Massey in Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)
|Born||Anna Raymond Massey
11 August 1937
Thakeham, Sussex, England
|Died||3 July 2011
Anna Raymond Massey, CBE (11 August 1937 – 3 July 2011) was an English actress. She won a BAFTA Award for the role of Edith Hope in the 1986 TV adaptation of Anita Brookner's novel Hotel du Lac in a role which one of her co-stars, Julia McKenzie, has said "could have been written for her."
Massey was born in Thakeham, Sussex, England, the daughter of British actress Adrianne Allen and Canadian-born Hollywood actor Raymond Massey. Her brother, Daniel Massey, was also an actor. She was the niece of Vincent Massey, a Governor General of Canada, and her godfather was film director John Ford.
Although she had no formal training at either drama school or in repertory, in May 1955 at the age of 17, Anna Massey made her first appearance on stage at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, as Jane in The Reluctant Debutante, subsequently making her first London appearance in the same play at the Cambridge Theatre in May 1955 "and was suddenly famous". She then left the cast in London to repeat her performance in New York in October 1956. In the 1990s she appeared with Alan Bennett in a dramatised reading of T.S. Eliot's and Virginia Woolf's letters in a production at the Charleston Festival devised by Patrick Garland.
Several of her early film roles were in mystery thrillers. She made her cinema debut in the Scotland Yard film Gideon's Day (1958), as Sally, daughter of Jack Hawkins's Detective Inspector. The director was her godfather John Ford. She played a potential murder victim in Michael Powell's cult thriller Peeping Tom (1960) and appeared in Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965). In 1972, she played the role of the barmaid Babs in Alfred Hitchcock's penultimate film Frenzy. In the documentary on the film's DVD release, Massey mentioned that she originally auditioned for the much smaller role of the secretary Monica, a part for which Jean Marsh was cast. She also noted that her character's nude scenes in Frenzy were performed by body doubles. Massey appeared with her brother Daniel playing deadly siblings in the horror film The Vault of Horror (1973).
Massey continued to make occasional film and stage appearances, but worked more frequently in television, making her first small screen appearance as Jacqueline in Green of the Year in October 1955 and in dramas such as The Pallisers (1974), the 1978 adaptation of Rebecca (in which she starred with her ex-husband, Jeremy Brett), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1978), The Cherry Orchard (1980), and Anna Karenina (1985). She had roles in the British comedy series The Darling Buds of May (1991) and The Robinsons (2005). She also appeared in a number of mysteries and thrillers on television, including episodes of Inspector Morse, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Midsomer Murders, Strange, Lewis, and Agatha Christie's Poirot.
With Imelda Staunton, she co-devised and starred as Josephine Daunt in Daunt and Dervish on BBC radio. She was the narrator of This Sceptred Isle on BBC Radio 4, a history of Britain from Roman times which ran for more than 300 fifteen-minute episodes. In 2009, she also appeared in a new radio version of The Killing of Sister George.
In 1987, Massey was awarded the British Academy TV Award for Best Actress for her role in Hotel du Lac  after acquiring the TV rights two years earlier, only a few weeks before the novel won the Booker Prize. She also appeared as Mrs. D'Urberville in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, an older version of May and as Rosie in An Angel For May, and in the 2004 BBC version of Our Mutual Friend.
One of Massey's assets as an actress was her "extraordinary voice... it was so listenable." Although Massey's parts were varied, her "cut-glass English accent conveyed a cold and repressed character on screen". Michael Billington of The Guardian characterised her work as being informed by "stillness", such as in the National Theatre's production of Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska.
She was known for a high level of preparation and effort, with one producer saying that she had a practice of using five different coloured pens on scripts to mark out "breaths and pauses" and the development of a scene, for example "if a phrase early in a paragraph was going to be picked up again later, she would highlight those two bits in the same colour, so that it would remind her that that first phrase was referring to something later."
In the New Year's Honours List published 31 December 2004 she was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to drama.
Massey published an autobiography in 2006, Telling Some Tales, in which she revealed a difficult early life and discussed her failed marriage (1958–1962) to actor Jeremy Brett, discussing his struggle with bipolar disorder. The couple had one son, writer and illustrator David Huggins (b. 1959). At an August 1988 dinner party held at the home of their mutual friend, Joy Whitby, she met Russian-born metallurgist Uri Andres, who had been based at Imperial College, London since 1975. The couple were married from November 1988 until her death in 2011.
