Back to the Future "Save the Clock Tower" Actress Elsa Raven Dies at 91
Character actress Elsa Raven, best known to many film fans as being the women in Back to the Future that hopes to "Save The Clock Tower" in Hill Valley, has passed away. News of her death comes from Deadline who notes that she passed away on Tuesday in her hom in Los Angeles. Born Elsa Rabinowitz on September 21, 1929, in Charleston, South Carolina, Raven was 91 at the time of her passing. Though she was best known for her minor roles in both Hollywood blockbusters, indies, and television, she started her career on the stage in New York City. May she rest in peace.
Though billed as the "Clocktower Lady" in Robert Zemeckis' 1985 comedy-fantasy, Raven had a pivotal role in the feature film. Early in the film, when Marty is still unaware of Doc Brown's time travel shenanigans, he's sitting in front of the clock tower that will become the pivotal focal point of the film's third act and in getting him back home. He's interrupted in kissing his girlfriend by "Clocktower Lady" who's raising money for the "The Hill Valley Preservation Society" to combat efforts by Mayor Wilson to replace the clock. Their mission is to keep the clock exactly as it is. Marty donates a quarter.
Raven previously spoke about her experience working on the film in an interview with Uproxx, recalling the kindness that star Michael J. Fox showed her after their scene together. "I worked with Michael J. Fox on a Friday, and we did the scene on the bench. I was able to park my car just the equivalent of a city block away from the set, close to the place we worked at the square in Universal Studios lot. And I was in my car ready to drive off when Michael J. Fox came running up to the car and stuck his head into the car and said, 'I just wanted to say goodbye and what a pleasure it was to work with you." And I said, 'Thank you! You're gonna get that pleasure again cause I have to come back Monday to do reverse shots!" For him to come running to the parking lot to catch me before I drove away – I was so pleased and touched by that."
Raven's career on the big screen didn't start of end with Back to the Future however having previously appeared in films like Twilight Zone: The Movie, The Honeymoon Killers, and the original version of The Amityville Horror. After the Zemeckis film she would go on to appear in Another You, Indecent Proposal, In the Line of Fire, and most famously in James Cameron's Titanic. For the 1997 romantic drama, Raven took on the part of real-life figure Ida Straus, the wife of Isidor Straus, the co-owner of the Macy's department store, who both tragically died in the ship's sinking (and who fans will know as the couple that die in bed together in the movie).
The actress also had minor roles on television, appearing on The A-Team, General Hospital, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Murphy Brown, Seinfeld, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Everybody Loves Raymond.