Margaret Lockwood

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For other people named Margaret Lockwood, see Margaret Lockwood (disambiguation).
Margaret Lockwood
Publicity photo of Margaret Lockwood
Margaret Lockwood, 1938
Born Margaret Mary Day Lockwood
(1916-09-15)15 September 1916
Karachi, British India
Died 15 July 1990(1990-07-15) (aged 73)
London, England
Years active 1928–1983
Spouse(s) Rupert Leon (m. 1937; div. 1949)
Children Julia Lockwood

Margaret Lockwood, CBE (15 September 1916 – 15 July 1990) was an English actress who was a film star in the 1930s and 1940s.

Early life[edit]

Margaret Mary Day Lockwood was born on 15 September 1916 in Karachi, British India, to Henry Francis Lockwood, an English administrator of a railway company, and his Scottish third wife Margaret Eveline Waugh.[1] She returned to England in 1920 with her mother, brother 'Lyn' and half-brother Frank, and a further half-sister 'Fay' joined them the following year, but her father remained in Karachi, visiting them infrequently. She also had another half-brother, John, from her father's first marriage, brought up by his mother in England.[2] Lockwood attended Sydenham High School for girls, and a ladies' school in Kensington, London.[1]

She began studying for the stage at an early age at the Italia Conti, and made her debut in 1928, at the age of 12, at the Holborn Empire where she played a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In December of the following year, she appeared at the Scala Theatre in the pantomime The Babes in the Wood.[1] In 1932 she appeared at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in Cavalcade.


In 1933, Lockwood enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she was seen by a talent scout and signed to a contract.[1] In June 1934 she played Myrtle in House on Fire at the Queen's Theatre, and on 22 August 1934 appeared as Margaret Hamilton in Gertrude Jenning's play Family Affairs when it premiered at the Ambassadors Theatre; Helene Ferber in Repayment at the Arts Theatre in January 1936; Trixie Drew in Henry Bernard's play Miss Smith at the Duke of York's Theatre in July 1936; and back at the Queen's in July 1937 as Ann Harlow in Ann's Lapse.


Lockwood entered films in 1934, and in 1935 she appeared in the film version of Lorna Doone. Her profile rose when she appeared opposite Maurice Chevalier in The Beloved Vagabond.[3]

Gaumont British[edit]

Gaumont British were making a film version of the novel Doctor Syn, starring George Arliss and Anna Lee. Lee dropped out and was replaced by Lockwood. Lockwood so impressed the studio with her performance she signed a three-year contract with Gainsborough Pictures in June 1937.[4] [5][6]

She then went on to make Owd Bob before being given the lead in Bank Holiday, directed by Carol Reed.[7] This movie was a hit and launched Lockwood as a star. Even more popular was her next movie, The Lady Vanishes, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and co-starring Michael Redgrave. Hitchcock was greatly impressed by Lockwood, telling the press:

She has an undoubted gift in expressing her beauty in terms of emotion, which is exceptionally well suited to the camera. Allied to this is the fact that she photographs more than normally easily, and has an extraordinary insight to get the feel of her lines, to live within them, so to speak, as long as the duration of the picture lasts. It is not too much to expect that in Margaret Lockwood the British picture industry has a possibility of developing a star of hitherto un-anticipated possibilities.[8]

She followed this with A Girl Must Live, a musical comedy for Carol Reed.

US films[edit]

Lockwood then accepted an offer to work in the US for 20th Century Fox, supporting Shirley Temple in Susannah of the Mounties. She was borrowed by Paramount for Rulers of the Sea. Paramount indicated a desire to use her in more films[9] but she returned home in June 1939.[10]

Return to Britain[edit]

Lockwood returned to Britain. She was meant to make film versions of Rob Roy and The Blue Lagoon[11] but both were cancelled with the advent of war. In 1940 she played the role of Jenny Sunley, the self-centred, frivolous wife of Redgrave's character in The Stars Look Down.

