Anna Quayle, the British stage and screen actor who was an instantly recognizable figure to generations of young viewers who watched her on screen in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the BBC's Grange Hill, died August 16 at age 86. Ms. Quayle’s family recently confirmed news of her death following a six-year battle with Lewy body dementia.
Born October 6, 1932, in Birmingham, Ms. Quayle began performing at the age of three at the encouragement of her father, the late British stage actor Douglas Quayle. She trained at RADA, graduating in 1956.
Quayle was 26 when she made her Broadway debut opposite Anthony Newley in the 1962 Broadway transfer of Stop the World—I Want to Get Off, earning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance.
Film and television projects followed, including a key role in The Beatles’ 1964 movie A Hard Day’s Night, and the 1967 James Bond send-up Casino Royale. She is perhaps best-remembered for her performance as Baroness Bomburst in the 1968 movie musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and for playing school teacher Mrs. Monroe on the BBC’s Grange Hill from 1990 until 1994.
She also earned acclaim for her West End appearances in Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey, Anthony Shaffer’s The Case of the Oily Levantine, Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, and Rodney Ackland’s After October.