Hazel Douglas

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Hazel Douglas, born Hazel Smith (2 November 1923 – 8 September 2016) was an English actress. She portrayed Bathilda Bagshot in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

Hazel’s family came from Stoke-on-Trent, where her grandfather was a senior representative for Minton porcelain. Her father was an accountant who had lost a leg at Gallipoli, her mother a music teacher. She was born Hazel Smith in London, and educated at Godolphin and Latymer school, Hammersmith. At the beginning of the second world war, Hazel was evacuated to Newbury, in Berkshire. Having always wanted to be either an actor or a dancer, while away she applied to Rada and, after auditioning, was accepted.

When she was 16 the family were able to move back to their home in Fulham. The day before she was to start at Rada, the house received a direct hit from a bomb, though no one was hurt. The next day she went off to enrol, in the same class as Richard Attenborough.

After 12 months at Rada she worked for a year as an assistant stage manager, but then joined the Wrens. At first she was stationed in Crosby Hall by Chelsea Bridge, and told of the rats that came up from the river during the night. This was no problem for Hazel, who had always been mad about animals; she recalled a production in which she was the only person who could handle a ferocious parrot.

From Crosby Hall she was posted to HMS Ariel in Lancashire as an officer qualified in wireless technology, teaching other Wrens how to assemble wireless sets. There she met her future husband, Peter Sawford, who was also in the navy. One evening they went to the cinema to see Love On the Dole and this, she always maintained, was what made her the committed socialist she remained to the end. The couple married in 1949, and Peter went to work for the Inner London Education Authority.

Her credits stretch back to the early days of television, and include Sunday Night Theatre, The Worst Week of My Life, Eyes Down, The IT Crowd, Gavin & Stacey, Run Fatboy Run, Casualty, The Royal, Asylum, The Bill, Where the Heart Is, Gimme Gimme Gimme, The Hunger Games, At Home with the Braithwaites, The Liver Birds and Vicious.

In 2009, she played the role of Mrs Harries, the mother of Josephine Tewson in the radio drama, Leaves in Autumn by Susan Casanove, a Wireless Theatre Company production. In 2010, she appeared as Peggy Lowe in the Jo Brand BBC2 comedy Getting On.[citation needed] She also has the minor role of Maureen Bright in the BBC soap opera, Doctors in 2011. In 2013 she appeared in the British sitcom Vicious starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as Mildred, Stuart's (Jacobi) mother. Most recently, Douglas portrayed Edna Locke in an episode of the 2014 detective drama Suspects.

She died on 8 September 2016 at the age of 92.



Sources for this article include:
  • The Guardian (obituary)

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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024