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Anna Quayle, British Character Actress, Is Dead at 86


She attended the Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in North London and in her 20s studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After graduation, she appeared in “Better Late” (1956), a revue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Her West End debut was also a revue, “Look Who’s Here!” (1960), followed by “And Another Thing” at the Fortune Theater, where Mr. Newley saw her perform and was inspired to cast her in “Stop the World,” for which he and Leslie Bricusse wrote the book, music and lyrics.

Ms. Quayle’s screen roles included the cruel Aunt Spiker in a BBC version of “James and the Giant Peach” (1976), a maid in “The Seven Per Cent Solution” (1976), a Russian agent in a 1967 episode of “The Avengers,” the reverend mother in the comedy series “Father Charles” (1982) and a 1920s clubgoer in the mini-series “Brideshead Revisited” (1981).

She had a busy British theater career, which included a solo musical, “Full Circle,” in London in 1970. Among her other roles were a gossip columnist in “Pal Joey” (1976) and Madame Dubonnet, the headmistress of a finishing school, in “The Boy Friend” (1984).

Ms. Quayle was back on British television in the early 1990s as Ms. Monroe, an eccentric teacher, on the long-running children’s drama series “Grange Hill.” Her final screen appearance was in “Things They Said Today,” a 2002 documentary about the making of “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Her marriage in 1976 to Donald Baker, an agent and theater producer, ended in divorce. Her survivors include their daughter, Katy Mcconnell, and a brother, the actor John Quayle.

Early in her career, Ms. Quayle fell from a ladder while working as a fashion model. The accident broke her nose in three places. It was her father who persuaded her not to have cosmetic surgery afterward; the physical distinction, he said, would “make a good prop.”


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