Joan Greenwood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joan Greenwood
Joan Greenwood in the 1950s
Born(1921-03-04)4 March 1921
Chelsea, London, England
Died28 February 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 65)
London, England
Years active1938–1987
André Morell
(m. 1960; died 1978)

Joan Greenwood (4 March 1921 – 28 February 1987) was an English actress. Her husky voice, coupled with her slow, precise elocution, was her trademark. She is perhaps best remembered for her role as Sibella in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949). Her other film appearances included The Man in the White Suit (1951), The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), Stage Struck (1958), Tom Jones (1963) and Little Dorrit (1987).

Early life[edit]

On 4 March 1921, Greenwood was born in Chelsea, London. Her father was Sydney Earnshaw Greenwood (1887–1949), a portrait artist, and her mother was Ida Greenwood (née Waller).[1]


Greenwood studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


She worked mainly on the stage, where she had a long career, appearing with Donald Wolfit's theatre company in the years following the Second World War.

Greenwood made several memorable screen appearances in Ealing comedies just after the war: Whisky Galore!; as the seductive Sibella in the black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949); and in The Man in the White Suit (1951). She opened The Grass is Greener in the West End in 1952, and played Gwendolyn in a film version of The Importance of Being Earnest released in the same year.

She had leading roles in Stage Struck (1958) and then in Mysterious Island, an adaptation of a Jules Verne novel; and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for Tom Jones (1963).

In 1960, Greenwood appeared as the title character in a production of Hedda Gabler at the Oxford Playhouse.[2] Starring opposite her as Judge Brack was the actor André Morell. They fell in love and flew in secret to Jamaica, where they were married, remaining together until his death in 1978.[3]

Greenwood appeared as Olga, alongside Spike Milligan in Frank Dunlop's production of the play Oblomov, based on the novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov. The play opened at London's Lyric Theatre on 6 October 1964. Greenwood was described as "a model of generosity and tolerance ... the only person in the cast who could not be 'corpsed' by Milligan; although he tried very hard. She looked beautiful, and played the part of Oblomov's unfortunate lady with total integrity. 'She never left the script', says Milligan with a guilty smile of something between irritation and admiration. 'I just couldn't make her crack up. All the rest of us did. She never lost her dignity for a moment.'"[4]

She played Lady Carlton, a quirky romance novelist and the landlady to the main characters, in the British sitcom Girls on Top (1985–86). Her last film was Little Dorrit (1988), which was released posthumously.

Personal life[edit]

Greenwood married André Morell in 1960. Their son is Jason Morell, a film director. On 28 February 1987, Greenwood died of a heart attack in London, less than a week before her 66th birthday.[5]


Joan Greenwood in Moonfleet (1955)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Mr Andre Morell – Stage, film and television actor". The Times. 30 November 1978. p. 19.
  3. ^ "Obituary of Miss Joan Greenwood, The voice that intrigued generations". The Times. 3 March 1987.
  4. ^ Scudamore, Pauline (1985). Spike Milligan: A Biography. London: Granada. ISBN 0-246-12275-7. pp. 215–216
  5. ^ "Jason Morell". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 May 2007.

External links[edit]