Carol Raye (born 17 January 1923), also billed as Carole Raye is a retired English-born singer and dancer, theatre, television and film actress, comedian, television producer and creative director. She is well known for her early career in the UK in theatre and starring film roles and later her television career in Australia.
Early life and British film career
Raye was born in London as Kathleen Mary Corkery and trained as a ballet dancer. She was discovered by choreographer Freddie Carpenter at age 16. She played lead roles in many musicals and television production in her native Britain. Her theatre roles included Funny Side Up, Fun and Games, The Merry Widow, Dear Miss Phoebe and The Ticket-of-Leave Man. Raye also starred in the 1945 films Strawberry Roan and Waltz Time (in which she sings) and the 1947 films While I Live and Green Fingers.
Career in Kenya
Raye married in 1951, accompanying her husband as he travelled the world with his work. Raye subsequently worked as producer/director for the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation from 1961 to 1964.
Emigration and Mavis Bramston
Th family emigrated to Australia in 1964, and Raye got a job working as an assistant to the General Manager at ATN7, that same year and devised the idea for a satirical television series. Starting in November 1964, Raye was one of the three original stars of the highly popular and influential sketch comedy television series The Mavis Bramston Show, with Gordon Chater and Barry Creyton. She also produced the pilot episode and co-produced the series (with Michael Plant), until her departure from the programme in late 1965. She resumed work on the series for the 1967 and 1968 seasons. The series ended in 1968. In 2014, Raye then 91, wrote to Kerry Stokes, requesting a DVD release of the iconic series.
In the 1970s Raye played the ongoing comedy role of much-married socialite Baroness Amanda von Pappenburg in the top-rated soap opera Number 96. After two substantial stints with the series in the 1973–74 period, Amanda was permanently written out of the serial, and she switched to the role of Creative Director for the show's producers. This busy role involved the casting of main regular characters, along with reviewing the scripts and storylines of Number 96.
In the early 1980s, Raye had a four-year appointment with the Theatre Board of the Australia Council. She also appeared in many Australian theatre productions including California Suite, Pleasure of His Company, Travelling North, The Merry Wives of Windsor, You Can't Take It With You, Noises Off and Hay Fever. Raye was a subject of This Is Your Life in 1977, and a regular on The Mike Walsh Show. She acted in Australian films and TV films through the 1980s, and has continued to make occasional appearances in television series including SeaChange and advertisements into the 2000s.
- Strawberry Roan - Molly Lowe (British film - 1944)
- Waltz Time - Empress Maria (British film - 1945)
- Springtime - Janet Hill / Janet Ware (1947)
- Green Fingers - Jeannie Mansell (1947)
- While I Live - Sally Grant (British film, 1947)
- The Good Companions - Susie Dean (TV film, 1949)
- Happy Week-End - Polly (TV film) 1949
- Triple Bill (TV film) 1950
- The Mavis Bramston Show (TV Series) - various (1964-18)
- Riptide (TV Series) - Lauriana French (1969)
- Number 96 (TV Series)- Baroness Amanda Von Papenburg (1974)
- Up the Convicts (TV Series) - Lady Fitzgibbons (1976)
- The Young Doctors - Rosalie Parker (1976)
- Loss of Innocence (TV Mini-Series)(1978)
- Chopper Squad (TV Series) - Eileen Traill (1978)
- The Journalist - Maggie (1979)
- Man of Letters -(TV film) - Ursula Panhandle (1984)
- Remember Me - (TV film)- Jenny's Mother (1985)
- Relatives -Aunty Joan (1985)
- Mission Top Secret - Mrs. Jessie Burdock (1994)
- Seachange (TV Series) - June Dawson (2000)