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Joan Hickson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (17)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Kingsthorpe, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Died in Colchester, Essex, England, UK  (stroke)
Birth NameJoan Bogle Hickson
Nicknames Joanie
Miss M
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 Theatre, at the time London was subject to World War II bombing. Her work gradually included screen roles: The Outsider (1948), The Promoter (1952), The 39 Steps (1959) - over 80 movies in all - but her stage career continued, with parts in three Peter Nichols plays, Noël Coward's "Blithe Spirit" (1976) and and a Tony award supporting actress performance in Alan Ayckbourn's "Bedroom Farce" (1977). Her first Agatha Christie role was "Miss Pryce" in the play, "Appointment With Death" (1946), which prompted Christie, herself, to write "I hope you will play my dear Miss Marple". She began playing this, her best known part, in her late 70s, in a BBC television series which ran from 1984 to 1992. A Miss Marple fan, Queen Elizabeth II, awarded her the Order of the British Empire in 1987. After the series closed, Joan recorded audio books of the Christie mysteries. She died, aged 92, in a hospital at Colchester, Essex, survived by a son and daughter (her physician husband Eric Butler died in 1967).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (1)

Eric Norman Butler (29 October 1932 - 1967) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Straw hat and handbag

Trivia (15)

Agatha Christie saw Ms. Hickson in the 1946 play of the Christie novel "Appointment With Death." Christie sent Ms. Hickson a note that read, "I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple."
She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama.
Received 2 BAFTA nominations as Best TV actress for playing Miss Marple.
After appearing in the play "Appointment with Death", Agatha Christie wrote Joan a letter telling her she hoped that she would one day play "Miss Marple". Nearly 40 years later, Joan did just that, and ended up being considered the closest to the character, Christie created, in her portrayal.
Won Broadway's 1979 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Bedroom Farce."
Appeared as Mrs Kidder with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's Murder She Said (1961). She later remade the same film as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington (1987), playing Miss Marple.
As of 2009, she is the oldest actress to play the Agatha Christie character "Miss Marple" being 86 years old when Miss Marple: The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (1992) premiered on 27th December 1992. Her closest rival is Helen Hayes who was 85 years old when she played the role in Murder with Mirrors (1985) .
Interred at Sidbury Cemetery under her married name, Joan Bogle Butler, in Sidbury, Devon.
Lived in Rose Lane, Wivenhoe along the River Colne in Essex. A plaque now marks the house where she lived for 40 years.
Trained for three years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made her stage debut aged 20.
Vice President of The Agatha Christie Society, with David Suchet, until her death.
Vowed not to do another film after Miss Marple: A Caribbean Mystery (1989), but was persuaded to return for the final two films in 1991 and 1992. She then retired from the role, believing that she should stop while the programme was still at the peak of its popularity.
She had two children with her husband Eric Butler - a son, Nicholas (born 1936) and a daughter, Caroline (born 1939).
Made her professional debut in 1927.
Born on exactly the same date as John Huston.

Personal Quotes (17)

I was lucky not to have been born pretty.
I thought I was the wrong shape, that Miss Marple would be much fluffier than me, much more wearing shawls and things. But I was persuaded and now, well - I can only do it my way.
[on the death of her husband] I never really got over it, but my work was an enormous help. You simply have to go on.
[on her husband] He had no interest in the theatre. I don't think he ever came to see my work. After the show I would get on the train, go home and become Mrs Butler again. It was rather nice having two lives.
I wasn't beautiful, so there were plenty of character roles. I never did any Shakespeare, I'm far too superficial for that. I just act instinctively.
[on age] Once you stop, your brain goes, and when that happens it's all over.
[on being taken to her first pantomime, Cinderella, at the age of five] I was utterly entranced, and asked my parents to move as near to the theatre as possible. I knew immediately that the life I wanted was there.
I have never been a star, I'm just an old character bag.
I was never really pretty, so for someone like myself it's more useful to be a character actress than a leading actress... in television especially, they want real wrinkles.
[on Miss Marple] I think she's a wonderful woman with a very clear outlook on life. Miss Marple believes in justice and has very high standards. There is nothing you could say or do that would shock her.
Retirement is fatal. If you retire you go POP.
[on being sent away to school during World War I] It was one of the first co-educational schools. I remember my Aunt Lizzie in tweeds and a flying helmet running up and down the touchline shouting for our boys.
I love getting back to Wivenhoe. I get out of my wig, bustle and costume in three minutes flat at the end of the play before jumping into a taxi outside the theater and catching the train home.
[on being awarded an OBE] It must be because the programme (Miss Marple) has gone all over the world and is bringing in such lovely revenue. I think its enormous success is because it's so charmingly done.
[on disapproval from her relatives about acting] My Aunt Aggie - she was about 4 feet tall - drew herself up to her full height and said, 'What is Joan's destination to be?' which she thought was the gutter, you see.
[on the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park during World War II] We kept one eye on the sky to see what was coming over. We used to feel the audience were being... stupid because they sort of hurled themselves on the ground.
I watch these old films in black and white, and suddenly the door opens and there I am. The other day, I was wearing the most awful hat.

Salary (1)

Carry on Girls (1973) £300

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