Monday, April 14, 2014

Edna Doré Dead at 92

Edna Doré (left) as Mo Butcher with Pat Coombs as Marge Green in
EASTENDERS in 1989. Photograph: BBC
Character actor Edna Doré has died at age 92. She was best known for playing battle-axe Mo Butcher, mother of Mike Reid's character, Frank Butcher, in the BBC's long-running soap EASTENDERS.

In addition to appearing in EASTENEDERS between 1988 and 1990, Doré starred as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease in Mike Leigh's 1988 film High Hopes. Her performance earned her the award for Best Supporting Performance at the 1989 European Film Awards. At the ceremony in Paris, she was called to the stage as "Edna Door". As she left clutching her prize she muttered (all too audibly): "You'd think that at least in Paris they'd pronounce my bloody name right."

She was born Edna Gorring and raised in Bromley, Kent, the younger daughter of a porter at Crystal Palace station and his wife, a cleaner and housemaid. She attended a local ballet school in Bromley and was encouraged by teachers to train at the Croydon Repertory theatre, where she worked as a stage manager and actor.

She once told a radio interviewer that she was so fed up with being labeled a virgin in her early days at the Croydon Rep in 1937 that she asked the director of the company if he would help her to shed this unwanted burden. He invited her round to his place at 2.30pm the next day: "It lasted about five minutes, and that was that. Job done."

She started in television in 1959, appearing regularly in DIXON OF DOCK GREEN, Z CARS and numerous dramas. In the 1960s, she spent four years at the Albery Theatre playing Mrs. Sowerberry in Lionel Bart's "Oliver!"

After her stint at the National, she was established as an "older" character actor in EASTENDERS and High Hopes, both roles signalling the onset of Alzheimer's. Her last stage role followed in 1990 when she played Anfisa, the nurse, in Chekhov's "Three Sisters" at the Queen's Theatre.

Doré was regularly to be seen on television throughout the 90s, in CASTUALTY, PEAK PRACTICE, HOTEL BABYLON and DOCTORS.

She is survived by their son, Michael, a publican in Hampshire, three grandsons and a granddaughter.

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