Obituary: Agnes Lauchlan - People - News - The Independent

Obituary: Agnes Lauchlan

Agnes Lauchlan, actress: born 10 February 1905; died 28 August 1993.

AN ENGLISH eccentric if ever there was one, the actress Agnes Lauchlan was a funny person, an odd-bod, immensely tall and not like the other girls, over whom she usually towered.

As a comedienne this was not always an advantage. When playing Brigette Blair, an especially eccentric lady, in 1956 in Peter Coke's Fool's Paradise, she was fantastically dressed by Tony Walton. It had not been an easy part to cast. Our star, the forceful comedienne Cicely Courtneidge, insisted we find someone who was 'a funny person'. Lauchlan seemed exactly right. When we opened at the Apollo Theatre we realised our star was clearly not best pleased to find another 'funny person' in the cast. In some mysterious way Cis Courtneidge made sure that the expected laughs never flowed in the direction of Lauchlan.

Among many notable appearances she was hilariously unhappy as Helena in the starrily cast Oliver Messel / Tyrone Guthrie A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Vic in 1937. She must have been a glorious Madam Arcarti when she took over the part from Margaret Rutherford in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Duchess Theatre during the war as it neared its 2,000th performance.

During her long career, which began with a walk-on part in Shaw's Saint Joan at the New Theatre (now the Albery) in 1924, she played in classics and modern plays, usually comedies. She was in the two London productions of Hugh Walpole's The Cathedral in 1932 - a play surely worth reviving. She made an amusing impression as the forgetful Hilda in the 1940 revival of Dodie Smith's Dear Octopus. She is still remembered for her throaty and raunchy Nurse, with Renee Asherson as her tiny Juliet, at the King's, Hammersmith, in 1946. She was with George Devine's English Stage Company for the first four plays which began the revival of modern British theatre at the Royal Court. Her television appearances included Dr Finlay's Casebook.

Her friends included the colourful multi-millionaire Nubar Gulbenkian. They were a splendid sight when he picked her up at the stage door in his 'basketweave' private black cab, sporting his uniform top hat and old-fashioned frock coat with an orchid in his buttonhole, and whisked her off to supper at the Ritz.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week