Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold
7 June 1915
Hampstead, London, England
|Died||30 December 2003 88) (aged|
|Other names||Felicia Riese|
|Years active||1938 – 1962|
Dr. Murray Laing
(m. 1939;div. 1944)
(m. 1949;died 1954)
(m. 1964;died 1986)
Patricia Roc (born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold;7 June 1915 – 30 December 2003) was an English film actress, popular in the Gainsborough melodramas such as Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, Canyon Passage (1946). She also appeared in Millions Like Us (1943), Jassy (1945), The Brothers (1947) and When the Bough Breaks (1947).
She was employed by the studio of J. Arthur Rank, who called her "the archetypal British beauty".She achieved her greatest level of popularity in British films during the Second World War in escapist melodramas for Gainsborough Studios. She did little acting work after the death of her second husband in 1954, making only a few television appearances including the first episode of The Saint .
Born in Hampstead, London, to Felix Herold, a paper merchant, and his wife (or possibly mistress), Miriam (née Angell).In 1922, her half-French mother Miriam married Dutch-Belgian stockbroker, André Magnus Riese, who legally adopted young Felicia and her sister Barbara (1919 - 2016, later the wife of Fred Perry). She became known as Felicia Riese and did not discover her adoption until 1949. She was educated at private schools in London and Paris, then was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1937.
West End theatre producer Sydney Carroll discovered her and cast her in The Mask of Virtue at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. When Carroll thought Felicia Riese sounded "too foreign" and without character, he suggested she change her name to something short and memorable. As there was then a Rock Film Studios Carroll suggested "Rock" as a surname. She agreed but she suggested dropping the "k" to make the surname more memorable and shorter and "Patricia" was the nearest name to "Felicia".
Roc began her career as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of Nuts in May,in which she was seen by Alexander Korda, who gave her an uncredited bit in The Divorce of Lady X (1938) and then a leading role as a Polish princess in The Rebel Son .
She had roles in The Gaunt Stranger (1939), The Mind of Mr. Reeder (1939), and The Missing People (1940). She had a bigger part in A Window in London (1940), the comedy Pack Up Your Troubles (1940), Dr. O'Dowd (1940), Three Silent Men (1940), It Happened to One Man (1940), and The Farmer's Wife (1941).
Her parts grew bigger: My Wife's Family (1941), Suspected Person (1942), Let the People Sing (1942), and We'll Meet Again (1943) with Vera Lynn.
Roc was top-billed in Millions Like Us (1943) from Gainsborough Studios. It was a success, and Gainsborough gave her another lead, as a nun interned by the Germans in Two Thousand Women (1944). According to one writer these movies "established her as a symbol of war's transformative effect upon the status of women."
She appeared alongside two of Gainsborough's biggest stars, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger, in Love Story (1944), a big hit. Roc played the jealous rival of Margaret Lockwood. She later commented that although they were required to slap each other's faces, she and Lockwood were always the best of friends.Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945), with Granger and Phyllis Calvert, was another success.
Neither of them, however, did as well as The Wicked Lady (1945), where Roc played Lockwood's best friend. It was the most successful movie at the British box office in 1946. Roc's more overt bisexuality in such films as The Wicked Lady was downplayed for the American market (even her décolletage led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it) and "the Goddess of Odeons", whilst Noël Coward said she was "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled film star who can act".
She was also in Johnny Frenchman (1945). Co-starring in that film was Ralph Michael, who soon after divorced his wife Fay Compton; Roc was named in proceedings.
Her brief move to Hollywood to film Canyon Passage (1946), a Western in Technicolor, was a lend-lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors. [ citation needed ] Despite good reviews and a remarked likeness to Deanna Durbin, she didn’t click with the American filmgoing public.During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame."
Roc returned to Britain to make The Brothers (1947), a melodrama that was a commercial disappointment.She was in an expensive British-US co production So Well Remembered (1947), which was a hit in Britain but failed to recoup its cost. Jassy (1947), a melodrama with Lockwood, was a big hit. When the Bough Breaks (1947), another melodrama, performed reasonably well.
In 1947 British exhibitors voted Roc the sixth-most-popular British star in the country.The following year she was 9th.
