130 Great British Actresses

British actresses who started their careers in the 20th Century
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1.
Dawn Addams
Maybe because her beauty was too smooth or because her acting talents were limited or both, Dawn Addams, the daughter of an R.A.F. officer, had an undistinguished film career, in which second-rate pictures far outnumber quality ones. Among the latter: Otto Preminger's risqué (for its time) The Moon Is Blue, Charles Chaplin's bitter A King in New York and Fritz Lang's last The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse.
 
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Jenny Agutter
Actress, The Avengers
Jenny Agutter was born on December 20, 1952, in Taunton, Somerset, England, UK. The daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood traveling and living in different countries. Her film career began at the age of 12 in East of Sudan, which was quickly followed by Ballerina: Part 1 and Ballerina: Part 2...
 
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Jean Anderson
Actress, The Brothers
Gaunt Sussex-born actress of Scottish descent whose dignified manner and plain, but expressive features qualified her for a wide range of character parts, from austere nurses and long-suffering mothers to overbearing dowagers and nosy gossips; from meddlesome chaperones to authoritarian aunts and intransigent spinsters...
 
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Julie Andrews
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
“ also known for "Mary Poppins" ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Peggy Ashcroft
Actress, The 39 Steps
Academy Award-winning, legendary English actress - who maintained her status in the British acting elite for decades. Made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. Almost always on stage, she appeared rarely in film, her first being The Wandering Jew. On stage she was cast in many a Shakespearean role...
 
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Jane Asher
Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English actress, author and entrepreneur, who achieved early fame as a child actress, and has worked extensively in film and TV throughout her career. She has appeared in TV shows and films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, Deep End, The Mistress (1985-1987)...
 
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Eileen Atkins
Actress, Cold Mountain
Eileen Atkins was born in a Salvation Army Women's Hostel in north London. Her father was a gas meter reader; her mother, a seamstress and barmaid. A drama teacher taught her how to drop her Cockney accent, and she studied Shakespeare and Greek tragedies. Her breakthrough role in "The Killing of Sister George" took her to Broadway.
 
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Hermione Baddeley
Actress, Mary Poppins
A brash character actress who specialized in cinema, television, and theater, Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was born on November 13, 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire. She was the youngest of four sisters - including Angela Baddeley, also an actress - and her half-brother, Very Rev William Baddeley, was a Church of England Minister...
 
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Amanda Barrie
This feisty and very funny British comedienne and musical revue vet with the trademark 60s brunet page-boy haircut, pronounced jaw, and arguably the largest, Bette Davis-like eyes in London was born Shirley Anne Broadbent in Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire on September 14, 1935. The daughter of Hubert Howath Broadbent...
 
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Edna Best
Genteel, lady-like British actress who was a much respected theatrical star in the 1920's and 30's, both in her own country and in the United States. Born in March 1917 in Hove, Sussex, she took to the stage at the age of seventeen as Ela Delahay in 'Charley's Aunt'. She played Peter Pan three years later and married the first of her actor husbands...
 
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Jacqueline Bisset
Actress, Bullitt
Jacqueline Bisset has been an international film star since the late 1960s. She received her first roles mainly because of her stunning beauty, but over time she has become a fine actress respected by fans and critics alike. Bisset has worked with directors John Huston, François Truffaut, George Cukor and Roman Polanski...
 
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Honor Blackman
Actress, Goldfinger
Comparing this sultry-eyed blonde to Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich may seem a bit overzealous, but Honor Blackman's stylish allure over the years cannot be denied. One of four children, Blackman was born in London's East End to a statistician father employed with the civil service and a homemaker mother...
 
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Brenda Blethyn
Actress, Atonement
After twenty years of hard work on stage and both television and film, there are not many other actresses who deserved the success, recognition and stardom which Brenda Blethyn has now achieved. Born in 1946 in Ramsgate, Kent, England, she started her career at British Rail in the 1960s. Saving money during her time there...
 
