Hy Hazell

Hy Hazell (4 October 1919 – 10 May 1970), was a British actress of theatre, musicals and revue as well as a contralto singer and film actress.[1][2] Allmusic described her as "an exuberant comic actor and lively singer and dancer".[3] A pretty brunette, with long legs, she was billed as Britain's answer to Betty Grable.[4]

Hy Hazell
in Up in the World (1956)
Hyacinth Hazel O'Higgins

4 October 1919
Streatham, London, England
Died10 May 1970 (aged 50)
London, England

Early life and theatre career

Hazell was born as Hyacinth Hazel O'Higgins, in Streatham South London in 4 October 1919 (the majority of sources state this year, although the British Film Institute cites 1920 and The Oxford Reference cites 1922). As a teenager, Hy Hazell started life as a performer in the chorus of the West End production of Rodgers and Hart's On Your Toes (1937). She later had a long and successful run of leading roles in musicals, including Expresso Bongo at the Saville Theatre in 1958, as heartless Dixie Collins; as Mrs Squeezum in the Mermaid Theatre's Lock Up Your Daughters in 1959 (playing for almost 2,000 performances); as ex-Cochran girl Kay Connor in Charlie Girl at the Adelphi Theatre from 1965 ; and as Mrs Peachum in a notable Beggar's Opera by the Prospect Theatre Company in 1968.


She was in British films Meet Me at Dawn (1946), The Yellow Balloon (1953), and B-movies like The Body Said No! and The Lady Craved Excitement (both 1950), the latter part allowing her to sing. Within the British tradition of having glamorous young women play the principal boy in pantos, she became a favourite. She established a reputation as "English pantomime's most distinguished post war principal boy". For years she was extremely popular in this seasonal form of theatre.[3]


Hazell was playing Golde in Fiddler on the Roof in London's West End. Following a performance she died accidentally, choking to death while eating a steak at a restaurant, on 10 May 1970.[3][5]

Selected filmography


  1. "Hy Hazell". BFI.
  2. "Hy Hazell Theatre Credits". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  3. "Hy Hazell - Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  4. Alan Royle (3 June 2015). "Tragic Hollywood: Accidental Death's (Pt 6)". filmstarfacts.com. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  5. "Hy Hazell profile". britmovie.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.

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