LONDON — Anna Massey, an actress whose roles ranged from lonely spinsters to Margaret Thatcher, died on Sunday. She was 73. The cause was cancer, said her agent, Pippa Markham. Ms. Massey was born in England on Aug. 11, 1937, into a prominent acting family: her father was the Canadian actor Raymond Massey, her mother […]
LONDON — Anna Massey, an actress whose roles ranged from lonely spinsters to Margaret Thatcher, died on Sunday. She was 73.
The cause was cancer, said her agent, Pippa Markham.
Ms. Massey was born in England on Aug. 11, 1937, into a prominent acting family: her father was the Canadian actor Raymond Massey, her mother was the British actress Adrianne Allen, and her brother Daniel also became an actor. She made her West End stage debut at 17 in “The Reluctant Debutante” (a performance that earned her a Tony nomination when the play moved to Broadway in 1956) and her film debut in ”Gideon’s Day,” a 1958 police procedural directed by John Ford, who was her godfather.
Among her most notable films were Michael Powell’s “Peeping Tom” (1960), Otto Preminger’s “Bunny Lake Is Missing” (1965), Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” (1972) and the 2002 version of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in which she played the comic governess Miss Prism.
Ms. Massey worked most frequently in television and was a stalwart of British period dramas, often cast as a waspish spinster or maiden aunt. She appeared in television adaptations of Anthony Trollope’s “Pallisers,” Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” and other works.
In 2006, she played former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the TV drama “Pinochet in Suburbia.”
Ms. Massey won a Bafta award, the British equivalent of the Oscar, for her role in the 1986 TV adaptation of Anita Brookner’s novel “Hotel du Lac.” In 2004 she was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
She is survived by her husband, Uri Andres, and David Huggins, her son from her first marriage, to the actor Jeremy Brett, which ended in divorce.
In 2006 Ms. Massey revealed in a memoir, “Telling Some Tales,” that she had struggled with depression and stage fright. “I’m not instinctive,” she once said of herself as an actress. “It takes enormous discipline and bravery to get me there.”