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Prunella Scales

Related subjects Actors, models and celebrities

Prunella Scales
Born Prunella Margaret Rumney Illingworth
June 22, 1932 (1932-06-22)
Sutton Abinger, Surrey, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1960 to present

Prunella Scales CBE (born 22 June 1932) is an English actress best known for her role as the fearsome Sybil Fawlty in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers.

Born Prunella Margaret Rumney Illingworth in Sutton Abinger, Surrey, she has had a long and distinguished career as an actress mostly in comic roles. Her early film roles included Pride and Prejudice and Hobson's Choice.

Her first career break came with the early 1960s sitcom, Marriage Lines starring opposite Richard Briers. She has had major roles in BBC Radio 4 sitcoms, most notably After Henry, Smelling of Roses and Ladies of Letters; on television she starred in the London Weekend Television/Channel 4 series Mapp & Lucia based on the bestselling novels by E. F. Benson. She played Queen Elizabeth II in Alan Bennett's A Question of Attribution. In 1973, Scales teamed up with BBC Television actor & comedian Ronnie Barker in the (original) award-winning one-off Meat, which aired as One Man's Meat and was part of a series called Seven of One, also for the BBC. Her film appearances also include The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987) Stiff Upper Lips (1997) and Howard's End (1992). More recently she was seen in a series of Tesco supermarket commercials as a domineering mother, Dottie Turnbull, with Jane Horrocks as her long-suffering daughter.

Scales narrowly missed out on the role of "Eth" in The Glums, part of Take It From Here, written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden; the role went to June Whitfield.

She is married to the British actor Timothy West, and has two sons; their eldest is the actor and director; & syndicalist, Samuel West. In 2003, she appeared as Hilda, alias "she who must be obeyed", wife of Horace Rumpole in a series of four BBC Radio 4 plays, with her husband playing her fictional husband. They are both ambassadors for SOS Children's Charity .

Prunella Scales and Timothy West toured Australia at the same time in different productions. Prunella Scales appeared in a one-woman show called "An Evening with Queen Victoria".

Scales is a supporter of the Labour Party, and appeared on a Labour party political broadcast during the 2005 UK general election campaign.

Her authorised biography, Prunella, written by Teresa Ransom, was published by John Murray in 2005 . She is also a patron of the Lace Market Theatre Company in Nottingham, United Kingdom. In 2005 she named the P&O Cruise ship, Artemis. On 16th November 2007, Prunella Scales made an appearance during Children in Need, acting as Sybil Fawlty, the new manager who wants to take over Hotel Babylon.

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