Elizabeth Spriggs Cause of Death: How the Beloved Actress Passed Away

Elizabeth Spriggs was a versatile and talented character actress who appeared in many stage, film and television roles. She was best known for her work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, her Olivier Award-winning performance in Love Letters on Blue Paper, and her roles in Sense and Sensibility and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But how did Elizabeth Spriggs die? What was the cause of her death? In this article, we will explore the life and career of Elizabeth Spriggs, and the circumstances of her passing.

Early Life and Career

Elizabeth Spriggs was born on September 18, 1929, in Buxton, Derbyshire, England. She had an unhappy childhood, and later said that she “grew up entirely without affection” She studied opera at the Royal College of Music, but had to give up singing due to bronchial asthma. She then became a teacher of speech and drama in Coventry, and married her first husband, Kenneth Spriggs, at the age of 21. They had a daughter, Wendy, but the marriage was unhappy and Spriggs left them to pursue her acting dream. She said that “the desire to act was like a weight within me, and I knew if I didn’t do anything about it, it would destroy me”

She wrote to a repertory company in Stockport, Cheshire, asking for a job, and was hired. She worked with many companies, including in Birmingham and Bristol, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1962. She was 33 years old when she made her professional debut.

Stage Career

Spriggs was a regular performer with the RSC under Peter Hall until 1976, playing many important Shakespearean roles, such as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Gertrude in Hamlet, Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She also appeared in RSC productions of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, Shaw’s Major Barbara, and Dion Boucicault’s comedy London Assurance, playing Lady Gay Spanker alongside Donald Sinden.

In 1976, she moved with Hall from the RSC to the National Theatre, where she played Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Volpone with Paul Scofield, The Country Wife, and Macbeth with Albert Finney. In 1978, she won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for Arnold Wesker’s Love Letters on Blue Paper, playing the wife of a dying trade union leader who recalls their early life together. She also received a Tony Award nomination for her Broadway debut in London Assurance.

Spriggs continued to work on stage throughout her career, appearing in plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, The Cherry Orchard, The Crucible, The House of Bernarda Alba, and The Birthday Party. She also performed in several one-woman shows, such as Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and Dorothy Parker’s You Might as Well Live.

Film and Television Career

Spriggs made her film debut in Work is a 4-Letter Word in 1968, and went on to appear in more than 30 films, including Richard’s Things, Impromptu, Paradise Road, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where she played the portrait of the Fat Lady. She received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson.

Spriggs also had a prolific television career, appearing in more than 100 shows, such as Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse, Jeeves and Wooster, and The Jewel in the Crown. She starred in her own children’s series, Simon and the Witch, where she played the title role. She also played Nan in the popular ITV series Shine on Harvey Moon, alongside Kenneth Cranham.

Personal Life and Death

Spriggs was married three times, and had one daughter, Wendy, who is also an actress. Her first husband was Kenneth Spriggs, whom she divorced in the 1950s. Her second husband was Marshall Jones, an American actor and director, whom she married in 1965 and divorced in the 1970s. Her third and last husband was Murray Manson, a Canadian actor and director, whom she married in 1977 and remained with until her death.

Spriggs died on July 2, 2008, at the age of 78, in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The cause of her death was complications following surgery Her funeral service and interment took place at Saint Mary the Virgin’s Churchyard in Thame, Oxfordshire, and was attended by family and friends, including Sinéad Cusack, James Ellis, Lesley Sharp, Jeremy Irons, Robert Hardy, and Peter Vaughan, who all paid tribute to their friend and fellow actor


Elizabeth Spriggs was a remarkable actress who had a long and distinguished career on stage, film and television. She was admired for her versatility, her wit, and her warmth. She left behind a legacy of memorable performances and a devoted fan base. She was a true star of the British theatre, and a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and enjoyed her work.

Doms Desk

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