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Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (30)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 12 May 1937Kensington, London, England, UK
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 brought her the Officer of the British Empire award.) She decided to become an actress and gained training in the theater. She made her movie debut, at 10 years old, in The Woman in the Hall (1947) but her proper debut was in the Laurence Harvey picture, Expresso Bongo (1959), in 1958. Her career has never faltered.

Hampshire made a name for herself in her native Britain, appearing in Katy (1962) on TV in 1962 for the BBC. Walt Disney signed her to star in the 1964 family picture, The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963), but it was her role in the 1967 BBC mini-series, The Forsyte Saga (1967), that made her famous and won her the first of her three Emmy Awards. Shown in the United States on the precursor to PBS, the great popularity of the series led the new PBS to create Masterpiece Classic (1971). The First Churchills (1969), in which Hampshire played "Sarah Churchill", was the first series offered on "Masterpiece Theater" and brought her her second Emmy. In 1973, she won her third, playing "Becky Sharp" in Vanity Fair (1967), for a mini-series that had been released in the UK in 1967.

Susan Hampshire has continued to be active on television and in the theater. She has been married to her second husband, the theatrical impresario, Sir Eddie Kulukundis, since 1981.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Eddie Kulukundis (1981 - present)
Pierre Granier-Deferre (1967 - 1974) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Gorgeous brown eyes, high cheekbones, West End accent, demure manner

Trivia (10)

She wrote her memoir "Susan's Story" about dealing with her dyslexia. Prominent spokeswoman for dyslexia causes in Britain.
She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to dyslexic people.
Wearing an extremely low-cut dress, she was presented to the Prince of Wales at a show-business function in 1973. The Prince told her, "My father told me that if I ever met a lady in a dress like yours, I must look her straight in the eyes."
December 31, 2000: Announced to Sunday Telegraph that she had joined Exit, the voluntary euthanasia society.
Mother of Christopher Granier-Deferre with Pierre Granier-Deferre. In 2006 she became a grandmother with the birth of Christopher's son Raphael.
On her own volition she visited Albert Schweitzer in Africa for two weeks.
Dated Nicky Henson in the '70s.
Her daughter, Victoria Granier-Deferre, died in infancy.
She had numerous miscarriages during the early 1970s, following the birth of her son Christopher.
Ex-stepmother of Denys Granier-Deferre.

Personal Quotes (30)

... there's no better part than a nasty person. After Fleur, I played a whole series of them: Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was in her own way a monster, Becky Sharp was also a monster, and in the theatre I've played a lot of monsters, but for some reason people only ever remember me playing these sweet simpering girls who wouldn't say boo to a goose. It must be something about my personality which is deceiving people!
'Colour TV was incredible. You would turn it on just to look at a tree. It was so exciting to see it not in black and white.' - recalling the 1970s.
I can't think it's satisfying for a woman to be a ballbreaker, and it must be dreadful for the man.
I went to do a fete the other day and all the under tens called me Molly [from Monarch of the Glen (2000)]. And sometimes children call me 'Susan Hamster' which I love - it's so sweet isn't it? - 2004
Describing Hollywood: All the men have crocodile wives and ulcers and gold-and-diamond rings they twist around their hairy fingers. The big shots also had arms they kept putting around me that managed to be long enough to reach my left breast. I told them, 'I don't have to do that. I can act.'
A common misperception of me is that I am privileged. If you speak with an accent like mine, people tend to think that you never had to work for living.
I had a tiny lump taken out of my breast in my early 40s; it wasn't malignant, but it's always good to check - both my parents died comparatively young of cancer.
I changed my nose when I was about 17 - it was straight and now it's slightly turned-up. It was probably a huge mistake, but when you're young you don't know about using make-up to rebalance your face.

My parents were furious. And it also looked dreadful to begin with. It was done by a man who did everybody in London at that time; there are several actresses of a similar age with very similarly shaped noses!

If I could turn the clock back, I don't think I'd have had it done. But it was a good learning curve, because today I'd run a mile from anything like plastic surgery.
In women the menopause tends to bring out irritability, whereas with men it's often expressed in the need to find another partner so they can still feel like Tarzan.
I'm not computer literate. I don't want to know anything about emails. I can just about cope with a mobile phone.
There have been periods where I've been down, but I made sure to get enough vitamin B and sun, as these help stave off depression. I'll also distract myself by being active, cleaning a cupboard or something constructive. A lot of it is to do with upbringing. If I was upset, my mother would say: 'Do something useful. Go and empty the dustbins.'
[After "drying onstage in "Black Chiffon"]: It was as though my memory had run away on a ticker tape. I knew I was on stage and I knew I was playing a character called Mrs Christie who was talking to a Dr Hawkins - but that was all. It was the last scene in the play and I just said: 'I'm sorry doctor, I'm so upset you must excuse me,' and walked into the wings. The prompter told me what I had to say next and I went back on, progressed the story a bit more, ad-libbing as I went, and then had to excuse myself again because I had run out of words.

"Forgetting my lines was nothing to do with my dyslexia. But being dyslexic made it difficult for me to cope.

"As soon as I'd read about six lines of my own script I was fine. I went back on and finished the play.

