Jean Boht (6 March 1932 – 12 September 2023) was an English actress best known for her role as Nellie Boswell in the popular sitcom Bread, created by Carla Lane. Her career spanned over six decades, during which she appeared in a variety of television shows, stage plays, and films. Boht’s versatility and talent made her a beloved figure in the British entertainment industry.
Early Life and Career
Born on 6 March 1932 in Bebington, Cheshire (now part of Merseyside), Jean Boht attended Wirral Grammar School for Girls. She received her acting training at the Liverpool Playhouse, setting the stage for a career that would last from 1962 until her passing in 2023.
Boht made her mark largely in television, showcasing her talent in series such as Softly, Softly (1971), Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (1978), Grange Hill (1978), Last of the Summer Wine (1978), Boys from the Blackstuff (1982), Scully (1984), and Juliet Bravo in the mid-1980s. Her most iconic role came in 1986, when she was cast as Nellie Boswell in Bread, a role she played until 1991. The show’s success led to her being featured on This Is Your Life in 1989. In 2008, she also made a guest appearance on BBC1’s daytime TV soap, Doctors.
Stage and Film Career
Jean Boht was no stranger to the stage and the big screen. She performed alongside Jeremy Irons in Embers (2006) at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London. Boht also had a role in the film Mothers and Daughters (2004) and starred in Chris Shepherd’s award-winning short film Bad Night for the Blues (2010).
Boht was married twice. Her first marriage to William Boht ended in divorce. She later married conductor and composer Carl Davis in 1970, and the couple had two daughters. In her later years, Boht was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. She spent her final years at Denville Hall, a retirement home in Northwood, London, specifically designed for members of the entertainment industry. Boht passed away on 12 September 2023, at the age of 91.
Jean Boht left an indelible mark on the British entertainment scene. Her role as Nellie Boswell in Bread has become iconic, capturing the hearts of viewers and securing her place in British television history. Despite facing health challenges in her later years, her work continues to be celebrated, serving as a testament to her talent and versatility. Boht’s contribution to television, film, and stage will be remembered for generations to come, cementing her legacy as one of England’s beloved actresses.