9 May 1932
Old Windsor, Berkshire, England
|Died||30 January 2015 82) (aged|
Hammersmith, London, England
(m. 1953;his death 2002)
Geraldine McEwan (born Geraldine McKeown; 9 May 1932 – 30 January 2015) was an English actor who had a long career in theatre, television and film. Michael Coveney described her, in a tribute article, as "a great comic stylist, with a syrupy, seductive voice and a forthright, sparkling manner".
Michael Coveney is a British theatre critic.
On stage, McEwan was a five-time Olivier Award nominee, and twice won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress; for The Rivals (1983) and The Way of the World (1995). She was also nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Chairs . She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the 1990 television serial Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit , and from 2004 to 2009, she starred as the Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple, in the ITV series Marple .
The Rivals is a comedy of manners by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in five acts which was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre on 17 January 1775. The story has been updated in numerous adaptions, including a 1935 musical in London and a 1958 episode of the television series Maverick, with attribution.
The Way of the World is a play written by the English playwright William Congreve. It premiered in early March 1700 in the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. It is widely regarded as one of the best Restoration comedies and is still occasionally performed. Initially, however, the play struck many audience members as continuing the immorality of the previous decades, and was not well received.
The Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre. The award is given to actresses for quality leading roles in a Broadway play. Despite the award first being presented in 1947, there were no nominees announced until 1956. There have been two ties in this category, and one three-way tie.
She was born Geraldine McKeown on 9 May 1932 in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, to Donald and Norah (née Burns) McKeown. She had Irish ancestors; her maternal grandfather came from Kilkenny while her paternal grandfather came from Belfast.Her father, a printers' compositor, ran the Labour Party branch in Old Windsor, a safe Conservative seat.
Old Windsor is a large village and civil parish, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It is bound by the River Thames to the east and Windsor Great Park to the west.
Kilkenny is the county town of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in south-east Ireland. It is built on both banks of the River Nore. The city is administered as a municipal district within Kilkenny County Council, although the Local Government Reform Act 2014 allowed for "the continued use of the description city". The 2016 census gave the total population of Kilkenny as 26,512.
Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is the largest city in Northern Ireland and second-largest on the island of Ireland, after Dublin. It had a population of 333,871 as of 2015.
McEwan won a scholarship to attend Windsor County Girls' School, then a private school where she felt completely out of place, and took elocution lessons. In an interview with Cassandra Jardine of The Daily Telegraph in 2004, she said of herself around this time: "I was very shy, very private," but after reading a poem (apparently Lady Macbeth's speech "Glamis thou art and Cawdor...") at a Brownie concert: "I realised it was going to be a way in which I could manage the world. I could protect myself by losing myself in other people."
Windsor Girls' School (WGS) is a state secondary school for girls aged 13–18 in Windsor, Berkshire, England. While most other schools in Berkshire operate on a two-tier system with pupils entering secondary school at age 11, the local LEA uses the three-tier system, hence the 13+ entry age. It previously held Business & Enterprise specialist status and was rated "good, with outstanding features" by Ofsted inspectors in 2010. In 2014, the school was rated outstanding.
Cassandra Caroline Mary Jardine was a British journalist, best known as a contributor to The Daily Telegraph over a twenty-year period.
The Daily Telegraph, known online as The Telegraph, is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally. It was founded by Arthur B. Sleigh in 1855 as Daily Telegraph & Courier.
As a teenager, McEwan became interested in theatre and her theatrical career began at 14 as assistant stage manager at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. She made her first appearance on the Windsor stage in October 1946 as an attendant of Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream and played many parts with the Windsor Repertory Company from March 1949 to March 1951, including a role in the Ruth Gordon biographical play Years Ago opposite guest player John Clark.