"My dyslexia always seems worse when I am tired or upset. That day I suppose my brain was just overloaded. I find it incredibly hard to learn my lines, but having done so my memory is really very good.
[on learning French in a week for Paris au mois d'août (1966)]: I think dyslexics have a natural aptitude for languages.
[on growing up with Dyslexia]: Everyone was very kind to me. I was never teased because I couldn't read. Dyslexia drove me to tears, but they were tears of frustration, not because anyone tormented me.
The first reading of a new script is just a nightmare. I can't skim because I am always worried that I might miss the bit which is the real reason for accepting the part. It takes so long because I don't know the story. If I know what a play is about it is much easier to read it. Finding the five hours to read isn't difficult, the hard part is finding the courage to begin. All that close type is what I find so daunting.
Funnily enough I never have trouble reading my own writing. All the books I have written have been in longhand on a yellow legal pad which is much easier for me to decipher than words on a white background.
My scripts get damp, wet, curled up, because sometimes I learn them lying in the bath. Sometimes I might be sitting on the lid of the lavatory seat.
[Some parts demand so much of her she has to leave home. She checks into a small hotel for a few days, never leaving her room.] I read, have a cup of tea, read, have a cup of tea . . . There was a tremendous amount of extra reading for The Pallisers (1974), which I found difficult. I hadn't read Galsworthy before I did The Forsyte Saga (1967) but luckily I found his work quite easy to read.
When shooting Living Free (1972)]: I found myself chasing a semi-wild lioness around the bush in Kenya with the camera crew 100 yards away, unable to come to my rescue if things went wrong. I was told to run right and veered left, running straight into the lioness. If she hadn't had a hat in her mouth that mistake would have cost me my life. From then on I wrote R on my right palm and L on my left, something I still do when it is really essential that I remember which way to move.
[When reading a children's story on the television programme Jackanory (1965)]: I tried to learn the whole book, sitting up night after night, because I had only four days until the recording. Once inside the studio I looked at the teleprompter but I couldn't read it. The more I panicked the less I could see. I pretended to read - but everything was a blur - and when the camera focussed on my face, my blank expression was obvious.
[When dubbing her own voice in the French releases of The Forsyte Saga (1967) and Paris au mois d'août (1966), reading from a script into a microphone] I went into the recording studios to do both but they were very long parts and after about half a day I just had to throw in the towel.
Some people think of marriage as a tight box and once you're in you're trapped. I never did at the time [of her marriage to Pierre Granier-Deferre]. But when you are married you think this will last for ever and so you make plans When a marriage ends you realise that nothing is forever. I live for the moment. If I thought I needed to map out my life, honestly I'd run a mile.
[In 1976, on her 1974 divorce from Pierre Granier-Deferre]: I felt strongly that I was free and could go anywhere without having to answer to anybody. Yet, far from branching out, my life in fact has narrowed in a way. For years I never had a minute to myself and now I feel I have all the time in the world.
[In 1976, on her 1974 divorce from Pierre Granier-Deferre]: Some people find it strange, some are actually quite disgusted that we have a good relationship. I never have understood why it is more acceptable to so many to end a marriage and cut that person out of your life as if he didn't exist, than to accept that the relationship has simply entered a new phase. I feel no bitterness now, why should I? Without Pierre I wouldn't have Christopher [Christopher Granier-Deferre]. The sadness, the disillusionment was when the marriage was splitting. Now that is in the past and we can still be friends. People thinks it's perverse that I don't hate him. He is very caring, very kind to us both.
[Fred Robbins interview, 1966]: When I set out in the business, all I wanted was to do was to be good at my job and not be somebody who wanted to marry someone if I didn't think I could make him happy. I don't think any girl who cares more about work than her man can make the man happy. It wouldn't be fair.
[Fred Robbins interview, 1966]: I don't really go out much. I mean I get a patch. I was in a successful London show that lasted ten months. it can become so that you sort of have to go; you feel that you want to shout rude words from the top of a building just to make yourself feel that you're not locked up. I used to go out and dance all night with a whole group of friends. We might do it three nights in a row and then I'd get very sensible and take care of myself, maybe not go out for months at a time.
[Fred Robbins interview, 1966]: I have a strange block. I could never believe that anybody could be attracted to me; when somebody says he's mad about you, I never quite believe him. I think he wants to go to bed with you and that doesn't mean anything. If he really likes you it's another thing.
[Fred Robbins interview, 1966]: I think every girl has found a way of handling [1960s sexual freedom] - from the age when you have to fight in taxis and you don't know what to do. You're crying and you get your dress torn and the whole thing. Then suddenly you get suave. I've never cultivated this thing of saying 'no' nicely. After all, everybody has the right to ask you and you have the right to say no. You can say, 'Not at the moment, I'm in love with someone else,' or, 'I think that you're marvelous but I don't want to be involved with someone who goes to bed with a lot of people.' If you go out with somebody and you discover he's someone who's going to care about you, then it's a different investment for both of you.
[Fred Robbins interview, 1966]: We're going through a stage [i.e., the 1960s sexual revolution] where, having been inhibited about sex, we've become uninhibited in order to become normal. I hope that in my children's time, everyone will take it for granted that people fall in love and have sex and it's great. I think love is a very special emotion one just doesn't throw around.
It's two and a half years [1970] since we did The Forsyte Saga (1967) and since I played Fleur, but you can't get rid of it, you can't shake it off the way you do other parts. Other parts you play and have done with, you shed like a snake sheds its skin. Not Fleur. Not Forsyte. I suppose that's because it's such an international addiction and because somewhere it is always starting up all over again.

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