She walked out of London Belongs to Me claiming she was miscast.
After making a cameo as herself in Holiday Camp (1947), Roc was in One Night with You (1948), a musical comedy with Nino Martini.
She made two films in France, Return to Life (1949) and The Man on the Eiffel Tower . She returned to Britain to appear in a comedy The Perfect Woman (1949) then walked out on her contract with Rank in March 1949.
In August 1949 she married French cameraman André Thomas.
In Paris she made Black Jack (1950). She also appeared in Fugitive from Montreal (1951), a French-Canadian co production.
Roc returned to Britain for the first time in 18 months to make Circle of Danger (1951) with Ray Milland. She then returned for Something Money Can't Buy (1952).
Roc's later films included The Widow (1955) and The Hypnotist (1957).
Roc returned to Britain later in the decade following the death of husband, André Thomas. She produced only 3 more films and made a few television appearances (including the first episode of The Saint , her final acting role).
In 1964 she married businessman Walter Reif and retired from acting. She was all but forgotten until 1975 when she made the headlines for being fined £25 for shoplifting from Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street. It is thought that this was a means of regaining attention from the public. Soon after, she and her husband retreated to Switzerland, Reif died in 1986, Roc died 17 years later in 2003.
|1938||The Divorce of Lady X||Minor role||Uncredited|
|The Gaunt Stranger||Mary Lenley|
|The Barbarian and the Lady||Marina|
|1939||The Mysterious Mr. Reeder||Doris Bevan|
|The Missing People|
|1940||Pack Up Your Troubles||Sally Brown|
|A Window in London||Pat||Released as Lady in Distress in USA|
|Three Silent Men||Pat Quentin|
|It Happened to One Man||Betty Quair|
|1941||The Farmer's Wife||Sibley|
|My Wife's Family||Peggy Gay|
|1942||Suspected Person||Joan Raynor|
|Let the People Sing||Hope Ollerton|
|1943||We'll Meet Again||Ruth|
|Millions Like Us||Celia Crowson|
|Two Thousand Women||Rosemary Brown / Mary Maugham|
|1945||Madonna of the Seven Moons||Angela Labardi|
|Johnny Frenchman||Sue Pomeroy|
|The Wicked Lady||Caroline|
|1946||Canyon Passage||Caroline Marsh|
|So Well Remembered||Julie Morgan|
|When the Bough Breaks||Lily Bates|
|1948||One Night with You||Mary Santell|
|1949||The Perfect Woman||Penelope Belman|
|Return to Life||Lieutenant Evelyne||(segment 2 : "Le retour d'Antoine")|
|The Man on the Eiffel Tower||Helen Kirby|
|1950||Fugitive from Montreal||Helen Bering|
|Black Jack||Ingrid Dekker|
|1951||Circle of Danger||Elspeth Graham|
|1952||Something Money Can't Buy||Anne Wilding|
|1953||La mia vita è tua||Laura|
|1956||The Errol Flynn Theatre||Episode : "Farewell Performance"|
|1957||The Hypnotist||Mary Foster|
|The House in the Woods||Carol Carter|
|1958||White Hunter||Marge Wilson||Episode: "Pegasus"|
|1959||No Hiding Place||Mrs. Ottlone||Episode: "Who Is Gustav Varnia?"|
|1960||Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons||Mme. Vivienne Dureaux|
|Skyport||Iris West||1 episode|
|1961||Dixon of Dock Green||Brenda||Episode: "A Kiss for the Constable"|
|1962||The Saint||Madge Clarron||Episode: "The Talented Husband", (final appearance)|
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 (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). 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 (1971–74).
Gainsborough Pictures was a British film studio based on the south bank of the Regent's Canal, in Poole Street, Hoxton in the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, north London. Gainsborough Studios was active between 1924 and 1951. The company was initially based at Islington Studios, which were built as a power station for the Great Northern & City Railway and later converted to studios.
The Wicked Lady is a 1945 British costume drama film directed by Leslie Arliss and starring Margaret Lockwood in the title role as a nobleman's wife who becomes a highwayman for the excitement. The film had one of the top audiences for a film of its period, 18.4 million.