Gainsborough and Rank[edit]

In the early 1940s Lockwood changed her on-screen image to play a villainesses The Man in Grey (1943). The film was a massive hit and changed Lockwood's image. Her most successful film was The Wicked Lady (1945), in which Lockwood had the title role. . In 1946 Lockwood gained the Daily Mail National Film Awards First Prize for most popular British film actress.

In July 1946 Lockwood signed a six-year contract with Rank to make two movies a year. She appeared in Jassy (1947), which her popularity helped turn into a major hit. In 1947 she refused to appear in Roses for Her Pillow (which became Once Upon a Dream) and was put on suspension.[12]

After making Madness of the Heart (1949) she returned to the stage in a record-breaking national tour of Noël Coward's Private Lives in 1949,[13] and also played Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion at the Edinburgh Festival of 1951,[14] and the title role in J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan in 1949, 1950 and 1957 (the last with her daughter Julia Lockwood as Wendy).

She returned to filmmaking after an 18-month absence to star in Highly Dangerous (1950), a comic thriller in the vein of Lady Vanishes written expressly for her by Eric Ambler. It was not popular and Lockwood soon ended her contract with the Rank organisation.

Herbert Wilcox[edit]

In 1952 she signed a two picture a year contract with Herbert Wilcox at $112,000 a year, making her the best paid actress in British films.[15] She made three films with Wilcox, the first of which was successful, but the next two were disappointments.

Later career[edit]

As her popularity waned in the 1950s, she returned to occasional performances on the West End stage and appeared on television. Her subsequent long-running West End hits include an all-star production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband (1965–66, in which she played the villainous Mrs Cheveley), W. Somerset Maugham's Lady Frederick (1970), Relative Values (Noël Coward revival, 1973) and the thrillers Spider's Web (1955, written for her by Agatha Christie), Signpost to Murder (1962) and Double Edge (1975).

In 1969 she starred as barrister Julia Stanford in the TV play Justice is a Woman. This inspired the Yorkshire Television series Justice, which ran for three seasons (39 episodes) from 1971 to 1974, and featured her real-life partner, John Stone, as fictional boyfriend Dr Ian Moody. Lockwood's role as the feisty Harriet Peterson won her Best Actress Awards from the TV Times (1971) and The Sun (1973). In 1975 film director Bryan Forbes persuaded her out of an apparent retirement from feature films to play the role of the Stepmother in what would be her last feature film, The Slipper and the Rose. This film also included final feature film appearances by Kenneth More and Edith Evans. Her last professional appearance was as Queen Alexandra in Royce Ryton's stage play Motherdear (Ambassadors Theatre, 1980).

Margaret Lockwood was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours of 1981.

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in December 1963. She was a guest on the British Broadcasting Corporation's radio show Desert Island Discs on 25 April 1951.

Personal life[edit]

She married Rupert Leon in 1937 (divorced in 1950).[16]

She lived her final years in seclusion in Kingston upon Thames, dying at the Cromwell Hospital, Kensington, London from cirrhosis of the liver in her 73rd year. Her body was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium.

She was survived by her daughter, the actress Julia Lockwood (née Margaret Julia Leon, born 1941).


