9 May 1932
Old Windsor, Berkshire, England
|Died||30 January 2015(aged 82)|
|Spouse(s)||Hugh Cruttwell (1953–2002, his death)|
|Children||1 son, 1 daughter|
McEwan was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 1998 for her performance in The Chairs. She also won a BAFTA Award for her performance in the television serial Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1990). From 2004 to 2009 she appeared as Miss Marple, the Agatha Christie sleuth, for the series Marple.
Early life and career
Geraldine McKeown was born on 9 May 1932 in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, to Donald and Norah (née Burns) McKeown. She attended Windsor County Girls' School, then a private school, on a scholarship and took elocution lessons.
As a teenager McEwan became interested in theatre and her extensive theatrical career began at 14 as assistant stage manager at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. She made her first appearance on the Windsor stage in October 1946 as an attendant of Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream and played many parts with the Windsor Repertory Company from March 1949 to March 1951, including a role in the Ruth Gordon bio play Years Ago opposite guest player John Clark. She made her first West End appearance at the Vaudeville Theatre on 4 April 1951 as Christina Deed in Who Goes There!, which was markedly successful.
She appeared at the Stratford Memorial Theatre in the late 1950s and early 1960s, during the period when it was evolving into the Stratford venue for the new Royal Shakespeare Company formed in 1960, and at The Aldwych, the RSC's original London home. During the 1958 season in Startford, she played Olivia in Twelfth Night, Marina in Pericles and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing. She returned to Stratford in 1961 to portray Ophelia in Hamlet and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
She appeared with Kenneth Williams in the original 1965 production of Loot by Joe Orton, which closed at the Wimbledon Theatre before reaching London. McEwan worked more than once with Laurence Olivier on both stage and screen, including Dance of Death staged by Glen Byam Shaw for the National Theatre at the Old Vic in February 1967. A film version of this production was released in 1969.
She took the lead role in a television adaptation of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1978). McEwan was Spark's favourite in the role; Brodie has also been portrayed by Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave. Her other work for television in this period included roles in The Barchester Chronicles (1982) and Mapp and Lucia (1985-86) with Prunella Scales as Mapp and McEwan as Lucia. She won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress in 1983 for her performance in a production of The Rivals.
She made her directing debut in 1988 with the Renaissance Theatre Company's touring season, Renaissance Shakespeare on the Road, co-produced with the Birmingham Rep, and ending with a three-month repertory programme at the Phoenix Theatre in London. McEwan's contribution was a light romantic staging of As You Like It, with Kenneth Branagh playing Touchstone as an Edwardian music hall comedian. In the same season Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi also made their debuts as directors. She won another Evening Standard Best Actress Award in 1995 for her role in a revival of The Way of the World.
With Richard Briers, she starred from November 1997 in a revival of Eugène Ionesco's absurdist play The Chairs in a co-production between Simon McBurney's Theatre de Complicite and London's Royal Court Theatre, who had also staged the British premiere 40 years earlier. This production had a brief run on Broadway between April and June 1998; McEwan was nominated for a Tony Award.
Her later television credits include Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1990) and Mulberry (1992-93). She was also in the Cassandra episode of Red Dwarf (1999), playing a prescient computer. In Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters, (2002), she played the role of Sister Bridget. McEwan played the evil Mortianna in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).
McEwan was selected by Granada Television for Marple (2004-7), a new series featuring the Agatha Christie sleuth Miss Marple. McEwan announced her retirement from the role in 2008 after filming the third series. In 2005, she provided the voice of Miss Thripp in the film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and A Matter of Loaf and Death.
In 1953 McEwan married Hugh Cruttwell, whom she had first met while working at the Theatre Royal, Windsor aged 14. Cruttwell was the Principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1965 to 1984. They had a son Greg, who is an actor and screenwriter, and a daughter, Claudia. Cruttwell died in 2002.
- 1983: London Evening Standard Award for Best Actress, for The Rivals
- 1991: BAFTA for Best Actress, for Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
- 1995: Evening Standard Best Actress Award for The Way of the World
- 1998: Nominated: Tony Award Best Actress The Chairs
|There Was a Young Lady||1953||Irene|
|No Kidding||1960||Catherine Robinson||Beware of Children (U.S.)|
|Dance of Death||1969||Alice|
|The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones||1976||Lady Bellaston|
|Escape from the Dark||1976||Miss Coutt||The Littlest Horse Thieves (U.S.)|
|The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (TV series)||1978||Jean Brodie|
|Foreign Body||1986||Lady Ammanford|
|Mapp and Lucia||1985–1986||Emmeline Lucas (Lucia)|
|Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves||1991||Mortianna|
|The Love Letter||1999||Constance Scattergoods|
|Food of Love||2002||Novotna|
|The Magdalene Sisters||2002||Sister Bridget|
|Vanity Fair||2004||Lady Southdown|
|The Lazarus Child||2004||Janet|
|Carrie's War||2004||Mrs. Gotobed|
Playing Miss Marple in Marple, ITV, 2004–2008
|Marple: The Body in the Library||2004|
|Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage||2004|
|Marple: 4.50 from Paddington||2004|
|Marple: A Murder Is Announced||2005|
|Marple: Sleeping Murder||2005|
|Marple: The Moving Finger||2006|
|Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs||2006|
|Marple: The Sittaford Mystery||2006|
|Marple: At Bertram's Hotel||2007|
|Marple: Ordeal by Innocence||2007|
|Marple: Towards Zero||2008|
- "'Fishnets, tarty wigs – I love all that'". Daily Telegraph. 8 December 2004.
- Who's Who in the Theatre, 17th edition, Gale (1982)
- Michael Coveney "Geraldine McEwan obituary, The Guardian, 31 January 2015
- "Geraldine McEwan ~ The Shakespeare Connection", geraldinemcewan.com
- Prick Up Your Ears by John Lahr, Knopf (1978)
- Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 386. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
- The National: The Theatre and Its Work 1963–1997 by Simon Callow, Nick Hern Books (1997)
- London Theatre in the 20th Century by Robert Tanitch, Haus (2007)
- Matt Wolf "Review: The Chairs", Variety, 13 December 1997
- Harry Haun "Briers and McEwan Dust Off The Chairs for Broadway", Playbill, 17 April 1998
- "Geraldine McEwan", Playbill Vault
- Conlan, Tara (2008-01-23). "McEwan retires from Marple role". Media Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- Claire Armitstead Obituary: Hugh Cruttwell, The Guardian, 29 August 2002
- "The prime of Miss Jane Marple". Mail Online.
- "Actress Geraldine McEwan dies aged 82". BBC News Entertainment & Arts. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- Official website
- Geraldine McEwan at the Internet Movie Database
- Geraldine McEwan at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Geraldine McEwan at the Internet Broadway Database