Elizabeth Spriggs

Elizabeth Spriggs

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Elizabeth Spriggs

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Elizabeth Spriggs (18 September 1929 – 2 July 2008) was an English character actress.

Early life and career

Born in Buxton as Elizabeth Jean Williams, Spriggs had an unhappy childhood and grew up entirely without affection, particularly from her distant, domineering father, a master builder and farmer. She studied at the Royal College of Music and taught speech and drama in Coventry. Her first marriage at 21 was a disaster and, in what she called "the most painful decision of my life", left her husband and young daughter to pursue her acting dream. "The desire to act was like a weight within me", she later said, "and I knew if I didn't do anything about it it would destroy me". She wrote to a rep in Stockport asking for a job and was taken on. She worked with many companies, including Birmingham and Bristol, before joining the RSC in 1962.

Stage career

Spriggs was an regular performer with the RSC under Peter Hall until 1976, playing many important Shakespearean roles, including Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, an acclaimed Gertrude in Hamlet opposite David Warner, Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor and a witty Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She also featured in RSC productions of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, Shaw's Major Barbara and Dion Boucicault's comedy London Assurance, playing the splendidly bombastic Lady Gay Spanker alongside Donald Sinden.

In 1976, she moved with Hall from the RSC to the......
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