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Claire Bloom
Age has not taken the flower off this Bloom. The well-known and respected stage, screen and television actress Claire Bloom, originally named Patricia Claire Blume, continues to be in demand as a septuagenarian actress and looks as beautiful as ever. She was born Patricia Claire Bloom on February 15...
 
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Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful. Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant banker...
“ Best known for: "A Room with a View" ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Phyllis Calvert
Actress, Kate
Phyllis Hannah Bickle was born in Chelsea in 1915 and studied dancing at the Margaret Morris school of dance, until an injury forced her to give up dancing and turn instead to acting. Her 70 year film career began with a bit part in The Arcadians when she was just 12 years old. Along with over 40 movies...
“ Best Known for "Madonna of the Seven Moons", "Mandy". ” - glyntreharne-1
 
22.
Madeleine Carroll
Actress, The 39 Steps
The original ash-blonde "iceberg maiden", Madeleine Carroll was a knowing beauty with a confident air, the epitome of poise and "breeding". Not only did she have looks and allure in abundance, but she had intellectual heft to go with them, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham University at the age of 20...
“ Best Known for: "The 39 Steps", "The Prisoner of Zenda". ” - glyntreharne-1
 
23.
Julie Christie
Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino called "the most poetic of all actresses", was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, the daughter of a tea planter, Frank St. John Christie, and his wife, Rosemary (Ramsden), who was a painter. Her family was of English, and some Scottish...
“ Best known for: "Darling", "Doctor Zhivago". ” - glyntreharne-1
 
25.
Petula Clark
Petula Clark was a star at the age of 11. She starred in the music halls and on BBC radio singing for the troops during WWII. She was a child star in a series of British films from the end of WWII through to the early 1950s,and by 1954 was having hit records. After a move to France in 1960, having fallen for a Frenchman...
 
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“ Best known for "The Bitch", "Dynasty" (tv series). ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins, OBE, came to prominence with portraying Sarah Moffat in BBC's Upstairs, Downstairs and its spin-off Thomas and Sarah during the 1970s. After having played the title-role in the play "Shirley Valentine" for which she earned Laurence Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk awards, she reprised the role in its film adaptation Shirley Valentine...
 
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Gladys Cooper
Actress, My Fair Lady
Gladys Cooper was the daughter of journalist William Frederick Cooper and his wife Mabel Barnett. As a child she was very striking and was used as a photographic model beginning at six years old. She wanted to become an actress and started on that road in 1905 after being discovered by Seymour Hicks to tour with his company in "Bluebell in Fairyland"...
 
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Rosalie Crutchley
Actress, The Haunting
Acclaimed actress Rosalie Crutchley originally trained at the Royal Academy of Music. She made her acting debut in repertory in 1938 at the Liverpool Playhouse. She made her Broadway debut in 1950. The Guild of Television named her best actress of the year in 1956 for Black Limelight. Her darkly Mediterranean complexion and gaunt...
 
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Brenda de Banzie
The daughter of a musical conductor, fair-haired, slightly plump Brenda de Banzie appeared in just a handful of films. As the result of two outstanding performances, she became an unexpected star when well into her middle age. Brenda first came to public notice as a sixteen year old chorine on the London stage in "Du Barry Was a Lady"...
 
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Judi Dench
Actress, Skyfall
Judi Dench was born in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre...
 
35.
Diana Dors
Actress, Blonde Sinner
Diana Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck on October 23, 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. She and her mother both nearly died from the traumatic birth. Because of the trauma, her mother lavished on Diana anything and everything she wanted--clothes, toys and dance lessons were the order of the day. Diana's love of films began when her mother took her to the local movies theaters...
 
37.
Shirley Eaton
Actress, Goldfinger
Long before Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty and company showed up in 80s TV households, Hollywood had, in effect, its own original "Golden Girl"...literally...in the form of stunning British actress Shirley Eaton. Although she found definitive cult stardom in 1964 with her final golden moment in a certain "007" film...
 
