6 January 1928|
Chertsey, Surrey, England
31 March 1954 (aged 26)|
|Cause of death||Asphyxia due to gas poisoning|
|Resting place||Golders Green Crematorium|
Harry Fowler (m. 1951–1954)
Joan Dowling (6 January 1928 – 31 March 1954) was an English character actress.
Life and career
The illegitimate daughter of Vera Dowling, Joan was brought up by her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dowling, in Uxbridge. She had a passion for acting, although she was never formally trained, and took roles in small plays, pantomimes and other productions whenever she could. At the age of 14, she approached a London acting agency and was given her first 'proper' part in a small production (title unknown). Her major acting debut came when producer Anthony Hawtrey cast her in the role of Norma Bates in the Joan Temple play No Room at the Inn. The play's first performance was at the Embassy Theatre in July 1945. Subsequently, the play transferred under producer Robert Atkins to the Winter Garden Theatre, Drury Lane. She also played the same role in the 1948 film version, with the screenplay co-written by the famous Welsh author Dylan Thomas and Ivan Foxwell. She signed her first film contract at the age of 17 for Associated British Pictures.
She was perhaps best known for her role as the tomboy Clarry in the 1947 Ealing Studios production Hue and Cry, a story set among the rubble and buildings of post-war London about a group of school children who discover that crooks have been sending coded messages about forthcoming jobs to their gang using the pages of a children's comic. In 1951 she married Harry Fowler, another actor from the cast of Hue and Cry.
On 31 March 1954, Dowling committed suicide by gas poisoning.
|1947||Hue and Cry||Clarry|
|1948||No Room at the Inn||Norma Bates|
|1949||A Man's Affair||Joan|
|For Them That Trespass||Gracie|
|Train of Events||Ella||Directed by Basil Dearden|
|Landfall||Miriam, the Barmaid|
|1950||Murder Without Crime||Grena|
|1951||Pool of London||Pamela|
|The Magic Box||Maggie||Cameo|
|1952||24 Hours of a Woman's Life||Mrs. Barry|
|Women of Twilight||Rosie Gordon|
Selected stage roles
- No Room at the Inn (1945–47) 
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1950) as Puck 
- Robinson Crusoe (1952) as Principal Boy 
- Meet the Huggetts (1953, series 1. Replaced after her death by Vera Day)
- Anthony Hawtrey (editor) (1946). Embassy Successes II. London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co.
- Daily Mirror 1 April 1954 pp 8-9, "Tragedy of Farmer Street's Happy Child"
- Hayward, Anthony (9 January 2012). "Harry Fowler: Prolific screen actor known for his 'cheerful cockney' characters". The Independent. independent.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Daily Mirror 6 April 1954 page 6, "No one in the world for me but Joan, says Harry Fowler"
- The Observer 15 July 1945 p 2
- Daily Mirror 5 May 1947
- Daily Mirror 5 January 1950 p 5
- Daily Mirror7 January 1953 p 4