Susan Penhaligon

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Susan Penhaligon
Born (1949-07-03) 3 July 1949 (age 65)
Manila, Philippines
Occupation Actress, writer
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Nicholas Loukes (m. 1971–1972) (divorced)
David Munro (m. 1974–81) (divorced)
Duncan Preston (m. 1986–92) (divorced)
Partner(s) Duncan Preston (since 1997)
Children Truan Munro (b. 1979)

Susan Penhaligon (born 3 July 1949) is a British actress probably best known for her appearances in the controversial 1976 drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire and for playing Judi Dench's sister in the 1981 sitcom A Fine Romance. She also played a British military officer in Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange (1977).

Early days[edit]

Susan Penhaligon was born in Manila but returned with her family to Cornwall, aged 6. She spent her formative years living in St. Ives and Falmouth. Aged 11 she was sent to boarding school in Bristol where her acting ambitions were encouraged. She has two brothers and a sister in the U.S.A. After her parents divorced, her father went to live in San Francisco and worked as a Private Detective[citation needed]

While training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art,[1] Penhaligon shared a flat with soon-to-be rock star Peter Hammill.[2] Tagged the 'British Bardot' in the 1970s, Clive Aslet in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Penhaligon "was the face of the decade".[3]

Acting career[edit]

Theatre roles[edit]

Susan Penhaligon's first appearance in the theatre was playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Connaught Theatre Worthing in a two weekly repertory company.[4]

In the West End she appeared in a 1987 production of Three Sisters at the Albery Theatre.[5] In 1982, she played a leading part in The Real Thing at the Strand Theatre, Aldwich (now called the Novello). She appeared in The Maintenance Man at the Comedy Theatre in 1987, and played "Curley’s Wife" in a 1984 production of Of Mice and Men at the now defunct Mermaid Theatre.[6] She has toured the UK extensively, appearing in productions of The Constant Wife (Richmond Theatre, 2004),[7] Mrs. Warren's Profession (Richmond Theatre, 2009),[8] Death Trap (Theatre Royal, Norwich, 2002), [9] Agatha Christie's Verdict (Floral Pavilion Theatre, 2011), [4] Dangerous Obsession with Simon Ward (Theatre Royal, Bath, 1989), [10] and Lord Arthur Saville's Crime by Oscar Wilde (Richmond Theatre, 2005).[11]

She was in Time and the Conways, Lower Depths and The Cherry Orchard, and played a leading part in Arthur Miller's Broken Glass at WYP in Leeds.

In the Edinburgh Festival Fringe she appeared in the premiere of Dario Fo's Abduction Diana and she appeared in a critically acclaimed production of Misery at The King's Head Theatre.

TV roles[edit]

Her TV credits include Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Wycliffe, Doctor Who, The Taming of the Shrew by the BBC Shakespeare series, Heart of the Country, A Kind of Loving, and Count Dracula with Louis Jourdan. In A Fine Romance, she played Judi Dench's sister Helen. She has been in three different episodes of Doctors and three different episodes of Casualty. She also played Jean Hope in UK soap Emmerdale, for a year.

Film roles[edit]

Susan Penhaligon had roles in films such as Say Hello to Yesterday (1970), Private Road (1971), Under Milk Wood (1972) as Mae Rose Cottage, No Sex Please, We're British (1973), The Land That Time Forgot (1975), House of Mortal Sin (1976), Nasty Habits (1977), Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange (1977) as a British military officer, The Uncanny (1977), Leopard in the Snow (1978), Patrick, and Top Dog (2014). She also played the role of the sole survivor of LANSA Flight 508, Juliane Koepcke in the film Miracles Still Happen (1974), directed by Giuseppe Maria Scotese.

Writing career[edit]

Her novel For the Love of Angel, published in 2008 by Truran Books, is set in Cornwall in the 1880s.[12]


  1. ^ Catherine Jones "Actress Susan Penhaligon on her role in Agatha Christie’s Verdict", Liverpool Echo,6 May 2011
  2. ^ "My Favourite Things: Susan Penhaligon", The Argus, 6 September 2010
  3. ^ Clive Aslet "Susan Penhaligon take note: vanity is worse than a few wrinkles", Daily Telegraph, 29 December 2009
  4. ^ a b Jones, Catherine (6 May 2011). "Actress Susan Penhaligon on her role in Agatha Christie’s Verdict". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Theatre collections: record view". University of Kent. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Production of Of Mice and Men". Theatricalia. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Munro, David (2004). "Enjoyable, but not the play that Maugham intended". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Mrs Warren's Profession". 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Soul & Penhaligon Take Levin's Deathtrap on Tour". 2 January 2002. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Production of Dangerous Obsession". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Munro, David (2005). "Lord Saville's Crime is to have siphoned Wildw's wit and sparkle". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Truran - The Cornish Publisher". Retrieved 19 September 2014.  ISBN 1850222223

External links[edit]