Avril Angers (Avril Florence Angers)
BiographyLiverpool, England, UK
Avril Angers was one of Britain's finest comedy actresses. Once dubbed Britain's answer to Lucille Ball she was a great exponent of revue, musicals, cabaret and TV and film comedy. Born in Liverpool, Angers' long and successful career in show-business began in variety. Her father was the comedian Harry Angers and her mother was Lillian Errol, a member of the original Fol-de-Rols concert party. She was 14 when she made her debut at a concert party in Brighton and the same age when she played Cinderella with Wee Georgie Wood and Clarkson Rose at Birmingham. Read more... became a Fol-de-Rol. During the Second World War she was one of the hardest working members of ENSA, touring the remotest parts of West Africa. She was awarded the Africa Star for her work and during the forties and fifties was rarely off the London stage or the cinema screen. As an actress she played a variety of roles from Billie Fawn in Born Yesterday to Marigold in the classic film The Green Man (1956), opposite Alistair Sim. Her success in acting led her to becoming one of the first women to have a television series with a proper storyline, Dear Dotty, in 1954. She also partnered TV comedians such as Arthur Askey, Dick Emery and a young Bob Monkhouse. One of the first stand-up comediennes she regularly appeared in cabaret. She won critical appraise for her role as Liz Piper in Roy Boulting's film The Family Way (1966) and was cast opposite Richard Burton and Rex Harrison in the off-beat gay comedy Staircase (1969). In 1964 she stole the notices in the hit London production of Little Me, in which she appeared with Bruce Forsyth, and she headlined in numerous West End comedies and thrillers. Her last public appearance was in October 2005 when she was a guest of honour at the Max Wall Society in London. Her close friend, the variety artiste and strong woman Joan Rhodes, said: "Avril was one of the funniest and most gifted people in show-business. She was very unassuming and comediennes such as Victoria Wood adored working with her."