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Edith Evans
Edith Evans was the greatest actress on the English stage in the 20th century, treading the boards for over half-a-century. She made her professional stage debut in 1912 and excelled in both classic and modern roles in the West End of London and on Broadway, as well as the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Old Vic...
“ Best Known for "The Importance of Being Ernest", "The Whisperers". ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Shirley Anne Field
Actress, Santa Barbara
Shirley Anne Field is one of Britain's most highly respected actresses. She has starred opposite Laurence Olivier, Albert Finney, Steve McQueen, Michael Caine, Daniel Day-Lewis and Ned Beatty in such classic films as: The Entertainer, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The War Lover, Alfie, My Beautiful Laundrette and Hear My Song...
 
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Gracie Fields
Soundtrack, Chicken Run
A comedienne and singer in the British Music Halls, she was the top box-office draw and the highest paid actress in Britain in the 1930's. Her Northern, working-class girl character was a favourite during the inter-war years.
“ Best known for "Sally in Our Alley", "Sing As We Go", "Shipyard Sally", "The Old Lady Shows Her Medals" (tv).
The first actress to portray Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Greer Garson
Actress, Mrs. Miniver
Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was born on September 29, 1904 in London, England, to Nancy Sophia (Greer) and George Garson, a commercial clerk. She was of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. Her childhood was a normal if not non-descript life. Greer showed no early signs of interest in becoming an actress...
“ Best known for "Mrs Miniver". ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Judy Geeson
Born in Arundel, Sussex in 1948, Judy's father moved the family into London when she was 10 years old and enrolled her and sister Sally Geeson into the Corona Academy, Chiswick. Judy initially wanted to be a ballet dancer but had to change course when she suffered from terrible headaches as a result of some of the moves but acting had always been a great interest and she chose to pursue this...
 
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Hermione Gingold
Actress, Gigi
One of stage, screen, radio and TV's most delightful, inimitable eccentrics, Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold was born the daughter of an upscale Austrian financier and English homemaker. She made her stage debut in 1908, thus beginning a long, commanding presence in London playing everything from Jessica...
 
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Dulcie Gray
Actress, Howards' Way
Veteran British actress Dulcie Gray's career is often linked with that of her late actor/husband Michael Denison, with whom she appeared frequently on stage, TV and in films. Dulcie was born in Malaya, where her father was a lawyer and sent her to boarding school in England at quite an early age. Originally interested in dance until the lure of the theatre altered her direction...
 
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Sally Gray
Lovely, statuesque actress Sally Gray, complete with husky voice and dumb blonde persona was born Constance Vera Stevens in London, England on February 14, 1915. In a career instigated by her ballerina mother, Sally began performing at age 10 in minstrel shows and was initially trained in dance and acting at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art...
 
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Joan Greenwood
Joan Greenwood, of the plummy feline voice, was born in the well-to-do London section of Chelsea, the daughter of renowned portrait painter Sydney Earnshaw Greenwood (1887-1949). Dancing from the age of eight, she took ballet lessons and later enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Graduating at age 18...
 
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Joyce Grenfell
Toothy Britisher Joyce Grenfell with her stark, equine features charmed and humored audiences both here and abroad on radio, stage, revues, film and TV for nearly four decades. Lovingly remembered as a delightfully witty monologist and raconteur, she inherited her bold talents from her eccentric socialite mother...
 
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Susan Hampshire
Susan Hampshire, the English actress who has won three Emmy Awards, was born in Kensington, London on May 12, 1937. Her original ambition was to be a nurse, but she could not pass her O-Level exam in Latin. (She found out when she was 30 years old that she was dyslexic, and her work on dyslexia subsequently...
 
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Sheila Hancock
Sheila Hancock was born February 22, 1933. on the Isle of Wight. She later moved to King's Cross in London, where her mother and father ran a pub. Sheila went to Dartford Grammar School, and then with a grant she went to RADA. She then went into nine years of weekly repertory around the country. While in repertory in Bath she met actor Alec Ross...
 
