFarland & Company. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7864-1024-8.

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