Adrianne Allen

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Adrianne Allen
Actress Adrianne Allen.jpg
Photo by Dorothy Wilding, 1939
Born(1907-02-07)7 February 1907
Died14 September 1993(1993-09-14) (aged 86)
Montreux, Switzerland
(m. 1929;div. 1939)
William Whitney
(m. 1939;died 1973)
Children Daniel Massey
Anna Massey

Adrianne Allen (7 February 1907 14 September 1993) was an English stage actress. [1]


Most often seen in light comedy, [2] Allen played Sybil Chase in the original West End production of Private Lives and Elizabeth Bennet in the 1935 Broadway production of Pride and Prejudice . She appeared in several films and was the mother of actors Daniel and Anna Massey. [3]

Life and career

Allen was born in Manchester on 7 February 1907 to John and Margaret Allen. After her education in France and Germany, [4] she trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where her 1926 graduation performance caught the attention of Basil Dean, who cast her as Nina Vansittart in the Noël Coward play Easy Virtue , when it arrived to London from Broadway. [5] [6]

In 1929, she married Raymond Massey, after he had cast her for a part in Noël Coward's play The Rat Trap . [5] Her first West End appearance followed in July 1930, where she played the role of Sibyl in Noël Coward's Private Lives . [4] She had two children with Raymond Massey, Daniel and Anna, who later became actors. The marriage ended in divorce in 1939. [4] Shortly after her divorce she married William Dwight Whitney, the lawyer who had handled the divorce.

During this time she appeared on Broadway, in Cynara, and as Judy Linden in The Shining Hour , and in several films, most notably Merrily We Go to Hell . In 1942, she played "Doris" in the original London production of Terence Rattigan's play Flare Path . [7]

She starred in more films, and appeared on British television, before returning to Broadway in 1957, where she starred alongside her daughter in The Reluctant Debutante . [5] Her acting career ended in 1958. [2]


Allen died from cancer on 14 September 1993 in Montreux, Switzerland. [8] Both of her children died of cancer, as well.

Selected Broadway and West End roles


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  1. "Adrianne Allen".
  2. 1 2 Pace, Eric (20 September 1993). "Adrianne Allen, 86, A British Specialist In Light Comedies". The New York Times . Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  3. "Overview for Adrianne Allen". Turner Classic Movies.
  4. 1 2 3 "Adrianne Allen obituary". The Times . 17 September 1993. p. 17.
  5. 1 2 3 "Adrianne Allen on Collectors' Post". Archived from the original on 22 June 2007. Retrieved 5 November 2007.
  6. Cliff Aliperti. "Adrianne Allen – Private Lives Star, Also Two Paramount Pre-Code Gems".
  7. Rattigan, Terence (2001). The Collected Plays of Terence Rattigan, Volume One, The Early Plays 1936-1952, pg. 80; ISBN   978-1-889439-27-3.
  8. Obituary, Accessed 20 November 2022.