Elizabeth Allan (9 April 1910 – 27 July 1990) was an English stage and film actress who worked in both Britain and Hollywood, making about 50 films over more than a quarter century.
Elizabeth Allan in the trailer for Camille (1936)
|Born||9 April 1910|
Skegness, Lincolnshire, England
|Died||27 July 1990 80) (aged|
Hove, East Sussex, England
Wilfrid J. O'Bryen
(m. 1932; his death 1977)
Life and career
She was born at Skegness, Lincolnshire in 1910 and educated in Darlington, County Durham. At age 17, she made her debut onstage at the Old Vic. Four years later, she made her film debut, appearing in Alibi.
She began her career appearing in a number of films for Julius Hagen's Twickenham Studios but also featured in Gainsborough's Michael and Mary and Korda's Service for Ladies. In 1932, she married Wilfrid J. O'Bryen – to whom she had been introduced by actor Herbert Marshall – in a union that lasted until his death in 1977.
Her first US/UK co-production and first US production came in 1933, and she worked in the United States under contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1935 was her most memorable year in Hollywood, when she not only distinguished herself in two memorable Dickens' adaptations as David's unfortunate young mother in George Cukor's David Copperfield and as Lucie Manette in Jack Conway's A Tale of Two Cities, but was also featured in Tod Browning's Mark of the Vampire.
Allan did not think highly of the latter film, to which she had been assigned, and considered it "slumming". MGM announced her for a leading part in King Vidor's The Citadel, but she was subsequently replaced by Rosalind Russell. When she was replaced again by Greer Garson in Goodbye, Mr Chips, Elizabeth successfully sued the studio. The studio retaliated by refusing to let her work, and, frustrated, she returned to the UK in 1938.
By the 1950s, Allan had made the transition to character parts. Particularly memorable is her appearance as Trevor Howard's brittle and dissatisfied wife in the film adaptation of Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter (1953). In 1958, she appeared as Boris Karloff's wife in The Haunted Strangler. Late in her career, she was a frequent panellist on television game shows, including the British version of What's My Line?. She was named Great Britain's Top Female TV Personality of 1952.
She died at Hove, East Sussex at aged 80.
|1931||Rodney Steps In||Masked Lady||Short|
|1931||The Rosary||Vera Mannering|
|1931||Black Coffee||Barbara Amory|
|1931||Chin Chin Chinaman||Olga Dureska|
|1931||Michael and Mary||Romo|
|1931||Many Waters||Freda Barcaldine|
|1932||Service for Ladies||Sylvia Robertson|
|1932||The Chinese Puzzle||Naomi Melsham|
|1932||Nine till Six||Gracie Abbott|
|1932||Down Our Street||Maisie Collins|
|1932||The Lodger||Daisy Bunting|
|1933||The Shadow||Sonia Bryant|
|1933||Looking Forward||Caroline Service|
|1933||The Lost Chord||Joan Elton|
|1933||No Marriage Ties||Peggy Wilson|
|1933||The Solitaire Man||Helen Heming|
|1933||Ace of Aces||Nancy Adams|
|1934||The Mystery of Mr. X||Jane Frensham|
|1934||Men in White||Barbara|
|1934||Java Head||Nettie Vollar|
|1934||Outcast Lady||Venice Harpenden|
|1935||David Copperfield||Clara Copperfield|
|1935||Mark of the Vampire||Irena Borotyn|
|1935||A Tale of Two Cities||Lucie Manette|
|1936||A Woman Rebels||Flora Anne Thistlewaite|
|1937||The Soldier and the Lady||Nadia|
|1937||Slave Ship||Nancy Marlowe|
|1938||Dangerous Medicine||Victoria Ainswell|
|1938||It Might Be You||Betty||Short|
|1940||The Girl Who Forgot||Leonora Barradine|
|1940||Saloon Bar||Queenie King|
|1942||Went the Day Well?||Peggy Pryde|
|1942||The Great Mr. Handel||Mrs. Cibber|
|1945||He Snoops to Conquer||Jane Strawbridge|
|1949||If This Be Sin||Sybil|
|1951||No Highway in the Sky||Shirley Scott|
|1952||Folly to Be Wise||Angela Prout|
|1953||Twice Upon a Time||Carol-Anne Bailey|
|1953||The Heart of the Matter||Louise Scobie|
|1954||Front Page Story||Susan Grant|
|1955||The Brain Machine||Philippa Roberts|
|1958||The Haunted Strangler||Barbara Rankin|
|1951||The Concert||Frances Hein||TV film|
|1955–56||The Adventures of Annabel||Annabel||TV series|
|1956||The Chalet||Cyra Carter||TV film|
|1956||The Adventures of Aggie||Toni||Episode: "Top Secret"|
|1961||Call Oxbridge 2000||Peggy Graham||TV series|
- "This Week's Pen Portrait". Sheffield Evening Telegraph. 9 February 1939. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- p.97 Vieira, Mark A. Majestic Hollywood: The Greatest Films of 1939 Running Press, 10 December 2013
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