Lilian Braithwaite

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Lilian Braithwaite
Lilian Braithwaite 1910s.jpg
Lilian Braithwaite in the 1910s
Born Florence Lilian Braithwaite
(1872-03-09)March 9, 1872
Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died 17 September 1948(1948-09-17) (aged 75)
Alma mater Croydon High School
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Gerald Lawrence
(m. ????; div. 1905)
Children Joyce Carey
Lilian Braithwaite & Noël Coward

Dame Florence Lilian Braithwaite, DBE (9 March 1873 – 17 September 1948), known professionally as Lilian Braithwaite, was an English actress, primarily of the stage.


She was the daughter of a clergyman, and born in Ramsgate, Kent, she was educated at Croydon High School. Braithwaite first acted with amateur companies, her first professional London appearance was in As You Like It in 1900. She appeared in the 1927 Alfred Hitchcock film Downhill.

Her greatest triumph was as the alcoholic mother in Noël Coward's groundbreaking drama The Vortex, she proved that comedy was her greatest asset in a long succession of drawing-room dramas and light comedies, culminating in the long running Arsenic and Old Lace (1942-1946).[citation needed]

Braithwaite responded to the assertion of critic James Agate that she was "the second most beautiful woman in London", by replying, "I shall long cherish that, coming from our second-best theatre critic."[1]

Personal life[edit]

During the Second World War she served as chairman and chief organiser of the hospital division of ENSA, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), for services to the stage, on 1 January 1943.[2] Braithwaite married actor-manager Gerald Lawrence, she and Lawrence had a daughter, Joyce Carey, who later became a film and television actress. The couple divorced in 1905.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Nightingale, Benedict, "For love and money", The Times Literary Supplement, 11 April 1986, p. 383
  2. ^ "No. 35841". The London Gazette. 29 December 1942. p. 15. 

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