Patricia Roc

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Patricia Roc
PatriciaRoc.jpg
Born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold
(1915-06-07)7 June 1915
St Pancras, London, England[1]
Died 30 December 2003(2003-12-30) (aged 88)
Locarno, Switzerland
Cause of death Kidney failure
Other names Felicia Riese
Occupation Actress
Years active 1938 – 1962
Spouse(s) Dr. Murray Laing (1939)
André Thomas (1949-54)
Walter Reif (1962-86)
Website http://www.wickedlady.com/films/ladies/RocPatricia/

Patricia Roc (born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold; 7 June 1915 – 30 December 2003) was an English film actress, popular in the Gainsborough melodramas such as Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, Canyon Passage (1946). She also appeared in Millions Like Us (1943), Jassy (1945), The Brothers (1947) and When the Bough Breaks (1947).

She was employed by the studio of J. Arthur Rank, who called her "the archetypal British beauty"[2] She achieved her greatest level of popularity in British films during the Second World War in escapist melodramas for Gainsborough Studios.[3]

Early life[edit]

The adoptive daughter of a Dutch-Belgian father, André Riese, a wealthy stockbroker, and a half-French mother, she was educated at private schools in London and Paris, before joining RADA in 1937.[3] She did not learn that she was adopted until 1949.

Film career[edit]

Roc began as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of Nuts in May[4], in which she was seen by Alexander Korda who gave her an uncredited bit in The Divorce of Lady X (1938) and her in a leading role as a Polish princess in The Rebel Son.[3]

She had roles in The Gaunt Stranger (1939), The Mind of Mr. Reeder (1939), and The Missing People (1940). She had a bigger part in A Window in London (1940), the comedy Pack Up Your Troubles (1940), Dr. O'Dowd (1940), Three Silent Men (1940), It Happened to One Man (1940), and The Farmer's Wife (1941).[5]

Her parts grew bigger: My Wife's Family (1941), Suspected Person (1942), Let the People Sing (1942), and We'll Meet Again (1943) with Vera Lynn.

Stardom[edit]

Roc was top billed in Millions Like Us (1943) from Gainsborough Studios. It was a success and Gainsborough gave her another lead, as a nun interned by the Germans in Two Thousand Women (1944).

She appeared alongside two of Gainsborough's biggest stars, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger in Love Story (1944), a big hit. Roc played the jealous rival of Margaret Lockwood. She later commented that although they were required to slap each other's faces, she and Lockwood were always the best of friends.[3] Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945), with Granger and Phyllis Calvert, was another success.[3]

Neither of them, however, did as well as The Wicked Lady (1945), where Roc played Lockwood's best friend. It was the most successful movie at the British box office in 1946. Roc's more overt sexuality in such films as The Wicked Lady was downplayed for the American market; her décolletage led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it[6]) and "the Goddess of Odeons", whilst Noël Coward said she was "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled film star who can act".[2]

She was also in Johnny Frenchman (1945). Co starring in that film was Ralph Michael who soon after divorced his wife Fay Compton; Roc was named in proceedings.[7]

Her brief move to Hollywood to film Canyon Passage (1946) was a lend lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors.[3][8] During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame."[citation needed]

Roc returned to Britain to make The Brothers (1947), a melodrama that was a commercial disappointment.[9] She was in an expensive British-US co production So Well Remembered (1947) which was a hit in Britain but failed to recoup its cost. Jassy(1947), a melodrama with Lockwood, was a big hit. When the Bough Breaks (1947), another melodrama, performed reasonably well.

In 1947 British exhibitors voted Roc the sixth most popular British star in the country.[10] The following year she was 9th.[11]

She walked out of London Belongs to Me claiming she was miscast.[12]

After making a cameo as herself in Holiday Camp (1947) Roc was in One Night with You (1948) a musical comedy with Nino Martini.

France[edit]

She made two films film in France, Return to Life (1949) and The Man on the Eifferl Tower. She returned to England to appear in a comedy The Perfect Woman (1949) then walked out on her contract with Rank in March 1949.[13][14]

In August 1949 she married French camerman Andre Thomas.[15]

In Paris she made Black Jack (1950). She also appeared in Fugitive from Montreal (1951) a French-Canadian co production.

Roc returned to Britain for the first time in 18 months to make Circle of Danger (1951) with Ray Milland. She then returned for Something Money Can't Buy (1952).

