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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 13 May 1907London, England, UK
Date of Death 19 April 1989Par, Cornwall, England, UK

Mini Bio (1)

Daphne Du Maurier was one of the most popular English writers of the 20th Century, when middle-brow genre fiction was accorded a higher level of respect in a more broadly literate age. For her services to literature, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969, the female equivalent of a knighthood. Thus, she achieved a trifecta of sorts, as her father and her husband were both knights.

She was born on May 13, 1907 in London, the second daughter of the famous actor-manager Gerald du Maurier, who himself was knighted in 1922, and the actress Muriel Beaumont. Her grandfather was the famous anglo-French writer George L. Du Maurier, the creator of Svengali in his 1894 novel "Trilby". (She was also cousin to the Llewelyn Davies boys, through her grandfather Gerald. The boys were the inspiration for the boys in J.M. Barrie' Peter Pan (1924) and his Neverland works.) Her husband was also famous: Frederick A. M. Browning, the WWII Commander "Boy" Browning renowned as the "father of the British airborne forces." He helped plan and execute Operation Market Garden, an airborne operation that put Allied troops into Germany and the Netherlands, an ultimately unsuccessful venture chronicled in Cornelius Ryan's A Bridge Too Far (1977). During the Second World War, Boy Browning achieved the rank of Lieutenant General and a knighthood.

Daphne published her first short story in 1928; her first novel, "The Loving Spirit", was published in 1931, and her last, "Rule Britannia", forty-one year later. In between, she achieved her greatest success with the novel Rebecca (1940), which was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into a classic film that won the Best Picture Oscar for 1940. Another novel, Don't Look Now (1973), adapted by Nicolas Roeg, is also considered a classic film in Britain.

Along with "Rebecca", she had great successes with her novels Jamaica Inn (1939) and Frenchman's Creek (1944), both of which were adapted into movies. The three novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived. In addition to multiple non-fiction books, Daphne Du Maurier also wrote three plays (including an adaptation of "Rebecca").

She died on April 19, 1989, in Par in her beloved Cornwall, five weeks shy of her 82nd birthday.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick A. M. Browning (19 July 1932 - 14 March 1965) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (6)

Second daughter of famed actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and Muriel Beaumont, and younger sister of Angela Du Maurier. She was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1969 Queen's Honours List for her services to literature.
Granddaughter of author George L. Du Maurier.
She had two daughters named Tessa and Flavia (b. 1937) and a son, Christian Frederick 'Kits' Browning (b. 1940).
In her 2005 album, "The Beekeeper", Tori Amos wrote the song "Jamaica Inn" as a tribute to her work as a writer, with quotes from her books "Rebecca" and the eponymous "Jamaica Inn".
Her most famous novel, "Rebecca", was set in a 70-room manor. The manor actually exists and is called Menabilly, on the Cornwall coast in the extreme southwest of England close to Fowey. Du Maurier had seen it as a child and was so struck by it that she told everyone she would one day move into the estate. In 1943, after she had become a world-famous and best-selling author, she and her husband actually leased Menabilly for 25 years and moved in. Before Daphne's husband died, he was able to sign a contract that enabled Daphne to move to Kilmerth close by. Kilmerth inspired her to write the novel "The House on the Strand".
She was only nine days older than Laurence Olivier, who played Maximilian de Winter in Rebecca (1940), the adaptation of her 1938 novel of the same name.

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