Stella Moray is an English character actress who appeared on stage, film and television in dramas, comedies and soap operas. Her film work includes the motion pictures, "The Lovers," "Arthur's Dyke," "Alexander The Greatest" and "All In Good Time."
She was born Stella Ellen Morris on July 29, 1923 in Ladywood near Birmingham, Warwickshire where she was raised and attended high school. She had early ambitions to be an actress, but joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. A part of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the ATS was a women's voluntary service, which existed until February 1, 1949, when it was merged into the Women's Royal Army Corps. While stationed at Donnington in Shropshire, she appeared in camp concerts as a featured singer in an Ordnance Corps dance band, where she was spotted by the producer George Black and took her on tours in the Middle and Far East.
In March 1949, she made her first appearance in the musical "Belinda Fair" at the Saville Theatre. She went on to appear in Frank Loesser's "The Most Happy Fella" at the Coliseum, and in 1962, she moved to the Savoy Theatre to appear in "Sail Away" by Noël Coward. However, by 1966, her career began to falter. While she was starring in a production of "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand, the play closed abruptly at the Prince of Wales Theatre three months into what should have been a lengthy run. In 1974, she returned to the West End in 1974 to star in Julian More's musical, "Bordello," at the Queen's Theatre.
Mostly working as an understudy or stand-in in the theater community, Moray proved to be a excellent actress when given a chance. She excelled in the Early 80s as Miss Hannigan in the musical "Annie" at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, a role offered from her friend, actress Sheila Hancock. She appeared often on television with roles on "Coronation Street,' "Crossroads," "The Bill," "Midsomer Murders" and "George and Mildred." She appeared in two episodes of "The Benny Hill Show," playing the mother in the "Long Dry Summer" sketch and a member of the "Versatile Bentwoods" in the "Newer Faces" parody on June 8, 1975. On September 24, 1975, she played The Stamp Collector and one-third of the "Arsenic and Old Lace" vocal group put together by Fred Scuttle. She also appeared as Richard Beckinsale's mother in the 1973 film version of "The Lovers."
Moray continued doing stage, television and movie roles for several years. Her final television appearance was in April 2005 for an episode of the BBC crime drama "Judge John Deed." She passed away in London at the age of 83 on August 6, 2006 from undisclosed causes.