Died on Monday, Elsa Raven, the character actress who is perhaps best remembered for her small but crucial role in the 1985 comedy about time travel titled Back to the Future, where she established a focal point through lobbying to preserve the local clock tower. At her home in Los Angeles. She was 91 years old.
Her agent, David Shaul of the talent agency BRS / Gage, has confirmed her death.
Ms. Raven has had scores of movies and TV shows and has appeared in New York and regional stages. She has built a steadfast career for every woman’s roles. The film and television characters who played her sometimes did not have names; She was just a “maid,” “prenatal nurse,” or “mom” (as in “Seinfeld” Season 6 “The Mom and Pop Store”).
Perhaps none of these shows made an impression more than her role as “Clocktower Lady” in “Back to the Future,” the highest-grossing film of 1985. At the start of the movie, her character interrupted young lovers played by Michael J. Claudia Wells is in the middle of the kiss, urging them to “save the clock tower.” She told them that the mayor, clutching a donation box, wanted to replace the watch.
“Thirty years ago, lightning struck the clock tower,” she explains, “and the clock has not worked since then.” “We at the Hill Valley Preservation Society believe it should be preserved exactly as it is, as part of our history and heritage.”
Later, Mr. Fox’s character, who traveled back in time to 1955, uses a lightning strike on the Tower to propel himself into his own time.
Mrs. Raven was not in my “Back to the Future” series, but she did participate in the original film crew and cast reunions, including one last year at the Hollywood Museum, where she talked about the film’s lasting impact.
“We didn’t know how important that was,” she told United Press International at the time. “We knew it was a good and solid movie. Of course we were happy when it had such a huge success. It’s evergreen. It’s not today. It’s any day.”
Elsa Rabinowitz (she took the name Raven as a stage name) was born on September 21, 1929, in Charleston, South Carolina, to Lewis and Rosalie Rabinowitz. She started her acting career in New York – her family said she worked with Joseph Pappe to bring Shakespeare for free to Central Park beginning in the late 1950s.
Her first television credits were in small roles in 1963. One of her first major roles was in the 1979 film The Haunted House, “The Amityville Horror,” in which she played an estate agent who badly sells James Brolin and Margot Kidder characters. Estimated dwelling.
She told them, “You will be very happy.” “It’s a wonderful house.”
She had recurring roles in the NBC sitcom “Amen” and the CBS crime drama “Wizge” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and in the television series Days of Our Lives. Her other films included “The Moderns” (1988), in which she played Gertrude Stein, “In the Line of Fire” (1993) and “Titanic” (1997).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Raven appeared three times in the feature-length drama “Quincy ME,” which starred Jack Klugman as a medical examiner investigating suspicious deaths.
In 1985, she had another opportunity to work with Mr. Klugman, this time on stage at the Lawrence Wilk Village Theater in Escondido, California, in Bernard Slade’s play Salute. Mr. Klugman played Scottie, a man with cancer; She played (as described by the San Diego Union-Tribune) “a doctor who bears haemorrhoid jokes while Scotty is withdrawn for chemotherapy.”
Mrs. Raven, whose four brothers died before her, survived 15 nieces and nephews.