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She was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. After three years training at the Royal Academy of Music, where she won the Drama Gold Medal, Anne began her professional acting career by spending several years in repertory, gaining experience in Folkestone Kent, with the Arthur Brough Players, before moving to Nottingham and then Sheffield.
The television roles for which she is best known are: Jane Seymour in The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), and Anne Onedin in The Onedin Line. Other major roles include Anna Strauss in The Strauss Family (1972), Susan Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge (1978 adaptation), and Muriel Thomas in The Old Devils (1992). In 1995, she played the good-hearted and warm role of Eileen Reynolds in ITV period police drama Heartbeat, set in the 1960s, a role in which she remained until 1998. She was twice nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress; for her portrayals of Anne Onedin and Anna Strauss.
She has been married twice and has no children. She met her first husband, Roger Rowland, whilst working in Nottingham and married him in 1963. The couple separated after nine years of marriage and later divorced. Peter Gilmore's second marriage broke up not long after and the friendship between the two Onedin Line actors gradually developed; they fell in love and began to live together. In 1987, after ten years, the couple married and remained together until Gilmore's death in February 2013. They lived in Barnes, west London and had a small cottage in Dartmouth, Devon, which was used as a film location for scenes in The Onedin Line.
- Stuart Jeffries Obituary: Peter Gilmore, The Guardian, 6 February 2013
- Anne Stallybrass at the Internet Movie Database
- Anne Stallybrass and Peter Gilmore A site dedicated to the actors Anne Stallybrass and Peter Gilmore