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February 7, 1923 - July 23, 2014
Artistfacts for Dora Bryan
Although she was best known as a comedy actress, Dora Bryan ventured into vinyl in 1955 and enjoyed some limited recording success in the 1960s.
Dora May Broadbent was born at Southport, Lancashire, the daughter of a salesman. Her career on the stage began with pantomime, and she joined the Oldham Repertory Company as a teenager.
Her stage name is said to have been derived from Bryant & May, the match manufacturer, but the T was omitted in a typographical error. The leading female impersonator Vesta Tilley who was born Matilda Alice Victoria Powers is said to have done the same thing, taking her stage name from Swan Vesta matches.
During the Second World War, Dora Bryan entertained the troops with ENSA (Every Night Something Awful according to the unofficial acronym), but it was not until 1955 that she recorded her first single, "Why Did You Call Me Lily?" from The Water Gipsies
in which she had starred. In the 1960s she would record "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend
" and her biggest song – dare one use the word hit? - "All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle
Music-wise, that was as good as things got, although she continued her stage and film career. She also appeared in many TV series.
Bryan died in a Brighton nursing home at the age of 91. In September 2013 a Dora Bryan Exhibition was opened by the Rottingdean Preservation Society to celebrate her career. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above)