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Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (4)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 7 March 1934Birmingham, England, UK
Date of Death 24 August 2003Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England, UK

Mini Bio (1)

British actress Zena Walker would become better known for her output of theatre work than film. Born on March 7, 1934, in Birmingham, she was the daughter of George Walker, a grocer, and wife Elizabeth Louise (Hammond). A sensuous, graceful, dusky-voiced presence, she was educated at St. Martin's School and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She turned down a film contract by Alexander Korda at this time in favor of additional training. She made her debut in Birmingham in 1950 in a walk-on part in "Smooth-Faced Gentleman". From there, she played a number of lovely Shakespearean femmes in repertory at the Stratford and the Old Vic, including "Miranda" in "The Tempest" (1952), "Juliet" in "Romeo and Juliet" (1954), "Katharine" in "Henry V" (1955) and "Perdita" in "The Winter's Tale" (1955).

Following occasional TV work in the late 1950s, she entered 1960s films with little fanfare although she did meet and subsequently marry her first husband, actor Robert Urquhart, while making Danger Tomorrow (1960). She had a tendency to be a prime emoter in quickie little "B" crimers and while her film work in Snowball (1960), The Hellions (1961), Emergency (1962) and The Model Murder Case (1963) and Daylight Robbery (1964) was commendable, it certainly did not advance her career.

She returned to the theater after some time to raise a child and impressed in a number of classical roles including "Man and Superman", "The Cherry Orchard", "The Fighting Cock" and as "Lady MacDuff" in "Macbeth". In 1967, she was critically lauded for her role as "Sheila", the mother of a handicapped child, in the black comedy "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg", which she took to Broadway and earned the Tony award for "featured actress" opposite Albert Finney.

Noted earlier for her ethereal beauty, she later earned respect for the vulnerability, maturity and emotional depth of her matronly roles. Neglected for the most part in films, she found more prolific work on TV, notably the series Man at the Top (1970). One of her last roles was an episode of Rosemary & Thyme (2003) in 2003. She died in August of that year in Brockenhurst, Hampshire at age 69. Following her divorce to Urquhart, she married and divorced actor Julian Holloway, who was the son of "My Fair Lady" actor Stanley Holloway, and then theatrical agent John French. She had two children by her first marriage; her son tragically died while in his teens. Like other British stage notables, she was sinfully wasted in films. She could have easily pulled off a remarkable senior career (i.e., Judi Dench) had the opportunity appeared.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Julian Holloway (30 July 1971 - ?) (divorced)
John French (? - 24 August 2003) (her death)
Robert Urquhart (? - ?) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (4)

Has one daughter. A son died in his teens.
Became an Associate Member of RADA.
Won Broadway's 1968 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for Peter Nichols's "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg."
Bred horses.

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