Belita

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Belita
Belita.jpg
Born Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner
(1923-10-25)25 October 1923
Nether Wallop, Hampshire, England, UK
Died 18 December 2005(2005-12-18) (aged 82)
Montpeyroux, France
Years active 1947-1963
Spouse(s) Joel McGinnis (1946–1956; divorced)
James Berwick (né James Kenny), 1967-2000; his death

Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner (25 October 1923 – 18 December 2005), known professionally as Belita, was a British Olympic figure skater, dancer and film actress.

Born at Nether Wallop, Hampshire, she skated (as Belita Jepson-Turner) for the United Kingdom in the 1936 Winter Olympics where she was placed 16th in the Ladies' singles competition, then her career turned towards Hollywood. She had classical Russian ballet training which carried over into her skating, and she was considered far superior to others skating at that time. As a young ballerina she was partner to Anton Dolin, appearing with the Dolin-Markova Ballet.[citation needed]

She appeared in films including Never Let Me Go (1953) with Clark Gable, and The Cherry Orchard opposite Charles Laughton. She made several highly profitable productions for Monogram Pictures, including Silver Skates (1943), Lady, Let's Dance (1944) and the film noir Suspense (1946).

In 1946 Belita married Joel McGinnis; they divorced in 1956. She remarried, to Irish actor James Berwick, né James Kenny (1929–2000). In 1956 she retired from skating and three years later gave up show business altogether. She appeared briefly on the ice at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1981 in a short production based on "Solitude" by Duke Ellington. Both marriages were childless. She retired to live in Montpeyroux, France, where she died in 2005, aged 82.[citation needed]

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