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Rachel Roberts Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (3)

Born in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (barbiturate poisoning)
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 (1954) a drama film about the life of women in prison. Around the early sixties, it wasn't uncommon to see a British actress in feature films, usually such an actress would remain on the British screen for such time, but Roberts continued going strong, she's hard to forget as the cankerous housewife in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960).

After her divorce from Rex Harrison in 1971, Roberts continued such supporting roles usually as tough authority women characters or villainous beauties in films including Doctors' Wives (1971), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Foul Play (1978), When a Stranger Calls (1979) and Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981). Although never far from the screen, she was occasionally seen on television, such as Mrs. Bonnie McClellan in the 1976 series The Tony Randall Show (1976). She probably achieved her greatest success as Richard Harris's love interest in the film This Sporting Life (1963) which earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. Rachel Roberts committed suicide in November of 1980 of a "barbiturate overdose" at her home in Studio City, California. Roberts was only 53 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Blythe379@cs.com

Spouse (2)

Rex Harrison (21 March 1962 - 19 February 1971) (divorced)
Alan Dobie (1955 - 1961) (divorced)

Trivia (11)

The only actress to date that kept a vivid account of her life on record up until the very eve of her death. This account was published posthumously as No Bells on Sunday: The Rachel Roberts Journals (edited by the late Alexander Walker and interwoven with commentary and interviews from friends and colleagues; Pavilion Books and Simon & Schuster, London & New York, first editions 1984).
Actual suicide was a result of swallowing lye, alkali, or another unidentified caustic substance on top of the barbiturates which were ingested as detailed in her posthumously published journals. The acidic effect of the poisonous agent was an immediate cause of death which propelled her body through a decorative glass screen. She was found by her gardener cut to ribbons in a negligee on her kitchen floor amongst the shards of glass on November 26, 1980.
Played quite a few gravelly-voiced musical roles in the 1950s on stage before she focused on drama, including Talk of the Night, The Buccaneer, Oh, My Papa! and Maggie May.
Making her debut as Ceres in Twelfth Night with Sir Michael Redgrave in 1951, she performed at the Old Vic Company in 1954 and 1955 with Shakespearean roles in Macbeth, Love's Labour's Lost, Othello and Henry V.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where she was awarded the Athene Seyler Award for Comedy.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1974 Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for performances with the New Phoenix Repertory Company.
Became the first Welsh actress to win a BAFTA (British version of the "Oscar") for "Best British Actress" for her sterling performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960).
Her marriage to Rex Harrison surprised many of her friends, since she was a dedicated socialist and he a fervent Tory.
Her father was a clergyman.
Studied at the University of Wales.
She was cremated at the Chapel of the Pines Crematorium in Los Angeles and her ashes scattered along with those of Jill Bennett on the River Thames by Lindsay Anderson.

Personal Quotes (3)

Whenever I act well, my head clears. Always a bit frail I was personally, but never professionally.
It is very difficult to be taken seriously when you're introduced at a party to somebody as the fourth Mrs Rex Harrison.
Everybody has a story...and a scream.

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