Phyllis Hannah Murray-Hill, known professionally as Phyllis Calvert, was an English film, stage and television actress. She was one of the leading stars of the Gainsborough melodramas of the 1940s such as The Man in Grey (1943) and was one of the most popular movie stars in Britain in the 1940s. She continued acting until some 50 years later.
Jean Kent was an English film and television actress.
The Man in Grey is a 1943 British film melodrama made by Gainsborough Pictures; it is considered to be the first of a series of period costume dramas now known as the "Gainsborough melodramas". It was directed by Leslie Arliss and produced by Edward Black from a screenplay by Arliss and Margaret Kennedy that was adapted by Doreen Montgomery from the 1941 novel The Man in Grey by Eleanor Smith. The film's sets were designed by Walter Murton.
Arthur Crabtree was a British cinematographer and film director. He directed films with comedians such as Will Hay, the Crazy Gang and Arthur Askey and several of the Gainsborough Melodramas.
Bernard Knowles was an English film director, producer, cinematographer and screenwriter. Born in Manchester, Knowles worked with Alfred Hitchcock on numerous occasions before the director emigrated to Hollywood.
Leslie Arliss was an English screenwriter and director. He is best known for his work on the Gainsborough melodramas directing films such as The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady during the 1940s.
Madonna of the Seven Moons is a 1945 British drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree for Gainsborough Pictures and starring Phyllis Calvert, Stewart Granger and Patricia Roc. The film was produced by Rubeigh James Minney, with cinematography from Jack Cox and screenplay by Roland Pertwee. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas.
Fanny by Gaslight is a 1944 British drama film, directed by Anthony Asquith and produced by Gainsborough Pictures, set in the 1870s and adapted from a 1940 novel by Michael Sadleir.
Jassy is a 1947 British colour film historical melodrama set in the early 19th century, based on a novel by Norah Lofts. It is a Gainsborough melodrama, the only one to be made in Technicolor. It was the last "official" Gainsborough melodrama.
When the Bough Breaks is a 1947 film directed by Lawrence Huntington and starring Patricia Roc and Rosamund John. It is an adaptation of an original storyline by Herbert Victor on adoption and the competing ties of one child's birth and foster family.
Caravan is a 1946 British black-and-white drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas and is based on the 1942 novel Caravan by Eleanor Smith.
The Gainsborough melodramas were a sequence of films produced by the British film studio Gainsborough Pictures between 1943 and 1947 which conformed to a melodramatic style. The melodramas were not a film series but an unrelated sequence of films which had similar themes that were usually developed by the same film crew and frequently recurring actors who played similar characters in each. They were mostly based on popular books by female novelists and they encompassed costume, such as The Man in Grey (1943) and The Wicked Lady (1945) and modern-dress, such as Love Story (1944) and They Were Sisters (1945) settings. The popularity of the films with audiences peaked mid-1940s when most of the cinema audiences consisted of mainly women. The influence of the films led to other British producers releasing similarly themed works, such as The Seventh Veil (1945), Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945), Hungry Hill (1947), The White Unicorn (1947), Idol of Paris (1948), and The Reluctant Widow (1950) and often with the talent that made Gainsborough melodramas successful.
Love Story is a 1944 British black-and-white romance film directed by Leslie Arliss and starring Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, and Patricia Roc. Based on a short story by J. W. Drawbell, the film is about a concert pianist who, after learning that she is dying of heart failure, decides to spend her last days in Cornwall. While there, she meets a former RAF pilot who is going blind, and soon a romantic attraction forms. Released in the United States as A Lady Surrenders, this wartime melodrama produced by Gainsborough Pictures was filmed on location at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno in Cornwall, England.
The Magic Bow is a 1946 British musical film based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini. It was directed by Bernard Knowles. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.
Harold Huth was a British actor, film director and producer.
Diamond City is a 1949 British drama film directed by David MacDonald and starring David Farrar, Honor Blackman, Diana Dors and Niall MacGinnis.
Madness of the Heart is a 1949 British drama film directed by Charles Bennett and starring Margaret Lockwood, Paul Dupuis and Kathleen Byron.