Phyllis Calvert

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Phyllis Calvert
Phyllis Calvert.jpg
Born Phyllis Hannah Bickle
(1915-02-18)18 February 1915
Chelsea, London, England
Died 8 October 2002(2002-10-08) (aged 87)
London, England
Years active 1927-2000
Spouse(s) Peter Murray-Hill (1941–57) (his death)
Children Ann Auriol (b. 1943)
Piers Auriol (b. 1954)[1]

Phyllis Hannah Murray-Hill (née Bickle; 18 February 1915 – 8 October 2002), known professionally as Phyllis Calvert, was an English film, stage and television actress. She was one of the leading stars of the Gainsborough melodramas of the 1940s, and continued acting until some 50 years later.[2][3]


Born in Chelsea, she trained at the Margaret Morris School of Dancing[citation needed] and performed from the age of ten, gaining her first film role at the age of 12, in The Arcadians (1927), also known as The Land of Heart's Desire. Calvert performed in repertory theatre and in several films, before making her London stage debut in A Woman's Privilege in 1939.[4] In 1942, she had the lead role as Patricia Graham in Terence Rattigan's Flare Path.[4][5]


She first found success[citation needed] in the film adaptation of H. G. Wells' Kipps (1941), but it was the Gainsborough melodrama The Man in Grey (1943) that confirmed her status. During the following decade, she starred in many romances, including Fanny by Gaslight, with James Mason and Stewart Granger, and My Own True Love, becoming one of Britain's highest paid stars[citation needed]. However, three Hollywood studios failed to pay her what she asked[citation needed].

Later career[edit]

She acted in over 40 films, her later films include Oh! What a Lovely War and The Walking Stick[citation needed]. Calvert had already appeared on television, playing Mrs. March in the 1958 serials Little Women and Good Wives (both adapted from Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women), as well as individual episodes of several other programmes, when, in 1970, she landed the part of an agony aunt with problems of her own in Kate[citation needed]. She made TV appearances in programmes such as Crown Court, Ladykillers, Tales of the Unexpected, Boon, After Henry and The Line Grove Story[citation needed]. She also played D.I. Barnaby's Aunt Alice (Alice Bly) in a Midsomer Murders episode "Blue Herrings" in 2000[citation needed].

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1972 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.

Personal life[edit]

She was married to the actor and antiquarian bookseller Peter Murray Hill,[5][6] with whom she had two children, Ann Auriol (born 1943) and Piers Auriol (born 1954). She died in London in 2002, from natural causes,[6] aged 87.

Partial filmography[edit]

Box office ranking[edit]

For a number of years, British film exhibitors voted her among the top ten British stars at the box office via an annual poll in the Motion Picture Herald.

  • 1945 – 5th[7]
  • 1946 – 6th[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Calvert, Phyllis (1915-2002) Biography". 
  3. ^ "Phyllis Calvert". BFI. 
  4. ^ a b "Phyllis Calvert". 9 October 2002. 
  5. ^ a b Eric Shorter. "Obituary: Phyllis Calvert". the Guardian. 
  6. ^ a b "BBC NEWS - Entertainment - Actress Phyllis Calvert dies". 
  7. ^ "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 24 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "FILM WORLD.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 February 1947. p. 20 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 

External links[edit]