Susan Maureen Fleetwood (21 September 1944 – 29 September 1995) was a British stage, film and television actress, best known as a performer in classical theatre. She received popular attention in the television series Chandler & Co and The Buddha of Suburbia.
Fleetwood was born in St Andrews, Scotland, the daughter of Bridget Maureen (née Brereton) and John Joseph Kells Fleetwood, an RAF officer. She was the elder sister of musician and actor Mick Fleetwood. The service family was stationed in Egypt in the years before the Suez crisis and, afterwards, in Norway where John Fleetwood received a NATO appointment and where Susan received her first role as the Old Testament Joseph in a school play. On her return to England, she was encouraged to take up drama by a nun at a convent school, winning a scholarship to RADA at the age of sixteen. Her boyfriend at the time of her death was theatre director Sebastian Graham-Jones. She never married.
After training with RADA, where a student production won Fleetwood the Bancroft gold medal, in 1964 she joined the company of the Liverpool Everyman theatre, where her fellow student Terry Hands had been appointed director. When Hands moved to the RSC in 1967, she followed. In 1968 at Stratford she gave two commanding performances: in the relatively unpromising part of Cassandra in Troilus and Cressida and as Regan in Lear. In 1969, under the direction of Hands, she movingly doubled the parts Thaisa and Marina in Pericles.
In 1974, she played Imogen in John Barton's production of Cymbeline. Many principal roles followed, until in 1977 the former RSC director Peter Hall persuaded her to join him in the National Theatre company where, in addition to playing Ophelia to Albert Finney's Hamlet, she was offered parts from a wider repertory of plays. In the early 1980s she appeared in seasons with both companies, including a memorable Rosalind in As You Like It. Her last season with the RSC was 1990-91.
Select TV and filmography
- The Good Soldier (Granada Television, 1981) as Leonora
- Clash of the Titans (1981) as Athena
- Heat and Dust (1983) as Mrs. Crawford, the Burra Memsahib (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
- Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) as Mrs. Dribb
- The Sacrifice (1986) as Adelaide
- White Mischief (1987) as Gwladys, Lady Delamere
- Dream Demon (1988) as Deborah
- Summer's Lease (1989) as Molly Pageter
- The Krays (1990) as Rose
- Six Characters in Search of an Author (TV drama, 1992) as The Mother
- Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (series 1992) as Gertrude the Queen (voice)
- The Buddha of Suburbia (TV drama 1993) as Eva Kay
- Chandler & Co (BBC Television, 1995) as Kate Phillips
- Persuasion (1995) as Lady Russell
- 'Susan Fleetwood; Obituary,' The Times (2 October 1995), p. 23
- "Obituary: Susan Fleetwood". The Independent: 18. 4 October 1995.
- "Susan Fleetwood: Obituary". The Times. London: 1. 2 October 1995.
unassailably established on the classical stage
- Susan Fleetwood Film Reference biography
- Coveney, Michael (23 August 2004). "Obituary: Sebastian Graham-Jones". The Guardian. London.
- Trowbridge, Simon (2008). "Susan Fleetwood". Stratfordians, a dictionary of the RSC. Oxford, England: Editions Albert Creed. pp. 202–204. ISBN 978-0-9559830-1-6.