The Theatre Royal is an Edwardian theatre on Thames Street in Windsor in Berkshire. The present building is the second theatre to stand on this site and opened on 13 December 1910. Built for Sir Wiliam Shipley and Captain Reginald Shipley, it was a replacement for their previous theatre which was built in 1815 and had burnt down in 1908. The present theatre was designed by Frank Verity, the son of the theatre architect Thomas Verity. The building is Grade II listed and is the only unsubsidised producing theatre to operate all year round in the United Kingdom.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
Ruth Gordon Jones was an American film, stage, and television actress, as well as a screenwriter and playwright. Gordon began her career performing on Broadway at age nineteen. Known for her nasal voice and distinctive personality, she gained international recognition and critical acclaim for film roles that continued into her seventies and eighties. Her later work included performances in Rosemary's Baby (1968), Harold and Maude (1971), and the Clint Eastwood films Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980).
McEwan made her first West End appearance at the Vaudeville Theatre on 4 April 1951 as Christina Deed in Who Goes There!McEwan first appeared on television in a BBC series, Crime on Our Hands (1954), with Jack Watling, Dennis Price and Sonia Dresdel. In 1957, she took over from Joan Plowright in the Royal Court production of John Osborne's play The Entertainer during its West End run at the Palace Theatre.
The Vaudeville Theatre is a West End theatre on the Strand in the City of Westminster. As the name suggests, the theatre held mostly vaudeville shows and musical revues in its early days. It opened in 1870 and was rebuilt twice, although each new building retained elements of the previous structure. The current building opened in 1926, and the capacity is now 690 seats. Rare thunder drum and lightning sheets, together with other early stage mechanisms, survive in the theatre.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Crime on Our Hands was a British crime drama television series which aired in 1954 on the BBC. Cast included Geraldine McEwan and Jack Watling. It aired for six half-hour episodes. The series is missing, believed lost.
McEwan appeared at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon during the late 1950s and early 1960s, during the period when it was evolving into the Stratford venue for the new Royal Shakespeare Company formed in 1960, and at The Aldwych, the RSC's original London home.[ citation needed ]
During the 1958 season in Stratford she played Olivia in Twelfth Night in a production directed by Peter Hall. After McEwan died, The Guardian 's Michael Billington wrote of this performance: "At the time Olivia tended to be played as a figure of mature grief: McEwan was young, sparky, witty and clearly brimming with desire for Dorothy Tutin's pageboy Viola." McEwan's performance, according to Dominic Shellard, split contemporary critical opinion between those observers who considered it "heretical" and others who thought it "revolutionary".
In the same season at Stratford McEwan portrayed Marina in Pericles and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing .She returned to the theatre in 1961 to portray Ophelia in Hamlet , opposite Ian Bannen as the Prince, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing with Christopher Plummer as Benedict.
In a production of Sheridan's The School for Scandal directed by Sir John Gielgud in 1962 McEwan replaced Anna Massey as Mrs Teazle during the run at the Haymarket Theatre, London; her husband was played by Sir Ralph Richardson.After an American tour, this production was staged at the Majestic in New York in early 1963, and was McEwan's debut on Broadway. Back in England, she appeared with Kenneth Williams in the original unsuccessful 1965 production of Loot by Joe Orton, which closed at the Wimbledon Theatre before reaching London.
After this debacle she joined the National Theatre Company, then based at the Old Vic, following the suggestion of Sir Laurence Olivier, then its artistic director, and performed in 11 productions over the next 5 years.She appeared with Olivier in Dance of Death , staged by Glen Byam Shaw and first performed in February 1967.
Olivier asserted, according to his biographer Philip Ziegler, that he had chosen August Strindberg's play partly because it had a good part for McEwan: "I didn't give a damn if I made a success, I really didn't; it was her success I was after". The notices though concentrated on his role as the Captain rather than McEwan's as Alice, the Captain's wife.A film version, with the same two leads, was released in 1969.
During her first period at the National she also portrayed Angelica in William Congreve's Love for Love , Raymonde Chandebise in Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear , Millamant in The Way of the World and Vittoria Corombona in John Webster's The White Devil .Until her roles in the plays by Strindberg and Webster, McEwan was viewed mainly as a comedian, but these parts were thought to have extended her range.
