Perhaps most well known for her BAFTA-nominated portrayal of Mrs. Jennings in the 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, she is also remembered for her work in the television series Shine on Harvey Moon and in the 1994 television miniseries adaptation of Middlemarch.
After training at the Royal College of Music and working for a time as a drama teacher, she began her stage acting career at repertory companies in Bristol and Birmingham, England.
She played a small role in the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Also an accomplished stage actress, she performed in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) productions.
Born Elizabeth Jean Williams, she grew up in Buxton, Derbyshire, England. After her first two marriages -- to Kenneth Spriggs (with whom she had a daughter named Wendy) and Marshall Jones -- ended in divorce, she was married for three decades to Murray Manson.
She performed with Albert Finney in a Royal National Theatre (London) production of Shakespeare's Macbeth.