Year Title Role Director Notes Ref
1934 Lorna Doone Annie Ridd Basil Dean [17]
1935 The Case of Gabriel Perry Mildred Perry Albert de Courville [17]
Honours Easy Ann Herbert Brenon [17]
Man of the Moment Vera Monty Banks [17]
Midshipman Easy Donna Agnes Carol Reed [17]
Someday Emily Michael Powell [17]
1936 Jury's Evidence Betty Stanton Ralph Ince [17]
The Amateur Gentleman Georgina Huntstanton Thornton Freeland [17]
The Beloved Vagabond Blanquette Curtis Bernhardt [17]
Irish for Luck Ellen O'Hare Arthur B. Woods [17]
1937 The Street Singer Jenny Green Jean de Marguenat [17]
Who's Your Lady Friend? Mimi Carol Reed [17]
Doctor Syn Imogene Clegg Roy William Neill [17]
Melody and Romance Margaret Williams Maurice Elvey [17]
1938 Owd Bob Jeannie McAdam Robert Stevenson To the Victor [17]
Bank Holiday Catherine Lawrence Carol Reed Three on a Weekend [17]
The Lady Vanishes Iris Henderson Alfred Hitchcock [17]
1939 Susannah of the Mounties Vicky Standing Walter Lang, William A. Seiter [17]
A Girl Must Live Leslie James Carol Reed [17]
Rulers of the Sea Mary Shaw Frank Lloyd [17]
1940 The Stars Look Down Jenny Sunley Carol Reed [17]
Girl in the News Anne Graham Carol Reed [17]
Night Train to Munich Anna Bomasch Carol Reed [17]
1941 Quiet Wedding Janet Royd Anthony Asquith [17]
1942 Alibi Helene Ardouin Brian Desmond Hurst [17]
1943 The Man in Grey Hesther Shaw Leslie Arliss [17]
Dear Octopus Penny Randolph Harold French [17]
1944 Give Us the Moon Nina Val Guest [17]
Love Story Lissa Campbell Leslie Arliss A Lady Surrenders [17]
1945 A Place of One's Own Annette Bernard Knowles [17]
I'll Be Your Sweetheart Edie Story Val Guest [17]
The Wicked Lady Barbara Worth Leslie Arliss [17]
1946 Bedelia Bedelia Carrington Lance Comfort [17]
1947 Hungry Hill Fanny Rosa Brian Desmond Hurst [17]
Jassy Jassy Woodroofe Bernard Knowles [17]
The White Unicorn Lucy Bernard Knowles Bad Sister [17]
1948 Pygmalion Eliza Doolittle Television film
Look Before You Love Ann Markham Harold Huth [17]
1949 Cardboard Cavalier Nell Gwynne Walter Forde [17]
Madness of the Heart Lydia Garth Charles Bennett [17]
1950 Highly Dangerous Frances Gray Roy Ward Baker [17]
1952 Trent's Last Case Margaret Manderson Herbert Wilcox [17]
1953 Captain Brassbound's Conversion Lady Cicely Wayneflete Dennis Vance Television film [17]
Laughing Anne Laughing Anne Herbert Wilcox [17]
1954 Trouble in the Glen Marissa Mengues Herbert Wilcox [17]
1955 Spider's Web Clarissa Hailsham-Brown Wallace Douglas Television film
Cast a Dark Shadow Freda Jeffries Lewis Gilbert [17]
1956 Murder Mistaken Freda Jeffries Campbell Logan Television film [17]
Call It a Day Dorothy Hilton Hal Burton Television film
1976 The Slipper and the Rose Stepmother Bryan Forbes [17]
1983 The Man in Gray Hesther Shaw Leslie Arliss [18]

Unmade films[edit]

Theatre credits[edit]

  • Family Affairs by Gertrude Jennings (1934)[23]


Box-office popularity[edit]

Various polls of exhibitors consistently listed Lockwood among the most popular stars of her era:

  • 1943 – 7th most popular British star in Britain[24]
  • 1944 – 6th most popular British star in Britain[25]
  • 1945 – 3rd most popular British star in Britain (Phyllis Calvert was 5th)[26]
  • 1946 – 10th most popular star in Australia,[27] 3rd most popular star and 2nd most popular British star in Britain[28][29]
  • 1947 – 4th most popular star and 3rd most popular British star in Britain[30][31]
  • 1948 – 3rd most popular star and 2nd most popular British star in Britain,[32] most popular female star in Canada[33]
  • 1949 – 5th most popular British star in Britain[34]



