was an English actress whose distinctive drawling, deep voice was a result of the nodes on her vocal cords she developed in the 1920s and early 1930s.
A successful child actress,
went on to act in comedy, drama and experimental theatre as well as broadcasting on the radio. Her greatest success came in revues during the 1930s to the 1950s.
In later life she played formidable elderly characters in such films and stage musicals as Gigi (1958), Bell, Book and Candle (1958), The Music Man (1962) and A Little Night Music (1973).
She became well known as a guest on television talk shows and continued to appear in revues, plays and musicals until an accident ended her performing career in 1977.
had two children with her first husband, publisher Michael Joseph. Her younger son was Stephen Joseph the pioneer of theatre-in-the round who established the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.