When an actor like Sean Connery passes away, the world remembers him. He was a major movie star who played the lead in numerous movies and portrayed some of the most popular characters in fiction on the big screen. But it doesn't always take playing James Bond to be remembered. I would wager that in your favorite movies there are numerous performances that you remember as clearly as the leads, and if one of your favorite movies is the Michael J. Fox classic Back to the Future all I need to say is "Save the clock tower" to bring a perfect image of actress Elsa Raven to your mind.
Elsa Raven had 77 film credits to her name beginning back in the 1960s, but her most famous role may have been as "Clocktower Lady" in 1985's Back to the Future. In her scene she approaches Michael J. Fox's Marty and his girlfriend to drop the backstory of the clock tower on them (and the audience), a key role since that information will be important later in the film. Elsa Raven's name wasn't well known but she'll always be remembered. The actress passed away Tuesday at the age of 91.
Elsa Raven was born Elsa Rabinowitz in 1929. She began acting in New York where, according to Deadline, she helped bring the Free Shakespeare Festival to Central Park. Beyond her memorable Back to the Future role, she also played the relator in The Amityville Horror, and had recurring roles on the '80s TV series Amen and Wiseguy. She even appeared in a second Michael J. Fox project, as she had a role in one episode of the sitcom Family Ties the year after Back to the Future came out.
If you were watching television in the 1980s than you likely saw Elsa Raven multiple times. Still, she likely had no more memorable role than her performance in Back to the Future, where she drops an important info dump on the audience, but in a way that makes sense for the film and doesn't make the audience feel like they're just being spoon-fed exposition. It's a pretty great scene over all. If you're one of the few people that has never seen Back to the Future, or you just want to watch the scene again, check it out below.
It's perhaps somewhat fitting that today is the day we're learning of the death of a member of the Back to the Future cast. November 5 is actually an important date in the film. It's the day Marty travels back to in 1955. The day that Doc Brown came up with the idea that would eventually result in time travel.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Elsa Raven.