Jean Kent

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Jean Kent
Jean Kent - publicity.JPG
Kent in 1947
Born
Joan Mildred Summerfield

(1921-06-29)29 June 1921
Died30 November 2013(2013-11-30) (aged 92)
Other namesJean Carr
OccupationActress
Years active1935–1991
Spouse(s)Josef Ramart (1946–1989; his death)

Jean Kent (29 June 1921 − 30 November 2013) was an English film and television actress.

Biography[edit]

Born Joan Mildred Summerfield in Brixton, London,[1] the only child of variety performers Norman Field (né Summerfield) and Nina Norre,[2] she started her theatrical career in 1931 as a dancer.[3] She used the stage name Jean Carr when she appeared as a chorus girl in the Windmill Theatre in London. She was fired from the theatre.[4]

Gainsborough Pictures[edit]

She signed to Gainsborough Pictures during the Second World War. Kent had small roles in It's That Man Again (1943), Miss London Ltd. (1943) and Warn That Man (1944). Kent had a good role in Two Thousand Women (1944), playing a stripper who is interned by the Germans. She was a Pacific Islander in Bees in Paradise (1944) with Arthur Askey and was the ingenue in a Tommy Trinder musical Champagne Charlie (1944).[citation needed]

The turning point in her career came when she was given a dramatic part in the Gainsborough melodrama film Fanny by Gaslight (1944). She played a part turned down by Margaret Lockwood – the childhood friend of Phyllis Calvert who becomes the mistress of James Mason. The movie, also starring Stewart Granger, was popular in Britain and established Kent as Gainsborough's back up to Margaret Lockwood.[5][6]

Kent played another sexually aggressive girl in Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) with Calvert and Granger. It was a big hit. Rank borrowed her to support Rex Harrison in The Rake's Progress (1945) then back at Gainsborough she was in Waterloo Road (1945) with John Mills and Granger.

Stardom[edit]

Kent shared top billing with Granger in Caravan (1946), playing a gypsy girl in another melodrama. It was a big hit and Kent was given a new contract.[7] Granger and Kent were reunited in The Magic Bow (1946), with Kent again taking a part originally meant for Margaret Lockwood.

After a support role in Carnival (1946) with Michael Wilding, Kent was the female lead in The Man Within (1947), a costume adventure from a novel by Graham Greene. Kent had a good part in The Loves of Joanna Godden (1947) and was given a star role in Good-Time Girl (1948), a melodrama about a girl who goes off the rails.

Kent was top billed as one of several names in Bond Street (1948) and was the female lead in a thriller 'Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948), playing a spy.

Kent had her best chance yet playing the lead in a musical Trottie True (1949) which became her favorite film. She made a comedy in Italy, Her Favourite Husband (1950) and appeared opposite Dirk Bogarde in The Woman in Question (1950).[4]

She starred in the melodrama The Reluctant Widow (1951) then had a good role as the wife in The Browning Version (1951).

In 1950 she was voted the 9th biggest British star in Britain.[8] The following year she was 8th.[9]

Kent was in a thriller The Lost Hours (1952) with American actor Mark Stevens and Before I Wake (1954). In 1953 she was in a play Uncertain Joy.[10]

In 1954 she fell ill while touring in a stage production of The Deep Blue Sea in South Africa.[11]

Later career[edit]

Kent's film appearances grew less frequent from the mid 1950s onward. She had support roles in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and Bonjour Tristesse (1958) and a good part in the horror film The Haunted Strangler (1959). She was in the comedy Please Turn Over (1959) and the thriller Beyond This Place (1959). She was one of several female stars in Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (1960) with George Sanders.[2]

She played Queen Elizabeth I in the historical TV adventure series Sir Francis Drake filmed in 1961–62.

In 1982, she played Jennifer Lamont in the soap opera Crossroads.

Personal life[edit]

Kent was married to Austrian actor Josef Ramart from 1946 until his death in 1989, aged 70. They met on the set of Caravan.[2][12] Actor Stewart Granger was the best man at their wedding.[13] They appeared together in the films Caravan and Trottie True. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Strand Theatre. Kent made her last public appearance in June 2011, when she was honoured by the British Film Institute on her 90th birthday.

Death[edit]

Kent died in the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds on 30 November 2013, following a fall at her home in[2] Westhorpe.[14] The coroner recorded a narrative verdict that Kent died from accidental injuries and that cardiac disease may have contributed to a fall.[15]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1935 Who's Your Father Mary Radcliffe
1939 A Ship in the Bay Iris
1943 It's That Man Again Kitty
1943 Warn That Man Frances Lane
1944 Bees in Paradise Jani
1944 Fanny by Gaslight Lucy Beckett AKA, Man of Evil
1944 Champagne Charlie Dolly Bellwood
1944 Two Thousand Women Bridie Johnson
1945 Madonna of the Seven Moons Vittoria
1945 Waterloo Road Toni
1945 The Rake's Progress Jill Duncan AKA, Notorious Gentleman
1946 Caravan Rosal
1946 The Magic Bow Bianca
1946 Carnival Irene Dale
1947 The Man Within Lucy AKA, The Smugglers
1947 The Loves of Joanna Godden Ellen Godden
1948 Good-Time Girl Gwen Rawlings
1948 Bond Street Ricki Merritt
1948 Sleeping Car to Trieste Valya
1949 Trottie True Trottie True AKA, The Gay Lady
1950 The Inheritance Helena
1950 Her Favourite Husband Dorothy Pellegrini AKA, The Taming of Dorothy
1950 The Woman in Question Agnes / Astra AKA, Five Angles on Murder
1951 The Browning Version Millie Crocker-Harris
1952 The Big Frame Louise Parker
1955 Before I Wake Florence Haddon AKA, Shadow of Fear
1957 The Prince and the Showgirl Maisie Springfield
1958 Bonjour Tristesse Helen Lombard
1958 The Haunted Spangler Cora Seth
1959 Beyond This Place Louise Burt AKA, Web of Evidence
1959 Please Turn Over Janet Halliday
1960 Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons Julienne Guillin
1976 Shout at the Devil Mrs. Smythe

