Josephine Griffin

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Josephine Griffin

Josephine Griffin (13 December 1928 – 15 September 2005) was a well-known English film actress who appeared in a string of British films in the 1950s, such as The Purple Plain (1954), The Man Who Never Was (1956) and The Spanish Gardener (1956). After retiring from acting, under her married name Josephine Filmer-Sankey, she wrote about the Bayeux Tapestry and edited the autobiography of Sir John Mandeville.


Josephine Griffin was born in London on 13 December 1928, the only daughter of Ronald Griffin (son of Sir Lepel Griffin, a British colonial administrator in India).[1]

In 1951–52 she acted in Peter Ustinov's play The Moment of Truth at the Adelphi Theatre in London, with Eric Portman and Cyril Luckham also in the cast.

She then appeared in a number of films in the 1950s. These included: The House of the Arrow (1953), The Weak and the Wicked (1954), The Purple Plain (1954, as Gregory Peck's wife), The Crowded Day (1954), an episode of the television series Fabian of the Yard (1955), Room in the House (1955), The Extra Day (1956) and On Such a Night (short; 1956).

She had perhaps her best roles in two other 1956 films; as Pam in The Man Who Never Was, and as Carol Burton in The Spanish Gardener.[2]

She married in London on 11 October 1956.[1] She made one more film, Portrait of Alison (1958; released in the USA as Postmark for Danger), then retired from the screen.

Husband's family[edit]

Her husband Patrick Hugh Filmer-Sankey was a film producer. He was the grandson of Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, and Constance Cornwallis-West (Winston Churchill's step-aunt by marriage).[3]

Josephine Griffin's other connection to Winston Churchill was that he was an unseen character in The Man Who Never Was; his voice was supplied by Peter Sellers.

Literary career[edit]

Under her married name Josephine Filmer-Sankey, she co-wrote The Bayeux Tapestry: The Story of the Norman Conquest, 1066, with Norman Denny (published 1966). With Denny, she also edited a new version of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (1973).

She died in London on 15 September 2005, aged 76, survived by her son William and two grandchildren, Frances and Benedict.[4]

Her name has been attached to a pearl bracelet sold commercially.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1953 The House of the Arrow Ann Upcott
1954 The Weak and the Wicked Miriam
1954 The Purple Plain Mrs. Bill Forrester
1954 The Crowded Day Yvonne
1955 Room in the House Julia
1955 Fabian of the Yard Jill Stewart
1956 The Man Who Never Was Pam
1956 The Extra Day Toni Howard
1956 The Spanish Gardener Carol Burton


  1. ^ a b Peerage News[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ IMDb: Josephine Griffin
  3. ^ The Peerage
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  5. ^ Pearl Magpie

External links[edit]