Massey was quoted as saying, "Theatre eats up too much of your family life. I have a grandson and a husband and I'd rather I was able to be a granny and a wife."
Massey died from cancer on 3 July 2011, aged 73. She is survived by her son, grandson and second husband.
Selected TV and filmography
|1958||Gideon's Day||Sally Gideon|
|1965||Bunny Lake Is Missing||Elvira Smollett|
|1970||Wicked Women||Christiana Edmunds||TV episode|
|1973||The Vault of Horror||Donna Rogers|
|1974||The Pallisers||Laura Kennedy||TV miniseries|
|1978||The Mayor of Casterbridge||Lucetta Templeman|
|1979||Rebecca||Mrs. Danvers||TV miniseries|
|1979||A Little Romance||Ms. Seigel|
|1983||Mansfield Park (1983 TV serial)||Mrs. Norris||TV series|
|1984||Journey into the Shadows: Portrait of Gwen John||Gwen John||TV film|
|1986||Hotel du Lac||Edith Hope||BAFTA award-winning TV role|
|1986||Foreign Body||Miss Furze|
|1987||A Hazard of Hearts||Eudora, Serena's Maid|
|1989||A Tale of Two Cities||Miss Pross|
|1989||Around the World in 80 Days||Queen Victoria|
|1991||Impromptu||George Sand's mother|
|1992||Inspector Morse||Lady Emily Balcombe||TV series, 'Happy Families'|
|1995||The Grotesque||Mrs. Giblet|
|1997||Deja Vu||Fern Stoner|
|1998||Midsomer Murders||Honoria Lyddiard||Episode "Written in Blood"|
|1999||Captain Jack||Phoebe Pickles|
|2000||Room to Rent||Sarah – A healer|
|2001||Dark Blue World||English teacher|
|2002||The Importance of Being Earnest||Miss Prism|
|2004||The Machinist||Mrs Shrike|
|2004||He Knew He Was Right||Miss Stanbury||TV film|
|2005||Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont||Mrs Arbuthnot|
|2006||The Worst Week of My Life||Aunt Yvonne|
|2007||Fairy Stories by The Brothers Grimm||Narrator||Audiobook|
|2007||Lewis||Professor Margaret Gold|
|2007||Oliver Twist||Mrs Bedwin||TV miniseries|
|2008||Doctor Who – The Girl Who Never Was||Miss Pollard||8th Doctor audiobook|
|2008||Tess of the D'Urbervilles||Mrs D'Urberville||TV miniseries|
|2008||The Oxford Murders||Mrs. Julia Eagleton|
|2008||Affinity||Miss Haxby||TV film|
|2010||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Miss Pebmarsh|
|2011||Act of Memory||Older Maria||short|
- "Anna Massey". The Film Programme. 17 August 2007. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Anna Massey dies at 73". The Guardian. 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- The Sunday Times Magazine, The Sunday Times, 18 December 2011, page 64
- Maitland, Peter (23 Nov 1956). "Anna Massey Recalls Sudden Leap to Stardom on Stage". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. p. 10. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Associated Press (6 July 2011). "Anna Massey, TV and Film Actress, Dies at 73". The New York Times.
- Presented by John Wilson (2011-07-08). "[Radio 4, "Last Word"]". [Word]. BBC. Radio 4.
- "Anna Massey: Obituaries". The Daily Telegraph (London). 5 July 2011. p. 27. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- BBC News: "Actress Anna Massey dies at the age of 73"
- "Anna Massey (Obituary)". The Times (London). 5 July 2011. p. 49.
- Who's Who in the Theatre, 17th edition, Gale 1981 ISBN 0-8103-0235-7
- Taylor, Alan F. (2002). Folkestone Past and Present. Somerset: Breedon Books. pp. 22–24. ISBN 1859832962.
- "BAFTA Awards Search". awards.bafta.org. 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Bergen, Ronald (4 July 2011), "Anna Massey obituary", The Guardian
- Billington, Michael (4 July 2011), "Anna Massey obituary", The Guardian
- BBC NEWS: "Anna Massey collects CBE"
- David Huggins "At Christmas I dreaded playing charades", The Guardian, 17 November 2001
- Sue Fox "How we met: Uri Andres and Anna Massey", The Independent, 7 March 1993
- "IMDB entry for Anna Massey". Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Anna Massey at the Internet Movie Database
- Anna Massey at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Stage performances in Theatre Archive University of Bristol
- Anna Massey at AllMovie
- Obituary in The Independent
- Obituary in The Telegraph
- Anna Massey at Find a Grave