Classic British Actresses
CaptainMustard (all lists)  
Modified at: 2022-11-11 5:38am
Mainly from films of the 1940s and 1950s.

A contemporary of Margaret Lockwood and Phyllis Calvert, Crawford is best remembered for her roles in women's pictures of the 1940s, such as Millions Like Us (1943), Two Thousand Women (1944) and They Were Sisters (1945).

Known for leading roles in plays such as A Streetcar Named Desire, A Doll's House, and Long Day's Journey into Night, and has starred in nearly sixty films. She is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Notable works include ‘The Haunting’, ‘A Doll’s House’, ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’, ‘Clash of the Titans’, and ‘The King’s Speech’.

During her international film career, Kerr won a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Anna Leonowens in the musical film The King and I (1956). Her other major and best known films and performances are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947), From Here to Eternity (1953), Tea and Sympathy (1956), An Affair to Remember (1957), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957), Separate Tables (1958), The Sundowners (1960), The Innocents (1961), The Grass Is Greener (1960), and The Night of the Iguana (1964).

She postponed her film career to serve for two years as an ambulance driver at the start of World War II at Welwyn Garden City, where she participated in repertory theatre. After marrying Jimmy Hanley in 1942, she appeared in several films with him. Notable films in the 1940s were Salute John Citizen (1942), Get Cracking (1943, with George Formby), Murder in Reverse (1945, with Chili Bouchier), For You Alone (1945), and the lead roles in The Hills of Donegal (1948) and The Story of Shirley Yorke (1949). She played Jane Huggett in The Huggetts Abroad (1949) and appeared as "Steve Temple" in two Paul Temple films, Calling Paul Temple (1948) and Paul Temple's Triumph (1950).

Born in Kuala Lumpur and went on to become a leading actress in British films during the 1940s. Typically cast as a genteel women. Notable appearances include, Two Thousand Women (1944), Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945), They Were Sisters (1945), A Man About the House (1947).

At the beginning of her career, Allan mainly appeared in films for Julius Hagen's Twickenham Studios, but later signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1935 was a good year for the actress, with roles in two Charles Dickens adaptations: - David Copperfield (1935) and A Tale of Two Cities (1935) - and the star-studded horror Mark of the Vampire (1935). By the 1950s, Allan was taking on character roles. Notable movies of this period include No Highway in the Sky (1951), The Heart of the Matter (1953), and The Haunted Strangler (1958) (which turned out to be her final film).

Sellars entered films with Floodtide (1949), part of an all-Scottish cast, including Gordon Jackson.She appeared in a string of British films in the 1950s and 1960s, and also a few Hollywood films, usually in secondary roles, including The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Désirée (1954), Prince of Players (1955), The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960), 55 Days at Peking (1963), and The Chalk Garden (1964). She was the main female lead in a number of films, including The Long Memory (1953), The Last Man to Hang? (1956), Never Let Go (1960), and The Webster Boy (1962). She also appeared frequently on television, most notably in A Voyage Round My Father (1982) with Laurence Olivier.

She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She then became the highest paid movie star in the 1960s, remaining a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. Elizabeth Taylor's 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes: National Velvet (1944), Father's Little Dividend (1951, That's Entertainment (1973), Jane Eyre (1944), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), Giant (1956), Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Lassie Come Home (1943), Father Of The Bride (1950), Life With Father (1947).

Glynis Johns is a British actress, dancer, musician and singer. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, while her parents were on tour, she is best known for creating the role of Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music on Broadway, for which she won a Tony Award, and for playing Winifred Banks in Walt Disney's musical motion picture Mary Poppins.

Georgette Lizette Withers, CBE, AO, known professionally as Googie Withers, was an English entertainer who was a dancer and actress with a lengthy career spanning some nine decades in theatre, film, and television. She was a well-known actress and star of British films during the Second World War and postwar years.

Best known for The Story of Esther Costello (1957), Room at the Top (1958) and The Phantom of the Opera (1962).

