Kay Walsh in Lease of Life
15 November 1911
Chelsea, London, England, UK
|Died||16 April 2005 (aged 93)|
Chelsea, London, England, UK
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, writer|
(m. 1940; div. 1949)
(m. 1949; div. 1956)
Kathleen "Kay" Walsh (15 November 1911 – 16 April 2005) was an English actress and dancer. Her film career prospered after she met her future husband film director David Lean, with whom she worked on prestige productions such as In Which We Serve and Great Expectations. She also worked successfully with Alec Guinness.
Early life and career
She was born in Chelsea, London, but was raised in Pimlico by her grandmother. She began her career as a dancer in West End music halls, and at the age of 17 she began going out with Pownoll Pellew (later 9th Viscount Exmouth), and they shared an interest in sports cars. She made her film debut in How's Chances? (1934) in a small part, and had a larger role in Get Your Man, another 1934 film. She continued to act in "quota quickies" films for several years. Walsh first met David Lean, then a film editor, in 1936, during the filming of Secret of Stamboul. They began a relationship, and Walsh broke her engagement to Pellew. Walsh and Lean married on 23 November 1940. She moved on to prestige films with appearances in In Which We Serve (1942) and This Happy Breed (1944), both directed by Lean and written by Noël Coward. Walsh campaigned for Lean to receive co-director credit on In Which We Serve.
Walsh contributed dialogue to the 1938 film of Pygmalion, and devised the scenario for the closing sequence of Lean's film adaptation of Great Expectations (1946), for which she received a writing credit on the latter film. She devised the opening sequence of Lean's adaptation of Oliver Twist (1948) and played Nancy. Walsh and Lean divorced in 1949 on grounds of infidelity based on Lean's relationship with actress Ann Todd. Walsh continued to work as a character actress in films through the 1950s, including films with Alfred Hitchcock and Ronald Neame. Her own favourite film role was that of the barmaid Miss D. Coker in Neame's 1958 film of The Horse's Mouth, with Alec Guinness.
Between films, she appeared regularly in plays and farces at the Strand and Aldwych theatres, directed by Basil Dean. She was a semi-regular on the 1979 Anglo-Polish TV series Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and remained active in films until her retirement in 1981. Her last role was in Night Crossing.
Second marriage, later life, and death
Her second marriage was to the Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques, and they adopted daughter Gemma in 1956. This marriage also ended in divorce.
|1934||The Bedroom Diplomat||Uncredited|
|Get Your Man||Mary Vivien|||
|1935||Smith's Wives||Mabel Smith|
|1936||If I Were Rich||Chrissie de la Mothe|
|The Luck of the Irish||Eileen O'Donnel|
|Secret of Stamboul||Diana|||
|All That Glitters||Eve Payne-Coade|
|1937||Keep Fit||Joan Allen|||
|The Last Adventurers||Margaret Arkell|||
|1938||I See Ice||Judy Gaye|||
|Meet Mr. Penny||Peggy Allgood|
|1939||The Mind of Mr. Reeder||Peggy Gillette|
|Sons of the Sea||Alison Devar|
|1940||All at Sea||Diana|
|The Chinese Bungalow||Sadie Merivale|
|The Second Mr. Bush||Angela Windel-Todd|
|The Middle Watch||Fay Eaton|
|1942||In Which We Serve||Freda Lewis|||
|1944||This Happy Breed||Queenie Gibbons|||
|1947||The October Man||Molly Newman|
|1948||Vice Versa||Florence Verlane|||
|1950||Stage Fright||Nellie Goode|||
|Last Holiday||Mrs Poole|||
|The Magnet||Mrs Brent|||
|1951||Encore||Miss Molly Reid|||
|The Magic Box||Hotel Receptionist|
|Meet Me Tonight||Lily Pepper|
|1953||Young Bess||Mrs Ashley|||
|Gilbert Harding Speaking of Murder||Priscilla|
|1954||Calling Scotland Yard: The Missing Passenger||Priscilla||Short|
|The Rainbow Jacket||Barbara|||
|Lease of Life||Vera Thorne|||
|1955||Cast a Dark Shadow||Charlotte Young|||
|1956||Now and Forever||Miss Muir|
|1958||The Horse's Mouth||Dee Coker|||
|1960||Tunes of Glory||Mary Titterington|||
|1961||Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog||Mrs Brown|
|1962||Reach for Glory||Mrs Curlew|||
|The L-Shaped Room||Prostitute||Uncredited|
|Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow||Mrs Waggett|
|1964||Circus World||Flo Hunt|
|The Beauty Jungle||Mrs. Freeman|||
|1965||He Who Rides a Tiger||Mrs Woodley|||
|A Study in Terror||Cathy Eddowes|
|1966||The Witches||Stephanie Bax|||
|1967||Bikini Paradise||Harriet Pembroke|
|1969||Journey to the Unknown||Mrs Joan Walker||TV movie|
|1970||Connecting Rooms||Mrs Brent|
|The Virgin and the Gypsy||Aunt Cissie|||
|1971||Taste of Excitement||Miss Barrow|
|1972||The Ruling Class||Mrs Piggot-Jones|||
|1982||Night Crossing||Doris' mother|||
- McFarlane, Brian (2009). "Walsh, Kathleen (Kay) (1911-2005)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Tom Vallance (27 April 2005). "Kay Walsh (obituary)". The Independent. London. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- Dave Cox, Ave Atque Vale, p 15
- "Kay Walsh (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph. London. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- Brian Baxter (29 April 2005). "Kay Walsh (obituary)". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- "The Rainbow Jacket". studiocanal.co.uk. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- Cox, David (2006). Ave Atque Vale - the story of the Vale Special. Berkshire: Martin Publications. ISBN 978-0-9553010-0-1.
- Kevin Brownlow, David Lean, Faber & Faber, 1997.
- Silverman, Stephen M., David Lean, Harry N. Abrams, 1989.