Later Films[edit]

Roc's later films included The Widow (1955) and The Hypnotist (1957).

Roc returned to England later in the decade following the death of husband André Thomas. She produced only 3 more films and made a few television appearances (including the first episode of The Saint).

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1938 The Divorce of Lady X Minor role (uncredited)
The Barbarian and the Lady Marina
The Gaunt Stranger Mary Lenley
1939 The Mysterious Mr. Reeder
1940 The Missing People Doris Bevan
A Window in London Pat Released as Lady in Distress in USA
Pack Up Your Troubles Sally Brown
Dr. O'Dowd Rosemary
Three Silent Men Pat Quentin
It Happened to One Man Betty Quair
1941 The Farmer's Wife Sibley
My Wife's Family Peggy Gay
1942 Suspected Person Joan Raynor
Let the People Sing Hope Ollerton
1943 We'll Meet Again Ruth
Millions Like Us Celia Crowson
1944 Two Thousand Women Rosemary Brown / Mary Maugham
Love Story Judy
1945 Madonna of the Seven Moons Angela Labardi
The Wicked Lady Caroline
Johnny Frenchman Sue Pomeroy
1946 Canyon Passage Caroline Marsh
1947 The Brothers Mary
So Well Remembered Julie Morgan
Jassy Dilys Helmar
When the Bough Breaks Lily Bates
Holiday Camp Herself
1948 One Night with You Mary Santell
1949 The Perfect Woman Penelope Belman
Return to Life Lieutenant Evelyne
The Man on the Eiffel Tower Helen Kirby
1950 Black Jack Ingrid Dekker
Fugitive from Montreal Helen Bering
1951 Circle of Danger Elspeth Graham
1952 Something Money Can't Buy Anne Wilding
1953 La mia vita è tua
1954 Cartouche Donna Violante
1956 The Errol Flynn Theatre Episode: "Farewell Performance"
1957 Scotland Yard Dragnet Mary Foster
The House in the Woods Carol Carter
1958 White Hunter Marge Wilson Episodes: "Pegasus"
1959 The Widow Diana
No Hiding Place Mrs. Ottlone Episode: "Who Is Gustav Varnia?"
1960 Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons Mme. Dueaux
Skyport Iris West 1 episode
1961 Dixon of Dock Green Brenda Episode: "A Kiss for the Constable"
1962 The Saint Madge Clarron Episode: "The Talented Husband"

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://search.findmypast.co.uk/results/world-records/england-and-wales-births-1837-2006?firstname=felicia%20m&lastname=herold
  2. ^ a b "Actress Patricia Roc dies, aged 88". London: Daily Telegraph. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bergan, Ronald (31 December 2003). "Actress Patricia Roc, Rank starlet seen as the epitome of the English rose". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 31 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "PATRICIA ROC". The Forbes Advocate. 38, (2). New South Wales, Australia. 7 January 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "Patricia Roc A new favourite". Lachlander And Condobolin And Western Districts Recorder. New South Wales, Australia. 2 October 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "Obituary". London: Daily Telegraph. 30 December 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  7. ^ "New romance for Patricia Roc". The Mail (Adelaide). 37, (1,902). South Australia. 13 November 1948. p. 3 (SUNDAY MAGAZINE). Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "Patricia Roc's First Hollywood Film". The Farmer And Settler. XLI, (46). New South Wales, Australia. 13 December 1946. p. 19. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "PATRICIA ROC IS HOME AGAIN". The Sydney Morning Herald (34,228). New South Wales, Australia. 4 September 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ 'Bing's Lucky Number: Pa Crosby Dons 4th B.O. Crown', The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 3 January 1948: 12.
  11. ^ 'Britten's Rape of Licretia: New York Divided', The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 31 December 1948: 8.
  12. ^ "PATRICIA ROC QUITS PICTURE". News. 49, (7,595). South Australia. 6 December 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  13. ^ "England". The Sun (2472). New South Wales, Australia. 3 September 1950. p. 54. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ "Margaret Aylwards". The Sun (2397). New South Wales, Australia. 20 March 1949. p. 12. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  15. ^ "PATRICIA ROC IS MARRIED". Barrier Miner. LXII, (17,933). New South Wales, Australia. 17 August 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

External links[edit]