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Kathleen Harrison
Although British actress Kathleen Harrison was born in 1892 in the Lancashire town of Blackburn, she was fondly known for her cockney characters throughout her career. Trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art she first married and lived overseas in Argentina for nearly eight years...
 
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Anne Heywood
Actress, The Fox
Befitting her original name (Violet Pretty), the knockout English brunette Anne Heywood won the coveted "Miss Great Britain" beauty title in 1950 at the young age of 17. Born on December 11, 1932, the daughter of a violinist, she originally trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She...
 
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Joan Hickson
Joan Hickson was born in 1906 at Kingsthorpe, Northampton. Her stage career began with provincial theater in 1927, going on to a long series of West End comedies, usually playing the part of a confused or eccentric middle-age woman. She performed at the Regent's Park Open Air Theater, at the time London was subject to World War II bombing...
 
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Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller, daughter of Frank and Marie Hiller, was born on 15th August 1912 in Bramhall, near Stockport, Cheshire, England. She was educated at Winceby House School, Bexhill then moved on to Manchester Repertory Theatre. She appeared on stage in Sir John Barry's tour of Evensong, then as Sally Hardcastle in Love on the Dole...
 
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Thora Hird
In a career than spanned eight decades, Thora Hird was widely-regarded as one of Britain's finest character actresses. She made over 100 films as well as starring in a host of TV comedies and, as a straight actress, excelled in the works of playwright Alan Bennett. Even in her 90s, she was working almost daily...
 
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Valerie Hobson
Elegant, quintessentially English (although born in Northern Ireland) Valerie Hobson was the daughter of a British army officer. She studied dancing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and appeared on the stage for the first time at age 16, but she contracted a case of scarlet fever and decided to give up dancing for acting...
 
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Freda Jackson
Freda Jackson was born in Nottingham, England in 1908, the daughter of a railway porter. After studying at High Pavement School and the University College there, she became a schoolteacher but gave up her career to study acting at the Royal College of Art, in London. Her first professional stage appearance was in Northampton...
 
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Glenda Jackson
Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead...
“ Best known for "Women in Love" ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Hattie Jacques
Actress, Sykes
Prior to entering show business, she worked as a Red Cross nurse and as a welder. She did an audition at the Players Theatre on a Friday, on the Monday she was a professional entertainer singing Marie Lloyd songs. She got the name Hattie while at the Players when as part of her act she sang a negro song...
 
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Megs Jenkins
Actress, The Innocents
An engineer's daughter, she had first planned on becoming a ballerina, using her original Christian name Muguette, but abandoned those plans by the age of 17 when she realized that her physique was more in keeping with her other first name, Megs. She trained in Liverpool at the School of Dancing and...
 
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Glynis Johns
Actress, Mary Poppins
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton) in the classic Under Milk Wood...
 
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Jean Kent
Vivacious, hazel-eyed, strawberry-haired Jean Kent was a popular star of British films in the 1940's and early 50's. The daughter of variety performers Norman Field and Nina Norre, she was convent-educated. By the age of ten, she accompanied her mother on tour, then spent several years in the chorus line at London's Windmill Theatre in the West End...
“ Best known for "The Browning Version" ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Deborah Kerr
Born Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in Scotland in 1921, she was the daughter of a soldier who had been gassed in World War I. A shy, insecure child, she found an outlet for expressing her feelings in acting. Her aunt, a radio star, got her some stage work when she was a teenager, and she came to the attention of British film producer Gabriel Pascal...
 
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Angela Lansbury
British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her first film...
 
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Belinda Lee
Green-eyed blonde bombshell Belinda Lee was born in Devon, England to a hotel owner (Robert Esmond Lee) and florist (Stella Mary Graham) on June 15, 1935. Nicknamed Billie, she was an incredible beauty while still in her early teens, attending the Rookesbury Park Prep School at Hampshire and St. Margaret's boarding school at Devon...
 
