Elsa Lanchester (October 28, 1902-December 26, 1986), was a British-born American character actress, perhaps best-known as the long-suffering wife of Charles Laughton. Her birth name was Elizabeth Sullivan.
Lanchester married Laughton in 1929, and one of her first screen appearances was opposite him in The Private Life of Henry VIII (as a highly comical Anne of Cleves). This and other appearances in British films helped her gain the title role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935). She continued to appear with her husband, for example in Rembrandt (1936), but never made a name as a female lead, mainly due to her lack of conventional beauty.
Following Laughton's death in 1962, Lanchester continued to act, making occasional film appearances such as the departing nanny in the opening scenes of Mary Poppins, and a sleuth in the 1976 Agatha Christie spoof, Murder by Death.