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Rosalind Knight (Credit: Simon Annand)

Actress Rosalind Knight dies aged 87

Published 21 December 2020

Rosalind Knight, star of Friday Night Dinner and Carry On, sadly passed away on Saturday 19 December, aged 87.

Rosalind is the mother of theatre director Marianne Elliott and actress Susannah Elliott and below is a statement from her family.

Rosalind Knight: 3 December 1933 – 19 December 2020

Did Anyone Bring the Petits-Fours?

“It is with huge sadness that the family of Rosalind Knight announce her death following a glorious career as a well-loved actress in theatre, TV and film.

“She was known to so many generations, for so many different roles, and will be missed as much by the kids today who howl at Horrible Grandma in Friday Night Dinner as by those of us who are old enough to remember her in the very first Carry On films.

“She had a career that spanned many genres (she even had the last word in the famous 1980 Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port advert – “Did anyone bring the petits fours?”). She worked on the classical, contemporary and experimental stage – making her name as Celia playing opposite Vanessa Redgrave in the 1961 RSC production of As You Like It, directed by our father Michael Elliott, and appearing unforgettably in the extraordinary seasons of new work by Steven Pimlott, Richard Jones and Phelim McDermott

“On film, Rosalind was part of both the original casts of the Carry On and St Trinian’s film series.  She appeared in two Carry On films: Carry on Teacher and Carry on Nurse and two St Trinian’s films: one as a schoolgirl in 1957 in Blue Murder at St Trinian’s and later in 1980 as a teacher in The Wildcats of St Trinian’s.  Other notable film appearances include Tom Jones, Start the Revolution Without Me (opposite Gene Wilder), Eskimo Nell, The Lady Vanishes, Prick Up Your Ears, About a Boy (with Hugh Grant), and The Lady in the Van.

“Another standout comedy performance was retired prostitute Beryl in three series of Jonathan Harvey’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme with Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus.

“She came from a great acting tradition – her father was the larger than life, blind actor Esmond Knight, her mother was the actress Frances Clare, and her step-mother was the actress Nora Swinburne. Our mother had the most astute, vibrant personality and made people laugh wherever she went. She was a great reader, art lover and raconteur. She contributed in a voluntary way to the theatrical world through her involvement in the building of the Royal Exchange Theatre, alongside her husband Michael Elliott, and her support for the Actors’ Centre and the Ladies’ Theatrical Guild. She was an active member of her local history society and opera society, and was a fierce campaigner and fund-raiser for the Hogarth Trust.

“She will be greatly missed by all who knew her but her enduring spirit lives on with her devoted daughters Marianne and Susannah Elliott and her adoring grand-daughter, Eve. We will always remember her for her immense spirit and sense of fun, and her utter individuality.”

Our thoughts are with Rosalind’s family.

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