Stella Linden

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Stella Linden (born Stella M Marsden on 5 June 1919[1] - 23 January 2005) was an actress and writer, best known for mentoring playwright John Osborne and for writing the film Two a Penny. She was the wife of actor Terrence Edward Duff—better known by his stage name Patrick Desmond.[1] She died in 2005 in New Mexico.


Stella was born to Ruby Mary Wimbush and Charles W Marsden in 1919. Her mother shared ownership of the Wimbush chain of confectionery shops in Birmingham with other members of the family. Stella was particularly close to her aunt, Olive Wimbush, and her uncle, Albert "Bert" Wimbush, both of whom co-owned the confectionery chain with her mother Ruby. In 1923, Stella's mother re-married to Benjamin L Ingham and shortly after gave birth to a boy whom she named Ambrose after her father (Stella's grandfather) Ambrose Durrant Wimbush.

Career in England[edit]

Sometime prior to the summer of 1945, Stella married and became Stella Coulthard.[2]

In 1945, with the war over, Stella (no longer married) joined the Sage Repertory Group—Anthony Creighton's provincial touring company—and took the stage name Stella Linden. Later that year, the troupe was joined by John Osborne, whom she mentored. She also met Patrick Desmond in the troupe that year, and the two got married in July 1948 at the Paddington Registrar's Office, London.[2] Stella's mother, who by then used the name Ruby Ingham, and Stella's half-brother Ambrose Ingham, were the only witnesses to the marriage.

When Osborne told Desmond he was trying to write his first play, he referred Osborne to Stella, unaware that Osborne and Stella were lovers at the time.[3] Stella helped him structure and lighten the tone of The Devil Inside Him, and Osborne gave her co-author credits. By May 1950, the play was finished, and Stella directed it at the Theatre Royal in Huddersfield. The only surviving copy of the play was found in 2008 in Lord Chamberlain's Office (to where it had been sent for censorship) along with Personal Enemy—another play Osborne wrote in collaboration. Both plays are now housed at the British Library.

Career in America[edit]

Also in 1950, she left her husband, seeking fame in Hollywood. Unable to get a role, she went to Mexico where she got divorced from Desmond, notifying him in a letter that told him it was a "quickie".

In 1951 she played a hotel clerk in an episode of Foreign Intrigue titled "At the Airport"[4] and sometime later got steady jobs as a gameshow hostess and as a model.[5]

In 1967, she wrote an episode of The Monkees titled "A Coffin Too Frequent"[6] and a book titled Two a Penny. "A Coffin Too Frequent" aired on 20 November and Two a Penny was adapted to film that same year. Linden co-wrote the screenplay for Two a Penny with David Winters, who went uncredited.[citation needed]

In 1989 she wrote a novel titled Shameless,[4] which tells the fictional autobiography of a girl named Honey.[5]


  1. ^ a b Chris Duff; et al. (28 Jan 2010). "MARION WIMBUSH/CLEVELAND/OHIO/TN?". message boards. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  2. ^ a b Chris Duff (28 Jan 2010). "STELLA LINDEN". message boards. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  3. ^ "John Osborne: Looking back at the genesis of genius". The Independent. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  4. ^ a b Chris Duff and Don Howard (27 July 2008). "STELLA LINDEN - Game Show Hostess, Game Shows 1951-197". The Game Show Forum. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  5. ^ a b "Shameless: The Autobiography of a Bimbo by Stella Linden". Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Stella Linden:Overview". MSN movies. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 

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