Friday, November 30, 2012

Dinah Sheridan Passes On

Legendary British actress Dinah Sheridan died 25 November 2012 at the age of 92.

Dinah Sheridan was born Dinah Nadyejda Mec Ginsburg  at Hampstead Garden Suburb, London on 17 September 1920. Her parents operated a photography business under the name Studio Lisa and later had the Royal family as clients. Only Studio Lisa was allowed to photography the royal, Christmas pantomimes. Miss Sheridan studied at Sherrards School in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. She trained in acting at Italia Conti school. She made her acting debut at age 11 in Where the Rainbow Ends at the Holborn Empire in 1932. On stage she would go onto play Wendy in Peter Pan. She made her film debut in Give Me My Heart in 1935 and had her first credited role in 1937 in Landslide..

In the late Thirties Miss Sheridan appeared in such films as Behind Your Back (1937), Father Steps Out (1937), Merely Mr. Hawkins (1938), Irish and Proud of It (1938), and Full Speed Ahead (1940).  The early Forties Miss Sheridan spent as an ambulance driver during World War II. She returned to film in 1942 with the movie Salute John Citizen (1942). In the Forties she appeared in such films as Get Cracking (1943), For You Alone (1945), 29 Acacia Avenue (1945), Murder in Reverse (1945), The Hills of Donegal (1947), Calling Paul Temple (1948), The Huggetts Abroad (1949), Dark Secret (1949), The Story of Shirley Yorke (1950), Paul Temple's Triumph (1950), No Trace (1950), and Blackout (1950).

In the Fifties Dinah Sheridan appeared in such films as Where No Vultures Fly (1951), The Sound Barrier (1952), The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953), and Genevieve (1953).  Genevieve would mark one of the high points of her career, but she decided to retire from acting to spend time with her second husband, John Davis, and children immediately afterwards. Her marriage to John Davis ended in divorce in 1965, and she returned to the stage in the comedy Let’s All Go Down the Strand that year. She also appeared in such stage productions as A Boston Story in 1968 and Out of the Question in 1969. She made her television debut in an episode of Armchair Theatre in 1968. In 1970 she returned to film in one of her best known roles, appearing in The Railway Children.

From the Seventies to the Nineties most of her career was spent in television. She was a regular in the Eighties series Don't Wait Up and the Nineties series Just Us. She also appeared on such shows as Play for Today, Seasons of the Year, Ooh La La, Zodiac, Crown Court, Hammer House of Horror, Doctor Who, Keeping Up Appearances, All Night Long, and Jonathan Creek. Her only film following The Railway Children was the Agatha Christie adaptation The Mirror Crack'd in 1980.

There can be no doubt that Dinah Sheridan was beautiful and elegant. In fact, many considered her the quintessential English rose (although her father was Russian and her mother German). More importantly, she was also extremely talented. While many of her roles were that of wives of mothers, there was always a good deal of variety in the sorts of wives and mothers she played.  In Genevieve she played Wendy McKim, the witty voice of reason in the film who was never afraid to speak her mind. In The Railway Children she played Mrs. Waterbury, the mother of the children of the title children. Miss Sheridan played Mrs. Waterbury as responsible, level headed, and concerned with her children's welfare.  As Paul Temple's journalist wife Steve in two "Paul Temple" films, she was intelligent and somewhat independent. Even her television career was extremely varied, playing everything from Chancellor Flavia on Doctor Who to Angela Latimer on Don't Wait Up. She was not simply one of our last surviving links to the Golden Age of British Cinema, but one of its brightest stars as well.

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