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Vivien Leigh
Vivian Mary Hartley was born on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, India. She was to live in this beautiful country for the next six years. Her parents wanted to go home to England but because of World War I they opted to stay in India. At the end of the war the Hartleys headed back to their home country...
 
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Margaret Leighton
British theatre actress Margaret Leighton made her classical stage debut at age 16. The daughter of a businessman, she joined the Old Vic Company under the direction of Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson and in the late 40s and 50s earned kudos for her theatrical endeavors on both the London and Broadway stages...
 
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Margaret Lockwood
Karachi-born Margaret Lockwood, daughter of a British colonial railway clerk, was educated in London and studied to be an actress at the Italia Conti Drama School. Her first moment on stage came at the age of 12, when she played a fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1928. She had a bit part in the Drury Lane production of "Cavalcade" in 1932...
“ Best known for "The Lady Vanishes", "Love Story" (1944),"The Wicked Lady" (1945), "Cast a Dark Shadow", "Justice" (tv series) ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley was born in Kashmir, India, on 1st May 1946. Her father was a major in the Gurkha Rifles, and she spent most of her early childhood in the Far East where her father was posted. An aspiring actress, she first came to fame as a model in London's swinging 1960s, where she was photographed by the greats...
 
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Kelly Macdonald
Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was born and raised in Glasgow. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, a sales executive in the garment industry. She has one brother, David. As a hobby, she acted in an amateur theatrical club, which she enjoyed a great deal. Macdonald was working as a barmaid...
 
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Virginia McKenna
Actress, Born Free
Talented flaxen-blonde British star combined her deep loves for acting and for wildlife throughout most her adult life. Born in London, England on June 7, 1931, her family possessed a sturdy theatrical background. Mother Anne was a jazz pianist, composer and cabaret performer while father Terry, an auctioneer, had relatives in the arts including actress Fay Compton and author Compton MacKenzie...
 
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Jessie Matthews
Born to a huge, poor family in Soho in London's West End, Jessie Matthews became a big stage star in the late 1920s and 1930s, enjoying some crossover success in musical films. Her career never quite relaunched after the war, though, but she staged a comeback when she replaced the lead actress in the radio soap "Mrs Dale's Diary" in the 1960s...
 
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Sarah Miles
Actress, Blow-Up
Sarah Miles is an English actress whose career flourished during the Swinging Sixties and in the early Seventies. The high point of her career came when her husband, screenwriter Robert Bolt, adapted "Madame Bovary" into a story set during the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland. Directed by David Lean...
 
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Hayley Mills
Born Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills in London, England, on Thursday, April 18th, 1946, she is the daughter of the great actor Sir John Mills and the well-known novelist-playwright Mary Hayley Bell. Her sister is the actress Juliet Mills. She grew up in her parents' home, an outgoing, funny child...
 
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Helen Mirren
Actress, The Queen
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
“ also known for "Prime Suspect" (tv series) ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Yvonne Mitchell
Britisher Yvonne Mitchell was first and foremost a stage actress who began her career quite early as a teen. By the time of her death, she had performed under the theatre lights for over four decades. Her output in films and TV paled in comparison, but the work she put out in those mediums were of unusually high quality with mature themes...
“ also known for "1984" (tv), "Yield to the Night", ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Peggy Mount
Actress, Oliver!
“ also known for "Sailor Beware", The Naked Truth", "The Larkins" (tv series) ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Barbara Murray
A self-assured and stylish actress, Barbara Murray was born into a showbusiness family, the daughter of actors and granddaughter of professional ballroom dancers. She was first thrust into the limelight as a six year old, dancing in the family variety act. Barbara and her mother were evacuated to Wales upon the outbreak of World War II...
 
