|Born||Dinah Nadyejda Ginsburg
17 September 1920
Hampstead, London, England
|Died||25 November 2012
Northwood, London, England
Dinah Sheridan (17 September 1920 – 25 November 2012) was an English actress with a career spanning seven decades. She was best known for roles in comedies and appeared in many films starting in the 1930s, including Genevieve (1953) and The Railway Children (1970). She acted extensively on stage and in television, including appearing in the long-running 1980s sitcom Don't Wait Up.
Early life and career
Her father was born in Osaka, Japan, to a Jewish father of Russian descent. Her mother was born in Kew, Surrey, to parents of German descent. Her parents were photographers commissioned as "Studio Lisa" by the Queen Mother and her daughter, Elizabeth II to photograph the royal family and such events as royal pantomimes. She was educated at Sherrards School in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and the Italia Conti Stage School.
In 1932, at age 11, she debuted professionally in Where the Rainbow Ends at the Holborn Empire. She changed her name to Dinah Sheridan, which she selected from a phone book, to play Wendy, at the age of 15, in a long-running theatrical production of Peter Pan starring Jean Forbes-Robertson. Her parents changed their surname to Sheridan at the same time. Her first feature film was Give My Heart (1935). She began to appear on television in 1936 when the medium was in its infancy, in Picture Page and appeared in several early films, including Father Steps Out (1937). She had starring role in 1938 in Irish and Proud of It.
She postponed her acting career to serve for two years as an ambulance driver at the start of World War II. at Welwyn Garden City, where she participated in repertory theatre. After marrying Jimmy Hanley in 1942, she appeared in several films with him. Notable films in the 1940s Salute John Citizen, Get Cracking (with George Formby) and Murder in Reverse. At the end of the decade, she played Jane Huggett in The Huggetts Abroad and appeared as "Steve" in two Paul Temple films, Calling Paul Temple and Paul Temple's Triumph.
She received wide acknowledgement for her acting in 1951 as the game warden’s wife in a film about African wildlife, Where No Vultures Fly. Several supporting roles followed, including as Arthur Sullivan's disappointed early love in the biopic The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan. She made two dozen films by 1953, and among her most noted roles was her starring turn as Wendy McKim in the comedy Genevieve (1953), where her "comic instinct and control were precise and stylish."
Her second husband, businessman John Davis, whom she married in 1954, insisted that she quit acting and stay at home with her children. After their 1965 divorce, she resumed her career, at first "bringing wit and elegance to a succession of West End comedies, farces and thrillers", including Let’s All Go Down the Strand (1967), The Card (1973), The Pleasure of His Company (1976 revival), A Murder Is Announced (1977), Present Laughter (1981) and a several other stage roles. She found success as the mother in the film version of The Railway Children (1970) and as Angela in the long-running 1980s British sitcom, Don't Wait Up (1983–90). She made only one more film after The Railway Children, The Mirror Crack'd (1980), which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, with Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple.
Sheridan was the subject of the UK TV show This Is Your Life in 1979. In 1983 she made a guest appearance in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who as the Time Lady Chancellor Flavia in the 20th anniversary special, "The Five Doctors". Among other television roles, she appeared several times in the mini-series The Winning Streak (1985) and the series Just Us (1992) and in the game show Countdown. She played Clare in the 1994 TV sitcom All Night Long. Her last role was in 1999 as Kathleen Gilmore in the Jonathan Creek television episode "Miracle in Crooked Lane".
Sheridan married four times: first to actor Jimmy Hanley (1942–1952), with whom she had three children, then to business executive John Davis (1954–1965), then to actor John Merivale (1986–1990, his death) and finally to Aubrey Ison (1992–2007, his death).
Her son Jeremy Hanley became an accountant and Conservative Party politician. Her daughter Jenny Hanley became an actress and a co-presenter of the British television series Magpie. Another daughter died in infancy.
- Press Association. "Film star Dinah Sheridan dies aged 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- Williams, Amanda. Actress Dinah Sheridan who starred in The Railway Children dies aged 92"
Mail Online, 26 November 2012; Gray, Sadie. "Dinah Sheridan, actress and English rose dies aged 92", The Times, 25 November 2012
- Barker, Dennis. Dinah Sheridan, The Guardian, film obituary. Retrieved 26 November 2012
- 6:42PM GMT 25 November 2012. "Dinah Sheridan". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- Lisa Sheridan profile at the Alan Cash website, accessed 30 November 2012
- "BBC News - Actress Dinah Sheridan dies at 92". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- Sheridan, Lisa. From cabbages to kings: the autobiography of Lisa Sheridan. Odhams Press (1955); ASIN: B00563O2OG (paperback)
- Dinah Sheridan at the Internet Movie Database
- Dinah Sheridan recalls her appearance on This Is Your Life