Best known for How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008), The Day of the Triffids (1963) and Paranoiac (1963).

She was the femme fatale wartime audiences loved to hate, an early British sex symbol, most effectively paired with the likes of Stewart Granger or James Mason. In one of her best-remembered performances, Jean took sole limelight as the titular star of the cautionary drama Good-Time Girl (1948), as a juvenile delinquent who falls in with spivs and gangsters and ends up in prison.

Jean Merilyn Simmons, was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and after World War II, followed mainly by Hollywood films from 1950 onwards.

Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, known professionally as Joan Fontaine, was a British-American actress who is best known for her starring roles in Hollywood films during the "Golden Age". Fontaine appeared in more than 45 films in a career that spanned five decades.

Kay Kendall was an English actress and comedienne. She began her film career in the musical film London Town, a financial failure. Kendall worked regularly until her appearance in the comedy film Genevieve brought her widespread recognition. Prolific in British films, Kendall also achieved some popularity with American audiences, and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role in the musical-comedy film Les Girls.

Edith Madeleine Carroll was an English actress, popular both in Britain and America in the 1930s and 1940s. At the peak of her success in 1938, she was the world's highest-paid actress. Carroll is remembered for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps.

Margaret Lockwood, CBE, was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich, The Man in Grey, and The Wicked Lady. She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress for the 1955 film Cast a Dark Shadow. She also starred in the television series Justice.

Nanette Newman is an English actress and author. She appeared in nine films directed by her husband Bryan Forbes, including Séance on a Wet Afternoon, The Whisperers, Deadfall, The Stepford Wives and International Velvet for which she won the Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress. She was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for another Forbes directed film, The Raging Moon.

Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland was a British-American actress. The major works of her cinematic career spanned from 1935 to 1988. She appeared in 49 feature films and was one of the leading actors of her time.

One of Britain's biggest female stars of the post-war years, she appeared at various positions (3rd being the highest) in the British and Motion Picture Herald popularity polls, between 1945-50. She was pretty, vivacious and charming, which was all most of her early roles called for. She appeared in a number of the hugely popular wartime Gainsborough costume dramas, including Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945). She also made one film in Hollywood, the Technicolor Canyon Passage (1946). Her best acting opportunities were in The Brothers (1947), as a sexy orphan wreaking havoc on a remote Scottish Island, and When the Bough Breaks (1947), a stark unwed mother drama.

Peggy Cummins was an Irish actress, appearing in several films between 1940 and 1961. Her best known role was that of trigger-happy bank robber Annie Laurie Starr in the film "Gun Crazy".

Ten years and ten films into her screen career, the first 'official' Gainsborough melodrama, The Man in Grey (d. Leslie Arliss, 1943) made Phyllis Calvert (1915-2002) a bona fide star and one of the studio's biggest attractions. The following year she headlined three more Gainsborough films - Fanny by Gaslight (d. Anthony Asquith), Madonna of the Seven Moons (d. Arthur Crabtree) and Two Thousand Women (d. Frank Launder) and would subsequently appear in They Were Sisters (d. Arthur Crabtree, 1945), The Magic Bow (d. Bernard Knowles, 1946), The Root of All Evil (d. Brock Williams, 1947) and Broken Journey (d. Ken Annakin, 1948).

A leading British stage and screen actress, Rosamund John is remembered with affection for her roles in film classics such as The Way to the Stars, Green For Danger and Tawny Pipit.

Sylvia May Laura Syms is an English actress, best known for her roles in the films Woman in a Dressing Gown, Ice Cold in Alex, No Trees in the Street, Victim, and The Tamarind Seed. In 2006 she portrayed The Queen Mother in the Stephen Frears movie The Queen, about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and days leading up to Diana's funeral. She remains active in films, television and theatre.

Vivien Leigh, styled as Lady Olivier after 1947, was a British actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, for her definitive performances as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind and Blanche DuBois in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, a role she had also played on stage in London's West End in 1949.


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