McEwan took the lead role in an adaptation for Scottish Television of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1978).She was Spark's favourite in the role and came the closest to the character as Spark had imagined it; Brodie has also been portrayed on stage and screen by Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith. Her other work for television in this period included roles in The Barchester Chronicles (1982) and Mapp and Lucia (1985–86) with Prunella Scales as Mapp and McEwan as Lucia.
In 1983, McEwan played Mrs Malaprop in a production of Sheridan's The Rivals at the National Theatre by Peter Wood which also featured Michael Hordern as Sir Anthony Absolute.Michael Billington wrote of this performance in 2015: "It is easy to play the word-mangling Mrs Malaprop as a comic buffoon. But the whole point of McEwan's performance was that she took language with fastidious seriousness, fractionally pausing before each misplaced epithet as if ransacking her private lexicography. As I said at the time, it was like watching a demolition expert trying to construct a cathedral." For this role, McEwan won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress.
She made her directorial debut, in 1988, with the Renaissance Theatre Company's touring season, Renaissance Shakespeare on the Road, co-produced with the Birmingham Rep, and ending with a three-month repertory programme at the Phoenix Theatre in London. McEwan's contribution was a light romantic staging of As You Like It , with Kenneth Branagh playing Touchstone as an Edwardian music hall comedian.
McEwan won another Evening Standard Best Actress Award in 1995 for her role as Lady Wishfort in a revival of Congreve's The Way of the World , again at the National Theatre.Sheridan Morley, then theatre critic of The Spectator , wrote, "Geraldine McEwan (in the performance of the night and her career) comes on looking like an ostrich which has mysteriously been crammed into a tambourine lined with fresh flowers."
With Richard Briers, she starred from November 1997 in a revival of Eugène Ionesco's absurdist play The Chairs in a co-production between Simon McBurney's Theatre de Complicite and London's Royal Court Theatre (then temporarily based at the Duke of York's) who had staged the British premiere 40 years earlier.This production had a brief run on Broadway between April and June 1998; McEwan was nominated for a Tony Award.
Her later television credits include Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1990), for which she won the British Academy Television Award as Best Actress in 1991, and Mulberry (1992–93).She was also in the Cassandra episode of Red Dwarf (1999), playing a prescient computer. McEwan played the demented witch Mortianna in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). In Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters , (2002), she played the role of Sister Bridget. In 2001, she voiced Margaret in the audio book Richard III.
McEwan was selected by Granada Television for Marple (2004–07), a new series featuring the Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple. She told The New York Times in a 2005 interview when the series was first being screened by PBS, "I do enjoy playing very original and slightly eccentric characters. It is very amusing that Agatha Christie should have created this older woman who lives a very conventional life in a little country village and yet spends all her time solving violent crimes."She announced her retirement from the role in 2008 after appearing in 12 films. She was succeeded as Miss Marple in the series by Julia McKenzie.
In 2005, she provided the voice of Miss Thripp in the film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and again in A Matter of Loaf and Death in 2008.
In 1953 McEwan married Hugh Cruttwell, whom she had first met when she was aged 14 while working at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. Cruttwell was the Principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1965 to 1984.They had a son Greg, who is an actor and screenwriter, and a daughter Claudia.
McEwan was reported to have declined an OBE, and later, a DBE (in 2002), but she did not respond to these claims."I will never speak of that", she said of the matter to Cassandra Jardine in 2004.