  1. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Margaret Lockwood". The Times. 17 July 1990. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Ward, R. D. (2014). Wealth and Notability: The Lockwood, Day and Metcalfe Families of Yorkshire and London. London: Robert Ward. ISBN 978-1-29167-940-3. 
  3. ^ "TALKIE NEWS". Chronicle. LXXX, (4,208). South Australia. 8 July 1937. p. 51. Retrieved 7 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ NEWS OF THE SCREEN: ' Woman Chases Man' Opens Today at Music Hall'George and Margaret' on Warner's Program News From Hollywood New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 10 June 1937: 27.
  5. ^ A LADY WHO HAS LOOKS New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 June 1938: 156.
  6. ^ "THE LIFE STORY OF MARGARET LOCKWOOD". Voice. 26, (28). Tasmania, Australia. 11 July 1953. p. 4. Retrieved 12 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Margaret Lockwood, English Star". The Age (25,771). Victoria, Australia. 20 November 1937. p. 6 ("THE AGE" LITERARY SUPPLEMENT). Retrieved 7 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ a b "Margaret Lockwood Can Keep A Secret". The Queenslander. Queensland, Australia. 7 December 1938. p. 14. Retrieved 1 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ DRAMA: Barrymore to Enact Pellagra Conqueror Lockwood Contract Society Figure Signs Davis Vis-a-Vis Trio Brennan in 'Black Gold' Beverly Roberts Deal Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 12 June 1939: A14.
  10. ^ NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Wilfred Lawson to Take Place of Bob Burns in 'Alleghany Frontier'--Two New Openings Here Two More Political Films Of Local Origin By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 21 June 1939: 31.
  11. ^ NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Louise Campbell Coming to See Play in Which She Will Have Film Role--3 Openings Here Today Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 08 Feb 1939: 26.
  12. ^ MARGARET LOCKWOOD: Contract Suspended by Rank Organisation The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 31 Oct 1947: 5
  13. ^ "British Stars Top the List". The Age (29,541). Victoria, Australia. 31 December 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 9 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ First Play Is 'Pygmalion'; A Tribute to Louis Jouvet: Tie with the French The Director's Function Jouvet and Scenery By Harold Hobson. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 25 Aug 1951: 10.
  15. ^ Margaret Lockwood Tops British Salaries Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 08 May 1952: 5.
  16. ^ Margaret Lockwood Divorced New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 Nov 1950: 43.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au "Margaret Lockwood: Film & TV credits". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Margaret Lockwood: Filmography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  19. ^ NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Louise Campbell Coming to See Play in Which She Will Have Film Role--3 Openings Here Today Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 08 Feb 1939: 26.
  20. ^ BUSY DAYS IN LONDON: Film Studios Move Into High Gear, With Full Schedule of Pictures Under Way Films Coming Up In Father's Footsteps Notes in Brief By C.A. LEJEUNE, The New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 25 Aug 1946: 51.
  21. ^ British Film Star Irked by Censors: 'Silly,' Says Margaret Lockwood in Trans-Atlantic Phone Chat Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 Mar 1947: B1.
  22. ^ Bennett Framing Offer to Margaret Lockwood; Cowboy Star Horseless Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Aug 1948: A7.
  23. ^ LONDON THEATRES: "Family Affairs" OUR LONDON DRAMATIC CRITIC. The Scotsman (1921–1950) [Edinburgh, Scotland] 23 Aug 1934: 8
  24. ^ Motion Picture Herald, January 1, 1944
  25. ^ Motion Picture Herald, January 6, 1945
  26. ^ "Crosby and Hope Try their Luck in Alaska.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 2 March 1946. p. 3 Supplement: The Mercury Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "Australia's Favorite Stars And Movies of the Year.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 4 January 1947. p. 9 Supplement: Sunday Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Film World". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 February 1947. p. 20 Edition: Second Edition. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  29. ^ Motion Picture Herald, January 4, 1947
  30. ^ "Anna Neagle Most Popular Actress.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 3 January 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  31. ^ Motion Picture Herald, January 3, 1948
  32. ^ "Bing Crosby Still Best Box-office Draw.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 December 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  33. ^ "Film News". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 11 June 1949. p. 14. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  34. ^ "Bob Hope Box Office Favourite". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 31 December 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 


  • Lockwood, Margaret (1955). Lucky Star. London: Odhams Press. ASIN B000XP8DT2. 
  • Parker, John (1947). Who's Who in the Theatre (Tenth ed.). London: Pitmans. pp. 945–946. 

External links[edit]