Elsa Raven: 'Titanic' and 'Back to the Future' star dies aged 91

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Elsa Raven was recognisable for her role in 'Back to the Future'. (Credit: Universal/Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Elsa Raven was recognisable for her role in 'Back to the Future'. (Credit: Universal/Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Character actor Elsa Raven, who was best known for appearing in Titanic and Back to the Future, has passed away at the age of 91.

Her agent confirmed the news to Deadline on Wednesday.

Raven is most recognisable as the campaigner who urges Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly to “save the clock tower” in the 1985 film.

Read more: Back to the Future writer reveals behind-the-scenes stories

She portrayed Ida Straus in the movie Titanic and, although most of her scenes were cut, her character’s heart-breaking death alongside her husband in their bedroom features in the movie.

Her character was the wife of businessman Isidor Straus — co-owner of the Macy’s department store.

Elsa Raven and Lew Palter in 'Titanic'. (Credit: 20th Century Studios)
Elsa Raven and Lew Palter in 'Titanic'. (Credit: 20th Century Studios)

In a Hollywood career spanning more than 40 years, Raven also showed up in The Amityville Horror and Adrian Lyne thriller Indecent Proposal.

Her final big screen credit was in the ensemble cast of the 2011 mystery thriller Answers to Nothing.

Read more: James Cameron defends Titanic ending

Outside of her two most famous movie roles, she was best known for recurring work in the sitcom Amen and the 1980s crime drama series Wiseguy.

She also appeared on several long-running soap operas in the States, with roles on both Days of Our Lives and General Hospital.

Elsa Raven attends an outdoor screening of "Back to the Future" on August 11, 2012. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
Elsa Raven attends an outdoor screening of "Back to the Future" on August 11, 2012. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Raven was also famously an active member of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who watched as many of the eligible films as she could every year ahead of voting for the Oscars.

Fans of the Back to the Future franchise were among those to pay tribute to the star.

Read more: Bob Gale fills Back to the Future plot hole

Film producer Russ Cundiff wrote: “RIP Elsa — you have no idea how much my sister and I loved your role and how many times we quoted you.”

She is survived by a large extended family, including 15 nieces and nephews.

Watch: Leonardo DiCaprio almost didn’t play Jack in Titanic