McEwan died on 30 January 2015 at the Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith after suffering a stroke three months earlier.
|There Was a Young Lady||1953||Irene|
|No Kidding||1960||Catherine Robinson||Beware of Children (U.S.)|
|Dance of Death||1969||Alice|
|The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones||1976||Lady Bellaston|
|Escape from the Dark||1976||Miss Coutt||The Littlest Horse Thieves (U.S.)|
|The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie||1978||Jean Brodie||7 episodes|
|Mapp and Lucia||1985–1986||Emmeline Lucas (Lucia)||10 episodes|
|Foreign Body||1986||Lady Ammanford|
|Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||1990||Mother|
|Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves||1991||Mortianna|
|Mulberry||1992–1993||Miss Farnaby||13 episodes|
|Red Dwarf||1999||Cassandra||Series 8, Episode 4, "Cassandra"|
|The Love Letter||1999||Constance Scattergoods|
|Love's Labour's Lost||2000||Holofernia|
|Contaminated Man||2000||Lilian Rodgers|
|Food of Love||2002||Novotna|
|The Magdalene Sisters||2002||Sister Bridget|
|Carrie's War||2004||Mrs. Gotobed||TV movie|
|Vanity Fair||2004||Lady Southdown|
|The Lazarus Child||2004||Janet|
|Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit||2005||Miss Thripp||Voice|
|A Matter of Loaf and Death||2008||Miss Thripp||Voice, Uncredited|
|Arrietty||2010||Haru||UK version, Voice, (final film role)|
|Marple: The Body in the Library||2004|
|Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage||2004|
|Marple: 4:50 from Paddington||2004|
|Marple: A Murder Is Announced||2005|
|Marple: Sleeping Murder||2005|
|Marple: The Moving Finger||2006|
|Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs||2006|
|Marple: The Sittaford Mystery||2006|
|Marple: At Bertram's Hotel||2007|
|Marple: Ordeal by Innocence||2007|
|Marple: Towards Zero||2008|
|1976||Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance||Oh Coward!||Nominated|
|Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival||On Approval||Nominated|
|1978||Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance||Look After Lulu!||Nominated|
|1980||Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival||The Browning Version / Harlequinade||Nominated|
|1983||Evening Standard Award for Best Actress||The Rivals||Won|
|1991||BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress||Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||Won|
|1995||Evening Standard Award for Best Actress||The Way of the World||Won|
|1996||Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role||The Way of the World||Nominated|
|1998||Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play||The Chairs||Nominated|
Miss Marple is a fictional character in Agatha Christie's crime novels and short stories. An elderly spinster who lives in the village of St. Mary Mead and acts as an amateur consulting detective, she is one of the best known of Christie's characters and has been portrayed numerous times on screen. Her first appearance was in a short story published in The Royal Magazine in December 1927, "The Tuesday Night Club", which later became the first chapter of The Thirteen Problems (1932). Her first appearance in a full-length novel was in The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930.
Geraldine Sue Page was an American actress. She earned acclaim for her work on Broadway as well as in major Hollywood films and television productions, garnering an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, one BAFTA Award, and four nominations for the Tony Award.
Kate O'Mara was an English film, stage and television actress, and writer.
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Tara Anne Cassandra Fitzgerald is a British actress who has appeared in feature films, television, radio and the stage. She won the New York Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play in 1995 as Ophelia in Hamlet. She won the Best Actress Award at The Reims International Television Festival in 1999 for her role of Lady Dona St Columb in Frenchman's Creek. Fitzgerald's appeared in the West End production of The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre, and in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse. Since 2007, Fitzgerald has appeared in more than 30 episodes of the BBC television series Waking the Dead and played the role of Selyse Baratheon in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
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Jenna Johan Russell is an English actress and singer. She has appeared on the stage in London in both musicals and dramas, as well as appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She performed the role of Dot in Sunday in the Park with George in the West End and on Broadway, receiving the Tony Award nomination and the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role. She has also appeared in several television series, including Born and Bred and EastEnders.
Tracey Bennett is an English stage and television actress. She trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in Clapham, London. She played the role of Sharon Bentley in Coronation Street from 1982-1984 and then returning to the role in 1999.
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Gregory Jasper Cruttwell is an English football consultant and former actor, screenwriter, director and film producer. He is the son of actress Geraldine McEwan and Hugh Cruttwell, former principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
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