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|Born||Phyllis Hannah Bickle
18 February 1915
Chelsea, London, England
|Died||8 October 2002
|Spouse(s)||Peter Murray-Hill (1941–57) (one daughter and one son)|
Phyllis Calvert (18 February 1915 – 8 October 2002) was an English film, stage and television actress. She was one of the leading stars of the Gainsborough melodramas of the 1940s, and continued acting until some 50 years later.
Born Phyllis Hannah Bickle in Chelsea, she trained at the Margaret Morris School of Dancing and performed from the age of ten, gaining her first film role at the age of 12, in The Arcadians (1927), also known as The Land of Heart's Desire. Calvert performed in repertory theatre and in several films, before making her London stage debut in A Woman's Privilege in 1939. In 1942, she had the lead role as Patricia Graham in Terence Rattigan's Flare Path.
She first found success in the film adaptation of H. G. Wells' Kipps (1941), but it was in the Gainsborough melodrama The Man in Grey (1943) that confirmed her status. During the following decade, she starred in many romances, including Fanny by Gaslight, with James Mason and Stewart Granger, and My Own True Love, becoming one of Britain's highest paid stars. However, three Hollywood studios failed to pay her what she asked.
She acted in over 40 films, her later films include Oh! What a Lovely War and The Walking Stick. Calvert had already appeared on television, playing Mrs. March in the 1958 serials Little Women and Good Wives (both adapted from Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women), as well as individual episodes of several other programmes, when, in 1970, she landed the part of an agony aunt with problems of her own in Kate. She made TV appearances in programmes such as Crown Court, Ladykillers, Tales of the Unexpected, Boon, After Henry and The Line Grove Story. She also played D.I. Barnaby's Aunt Alice (Alice Bly) in a Midsomer Murders episode "Blue Herrings" in 2000.
She was married to the actor and antiquarian bookseller Peter Murray Hill, with whom she had two children, Ann Auriol (born 1943) and Piers Auriol (born 1954). She died in London in 2002, from natural causes, aged 87.
- The Arcadians (1927)
- Two Days to Live (1939)
- Let George Do It! (1940)
- Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt (1940)
- Neutral Port (1940)
- They Came by Night (1940)
- Inspector Hornleigh Goes To It (1941)
- Kipps (1941)
- The Young Mr Pitt (1942)
- Uncensored (1942)
- The Man in Grey (1943)
- Two Thousand Women (1944)
- Fanny by Gaslight (1944)
- Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945)
- They Were Sisters (1945)
- The Magic Bow (1946)
- Men of Two Worlds (1946)
- The Root of All Evil (1947)
- Time Out of Mind (1947)
- Broken Journey (1948)
- Golden Madonna (1949)
- My Own True Love (1949)
- The Woman with No Name (1950)
- Appointment with Danger (1951)
- Mr. Denning Drives North (1952)
- Mandy (1952)
- The Net (1953)
- It's Never Too Late (1956)
- Child in the House (1956)
- A Lady Mislaid (1958)
- The Young and the Guilty (1958)
- Indiscreet (1958)
- Oscar Wilde (1960)
- The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965)
- Twisted Nerve (1968)
- Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
- The Walking Stick (1970)
- Mrs Dalloway (1997)
- Midsomer Murders Blue Herrings (2000)
Box Office ranking
For a number of years, British film exhibitors voted her among the top ten British stars at the box office via an annual poll in the Motion Picture Herald.
- "CROSBY and HOPE try their luck in Alaska.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 2 March 1946. p. 3 Supplement: The Mercury Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "FILM WORLD.". The West Australian (Perth: National Library of Australia). 28 February 1947. p. 20 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- "Phyllis Calvert". The Times. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Lewis, Paul (12 October 2002). "Phyllis Calvert, 87, Virtuous Heroine of Wartime Melodramas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- "Actress Phyllis Calvert dies". BBC News. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- "Phyllis Calvert". Telegraph. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- "Modest star a symbol of womanhood". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 October 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Phyllis Calvert biography and filmography at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Phyllis Calvert at the Internet Movie Database
- Phyllis Calvert at Find a Grave
- Photographs and literature