Belita in 1940
Maria Belita Jepson-Turner
21 October 1923
|Died||18 December 2005 (aged 82)|
|Spouse(s)||Joel McGinnis (1946–1956; divorced)|
James Berwick (né James Kenny), 1967–2000; his death
Maria Belita Jepson-Turner (21 October 1923 – 18 December 2005), known professionally as Belita, was a British Olympic figure skater, dancer and film actress.
Born at Nether Wallop, Hampshire, she skated (as Belita Jepson-Turner) for the United Kingdom in the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she was placed 16th in the singles, then her career turned towards Hollywood. She had classical Russian ballet training which carried over into her skating, and she was considered far superior to others skating at that time. As a young ballerina she was partner to Anton Dolin, appearing with the Dolin-Markova Ballet.
She appeared in films including Never Let Me Go (1953) with Clark Gable and The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) opposite Charles Laughton. For a brief period she was Monogram Pictures' highest-paid star. She made several highly profitable productions for Monogram, including Silver Skates (1943), Lady, Let's Dance (1944), and the film noir Suspense (1946).
In 1946, Belita married Joel McGinnis; they divorced in 1956. She remarried, to Irish actor James Berwick, né James Kenny (1929–2000). In 1956, she retired from skating, and three years later gave up show business altogether. She appeared briefly on the ice at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1981 in a short production based on "Solitude" by Duke Ellington. Both marriages were childless.
- Silver Skates (1943)
- Lady, Let's Dance (1944)
- Suspense (1946)
- The Gangster (1947)
- The Hunted (1948)
- The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949)
- Never Let Me Go (1953)
- Invitation to the Dance (1956)
- The Terrace (1963)
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