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14 July 1928|
Bognor Regis, Sussex, England, UK
|Died||16 March 2006
London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Anthony Hughes (1951-1957)
Herbert Wise (1962-1972)
As a young actress, she joined the Windmill Girls (recently evoked in the film Mrs Henderson Presents) who performed non-stop revues and nude tableux at the Windmill Theatre in the West End. Several years later, she married her first husband and emigrated to Australia, but the marriage did not endure so she returned to Britain determined to make her name as an actress. While in Australia, Moira became a successful radio actress. She played in the major radio features, Caltex Theatre and General Motors' Hour as well as plays for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Her best remembered radio drama was Linday Hardy's Stranger in Paradise along Guy Doleman, a New Zealand actor who later had a movie career both in the US and Britain.
She made her stage debut as an understudy to Vivien Leigh in Peter Brook's revival of Titus Andronicus with Laurence Olivier. In July of that year, she made her London debut at the Stoll in the same production.
In 1958, she made her film debut in a thriller, entitled Violent Moment (1958), which was followed by several more roles in the films Doctor in Love (1960), A Shot in the Dark (1964) and several B-film thrillers.
Meanwhile her theatrical career had taken off with roles in Verdict (Strand), in which she played Helen Rollander; Detour After Dark (Fortune Theatre), Horizontal Hold (Comedy Theatre); Patrick Peace Hotel (Queen's); The Winter's Tale (Cambridge Theatre) and 'Flint (Comedy Theatre).
She was also a founder member of the Actors' Company with Ian McKellen. She played at the Edinburgh Festival as Helen of Troy in The Trojan Women with Flora Robson, and as Hermione in The Winter's Tale with Laurence Harvey.
Throughout the 1960s she appeared in London and the provinces in the plays of Alan Ayckbourn; she was also Lady Sheerwell in Jonathan Miller's revival of Sheridan's The School for Scandal; Maria in Twelfth Night; Mrs Wickstead in Habeas Corpus; Brand's mother in Brand; and Jocasta in Stephen Spender's trilogy Oedipus. She later toured South America for the British Council in revivals of Habeas Corpus and Shaw's Heartbreak House (as Hesione). Television appearances in the 1960s included Danger Man among others.
By the 1970s she was increasingly in demand for television series, her theatrical training earning her roles in some of the best known television dramas of the period, including Edward the Seventh (playing Edward's mistress Alice Keppel); I, Claudius (in which she played Domitia, Claudius's mother-in-law); and Boswell's London Journey. She also appeared in The Alleyn Mysteries; Dixon of Dock Green, The Avengers and The Sweeney.
She was twice married and divorced: firstly to Anthony Hughes and secondly to Herbert Wise (1962–1972).
- Violent Moment (1959)
- Doctor in Love (1960)
- Freud: The Secret Passion (1962)
- Nightmare (1964)
- A Shot in the Dark (1964)
- The Limbo Line (1968)