Edna Best

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Edna Best
Edna Best.jpg
Born Edna Hove
(1900-03-03)3 March 1900
Hove, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Died 18 September 1974(1974-09-18) (aged 74)
Geneva, Switzerland
Occupation Actress
Years active 1917–1959
Spouse(s) Nat Wolff (m. 1940–59); his death
Herbert Marshall (m. 1928–40); divorced; 1 child
Seymour Beard (19??-1928); divorced; twins
Children Sarah Marshall

Edna Best (3 March 1900 – 18 September 1974) was a British actress.

Early life[edit]

Born in Hove, Sussex, England, she was educated in Brighton and later studied dramatic acting under Miss Kate Rorke who was the first Professor of Drama at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.


Edna Best was known on the London stage before she entered films in 1921, having made her debut at the Grand Theatre, Southampton in Charley's Aunt in 1917. She also won a silver swimming cup as the lady swimming champion of Sussex.

She is best remembered for her role as the mother in the original 1934 film version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. Among her other film credits are Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939), Swiss Family Robinson (1940), The Late George Apley and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (both 1947) and The Iron Curtain (1948).

She received a nomination for an Emmy Award in 1957 for her role in This Happy Breed. Best had appeared on television as early as 1938, in a production of the play Love from a Stranger, adapted from the Agatha Christie short story Philomel Cottage by Frank Vosper. The Wednesday afternoon broadcast was aired live, not recorded and could be seen only in London due to the limitations of the nascent technology.

Personal life[edit]

Best was married three times and divorced twice.

Her first marriage, to William Seymour Beard, ended in divorce in 1928. The London Divorce Court gave Beard custody of the couple's twins (James and John Beard[1]) in granting the divorce "owing to the misconduct of his wife, Miss Best, with Mr. Marshall."[2] The "Mr. Marshall" referred to was actor Herbert Marshall, whose divorce from Hilda Lloyd Marshall ("owing to the misconduct of her husband ... with ... Miss Edna Best") was granted in the same court session.[2] Best later was married to Marshall from November 28, 1928,[3] until 1940, and they had a daughter, actress Sarah Marshall. She married talent agent Nat Wolff 7 February 1940, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The judge "who granted the divorce [from Marshall] after a five minute closed hearing, performed the marriage a few minutes later."[1]

Best suffered a stroke in 1959.[4]


Edna Best has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures at 6124 Hollywood Boulevard.


She died in Geneva, Switzerland in 1974, aged 74.


Radio appearances[edit]

Year Programme Episode/Source
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air Love from a Stranger[5]
1953 Theatre Guild on the Air Jane[6]


  1. ^ a b "Edna Best Divorces Herbert Marshall, Weds an Agent" (February 8, 1940). Daytona Beach Morning Journal. p. 3. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Miss Edna Best Divorced". The Advertiser. June 28, 1928. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Actor Edna Best Divorces Marshall And Marries Wolff". The Lincoln Star. February 7, 1940. p. 7. Retrieved 23 May 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Actress Suffers Stroke". The Decatur Herald. May 7, 1959. p. 1. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Kirby, Walter (January 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 19, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]