Nora Swinburne

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Nora Swinburne
Nora Swinburne in The River trailer.jpg
Swinburne in the trailer for The River (1951)
Leonora Mary Johnson

(1902-07-24)24 July 1902
Died1 May 2000(2000-05-01) (aged 97)
Education Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actress
Years active1920–1974
(m. 1924;div. 1932)

(m. 1934;div. 1938)

(m. 1946;died 1987)

Leonora Mary Johnson [1] (24 July 1902 – 1 May 2000), known professionally as Nora Swinburne, was an English actress. She is best known for her appearances in many British films.


Early years

Swinburne was born in Bath, Somerset, the daughter of Henry Swinburne Johnson and his wife Leonora Tamar (née Brain). She was educated at Rosholme College, Weston-super-Mare, and studied for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As a member of Clive Currie's Young Players in 1914, she appeared at the Grand, Croydon, Court and Little Theatres, during that year.

In 1914, she attended an audition with the ballerina Phyllis Bedells and later Anna Pavlova who considered her too young, even if very talented, for the corps de ballet. Nora instead joined the Italia Conti school where she obtained her first real part as a child actress in Where the Rainbow Ends . She performed in the show in London and in all the big cities of Britain for eighteen shillings (90p) a week. [2]

At the end of 1915 she gained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While still a student at the Academy she appeared at the New Theatre on 11 April 1916 as the Wild Flowers in Paddly Pools; appeared at the Comedy Theatre, September 1916, as a dancer in the revue, This and That; and in October 1916 appeared in Samples at the Globe Theatre (now the Gielgud Theatre). She also appeared at the Globe in March 1917 as Gabrielle in Suzette. Other early roles included Lulu in Yes, Uncle! at the Prince of Wales Theatre in December 1917, and Regina Waterhouse at the Strand Theatre in December 1918.

At the Apollo Theatre in 1919 she played the title role in Tilly of Bloomsbury "for about six weeks", according to her personal notes in Who's Who in the Theatre, followed by the role of Roselle in The Betrothal at the Gaiety in January 1921, concluding the year with what she charmingly called "several cinema plays". [3]

Stage career

Subsequent theatre roles included:


Television appearances

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  1. High Court of Justice Probate, Divorce, And Admiralty Division, Actor Cites Actor in Divorce Suit, Lister v. Lister And Ashley Cooper, The Times, Tuesday, 9 February 1932; p. 5.
  2. family-Nora Swinburne
  3. Who's Who in the Theatre 8th edition (1936).
  4. Who's Who in the Theatre 9th edition (1939).