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Anna Neagle
Actress, Odette
Dame Anna Neagle, the endearingly popular British star during WWII, was born Florence Marjorie Robertson and began dancing as a professional in chorus lines at age 14. She starred with actor Jack Buchanan in the musical "Stand Up and Sing" in the West End and earned her big break when producer/director Herbert Wilcox...
“ also known for "Sixty Glorious Years", "Charlie Girl" (stage) ” - glyntreharne-1
 
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Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon was born in Bombay, of mixed Welsh-Indian parentage, as Estelle "Queenie" Thompson. According to Michael Korda, she "became a feature of Bombay nightlife while still in her early teens and eventually made her way to England as the girlfriend of a wealthy young Englishman." In London she...
 
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Tessie O'Shea
She was aptly and affectionately dubbed "Two Ton Tessie" not only for her plentiful girth but for the tons of talent she possessed as one of the British Isle's most beloved, unabashed music hall entertainers. Welsh star Tessie O'Shea was born Teresa O'Shea and was already showing off as a youngster capturing prizes for the talent contests she entered with her singing and dancing...
 
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Muriel Pavlow
Lovely, delicate-looking actress Muriel Pavlow belongs firmly to the British cinema of the 1950s and often provided a nice counterbalance to the hectic goings-on in many comedies. Born in 1921 in Leigh, Kent, England, she was a dominant stage actress despite her petite frame and made her theatrical debut at age 15 with a production of "The Old Maid" (1936)...
 
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Nova Pilbeam
Nova Pilbeam was a stage veteran as a child, and in her teen years was given a small but very important role in Alfred Hitchcock's first version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Hitchcock later put her in the starring role in "Young and Innocent". She was praised for her gifted role in the now forgotten film about the Tudors "Nine Days a Queen" aka "Tudor Rose"...
 
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Joan Plowright
Dame Joan Ann Plowright, the Baroness Olivier, is one of the most distinguished actors of her generation. She may be best remembered as the third wife and widow of Laurence Olivier, generally considered the greatest anglophone actor of the 20th Century, but she had a distinguished career of her own on stage and screen spanning six decades...
 
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Charlotte Rampling
Actress, Swimming Pool
Tessa Charlotte Rampling was born 5 February 1946 in Sturmer, England, to Isabel Anne (Gurteen), a painter, and Godfrey Lionel Rampling, an Olympic gold medalist, army officer, and colonel, who became a NATO commander. She was educated at Jeanne d'Arc Académie pour Jeunes Filles in Versailles, France and at the exclusive St...
 
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Lynn Redgrave
Actress of both the English and American stage and screen, Lynn Redgrave was born in Marylebone, London, England, into one of the world's most famous acting dynasties. As the daughter of Rachel Kempson and Sir Michael Redgrave, sister of Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave, and granddaughter of Roy Redgrave and Margaret Scudamore...
 
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Vanessa Redgrave
On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave...
 
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Beryl Reid
Beryl Reid was the daughter of Scottish parents and grew up in industrial Manchester, England. She left home at the age of 16 to go and work in a shop. She lasted 6 weeks. She applied for and was accepted in a revue in the Summer season in Bridlington. She had no formal training but joined the National Theater in London as a comedy actress...
 
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Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg is an English actress. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in Medea, both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Rigg made her professional stage debut in 1957 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle...
 
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Rachel Roberts
Beautiful, swift and tough-tongued British character actress Rachel Roberts gained notice for her roles on the English stage, before she hit it largely in films. Born in Wales and married to actor Rex Harrison in 1962, Roberts made her film debut in a key role in J. Lee Thompson's Young and Willing a drama film about the life of women in prison...
 
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Flora Robson
Flora Robson knew she was no beauty, but her wise and sympathetic face would become a familiar - indeed, shining - ornament of the 1930s and 40s silver screen. Though not sure of acting as a career in her early years, she nevertheless appeared on stage for the first time at 5 years old. She was educated...
 
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Patricia Roc
One of Britain's biggest female stars of the post-war years, she appeared at various positions (3rd being the highest) in the British and Motion Picture Herald popularity polls, between 1945-50. She was pretty, vivacious and charming, which was all most of her early roles called for. She appeared in a number of the hugely popular wartime Gainsborough costume dramas...