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1947 Cinderella Prince Charming TV miniseries
1949 Big Ben Grace Green TV film
1955 London Playhouse Elsa Carter Episode: "A Call on the Widow"
1956 Theatre Royal Ada Weston Episode: "The Lovebirds"
1956 Pantomania, or Dick Whittington Dick Whittington TV film
1956 The Errol Flynn Theatre Henrietta Episode: "1000th Night of Don Juan"
1956, 1958 Sunday Night Theatre Polly Tremayne, Jeanne Liron Episodes: "Morning Star", "The Sulky Fire"
1957 The Twelve Pound Look Lady Sims TV film
1957 ITV Television Playhouse Alicia Collins Episode: "Love Her to Death"
1958 Web Rita Carpenter Episodes: "The Painting", "The Other Warren", "The Gallery"
1958 Sword of Freedom Valeska Episode: "The Lion and the Mouse"
1958 Dick Whittington and His Cat Dick Whittington TV film
1959 Epilogue to Capricorn Lady Kerwin TV series
1959, 1962 ITV Play of the Week Molly, Ariane Episodes: "The Signal", "Coach 7, Seat 15"
1960 Hotel Imperial Madame Trazini Episode: "The Leopardess in 424"
1961 Debt to a Spy Madame Sophie TV short
1961–62 Sir Francis Drake Queen Elizabeth I Main role
1963 Maupassant Marquise Obardi Episode: "Yvette"
1963, 1965 No Hiding Place Paula Hudson, Mrs. Black Episodes: "A Pocketful of Bones", "Rat in a Trap"
1963–1965 Emergency – Ward 10 Gillian Blaine Guest role
1964 Love Story Zoe Slater Episode: "The Smile on the Face of a Tiger"
1964 The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling Mrs. Threegan Episodes: "Three: And an Extra", "The Sending of Dana Da", "The Rescue of Pluffles"
1966 This Man Craig Joyce Maitland Episode: "Period of Adjustment"
1966–67 United! Margie Stringer Guest role
1967 Vanity Fair Mrs. O'Dowd Episode: "The Celebrated Battle Scene"
1968 Comedy Playhouse Aggie Plunkett Episode: "The Family of Fred"
1968 Detective Miss Mayberry Episode: "The Deadly Climate"
1968 The Wednesday Play Mrs. Da Tanka Episode: "A Night with Mrs. Da Tanka"
1968–69 Thicker Than Water Aggie Plunkett TV series
1969 The Doctors Mrs. Randall Episodes: "1.8", "1.9"
1970 ITV Playhouse Beatrice Episode: "Brother and Sister"
1970 Un Pompeii! Aphrodite Episode: "Exodus"
1970 Steptoe and Son Daphne Goodlace Episode: "Two's Company"
1971 Doctor at Large Mrs. Bentinck Episode: "Trains & Notes & Veins"
1971 A Family at War Dora Martin Episode: "Flesh and Blood"
1972 Public Eye Mrs. Podmore Episode: "Mrs. Podmore's Cat"
1974 Thriller Mrs. Garrick Episode: "Color Him Dead"
1976 Angels Miss Buckle Episode: "Legacies"
1978 Do You Remember? Milly Billet Episode: "Night School"
1978 Tycoon Mary Clark TV series
1980 Time of My Life Mrs. Wordsworth Episodes: "1.4", "1.5"
1981 Crossroads Jennifer Lamont Episode: "1.3543"
1985 Lytton's Diary Margot Shelley Episode: "The Silly Season"
1990 Missing Persons Phillida Meadowhite TV film
1991 Lovejoy Madelene Gilbert Episode: "National Wealth"
1991 Shrinks Charlotte Merrick Episode: "1.5"

Box office ranking[edit]

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.

  • 1950 – 9th[8]
  • 1951 – 8th[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Walker Halliwell's Who's Who of the Movies, London: HarperCollins, 1999, p. 229; ISBN 0-00-255905-6
  2. ^ a b c d "Film star Jean Kent dies at 92". Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Jean Kent". North-eastern Advertiser. XXXVIII (5). Tasmania, Australia. 21 January 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b "Jean Kent plays five women in newest film". The Australian Women's Weekly. 18 (5). 8 July 1950. p. 48. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "With a different hair style for every film, Jean Kent remains the most provocative woman on the screen. MOST POPULAR BRITISH STAR A WICKED LADY". The Argus (32, [?]). Melbourne. 16 November 1951. p. 5 (The Argus Magazine). Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "BRITAIN". The Sun (2191). Sydney. 8 April 1945. p. 3 (Supplement to The SUNDAY SUN). Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Jean Kent Star of "Caravan"". Glen Innes Examiner. New South Wales, Australia. 25 February 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b "Success Of British Films." Times London, England 29 December 1950: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Vivien Leigh Actress of the Year". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld. 29 December 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 24 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Sara Quads' day with a movie star". The Australian Women's Weekly. 21 (16). 16 September 1953. p. 29. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ Jean kent 'seriously ill'. (1954, May 16). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112880919?accountid=13902
  12. ^ "FILM CABLE FROM LONDON". The Sunday Times (Western Australia). Perth. 17 March 1946. p. 13 Supplement: The Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 2 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ Ramart on the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ "Jean Kent: Suffolk Gainsborough melodramas actress dies". BBC News Online. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Jean Kent: Film star may have suffered heart attack". Retrieved 8 May 2014.

External links[edit]