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Mona Lee Washbourne (27 November 1903 – 15 November 1988) was an English actress of stage, film, and television.[1][2] Her most critically acclaimed role was in the film Stevie (1978), late in her career, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award.

Mona Washbourne
Mona Washbourne.png
Mona Lee Washbourne

(1903-11-27)27 November 1903
Died15 November 1988(1988-11-15) (aged 84)
London, England
Years active1924–1984
Basil Dignam
(m. 1940; died 1979)

Early lifeEdit

Mona Washbourne was born in Solihull, Warwickshire, and began her entertaining career training as a concert pianist.[3][4][5] Her sister Katherine Washbourne was a violinist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult.


Washbourne was performing professionally from the early 1920s.[4] She married the actor Basil Dignam.[4] Her brother-in-law Mark Dignam was also a stage and film actor.[6] In 1948, after numerous stage musical performances, Washbourne began appearing in films.[7] Her film credits include the horror movie The Brides of Dracula, Billy Liar (1963) and The Collector (1965).[8] She is probably best known to American audiences for her role as housekeeper Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady (1964). She also appeared as the stern and caustic Mrs. Bramson in the remake of Night Must Fall (also 1964), and the Matron in the film, If.... (1968).[2]

She appeared at both the Royal Court Theatre in London and on Broadway in 1970 in David Storey's Home.[9] She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.[10] In 1975 she appeared on the West End stage with James Stewart in a revival of Mary Chase's play Harvey, in the role originally taken by Josephine Hull.[11] Washbourne won the 1981 New York Film Critics' Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Stevie (1978).[12]

Later lifeEdit

In 1981, Washbourne appeared in Granada Television's TV miniseries adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited as Nanny Hawkins.[13] One of her last television appearances was in Where's the Key? (1983),[14] a BBC play about Alzheimer's disease. She died in 1988, aged 84, in London.[1]

Selected filmographyEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b League, The Broadway. "Mona Washbourne – Broadway Cast & Staff – IBDB".
  2. ^ a b "Mona Washbourne".
  3. ^ "Mona Washbourne". IMDb.
  4. ^ a b c "BFI Screenonline: Washbourne, Mona (1904–1988) Biography".
  5. ^ "Education for Mona Washbourne". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on 23 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Mark Dignam – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  7. ^ "Mona Washbourne – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  8. ^ "Mona Washbourne – Movies and Filmography – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  9. ^ League, The Broadway. "Home – Broadway Play – Original – IBDB".
  10. ^ League, The Broadway. "Home – Broadway Play – Original – IBDB".
  11. ^ "Harvey With James Dreyfus Heads into The West End".
  12. ^ "Awards – New York Film Critics Circle".
  13. ^ "Brideshead Revisited Episode 11 (1981)".
  14. ^ "BBC Active: Video for Learning". 14 September 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Dark Interval (1950)". BFI.
  16. ^ Gifford, Denis (1 April 2016). "British Film Catalogue: Two Volume Set – The Fiction Film/The Non-Fiction Film". Routledge.

External linksEdit