Jill Ireland

Jill Dorothy Ireland (24 April 1936 – 18 May 1990) was an English actress and singer. She was best known for her collaborations (totalling fifteen films) with her second husband, Charles Bronson.[1]

Jill Ireland
Jill Ireland as Marion Starett and Christopher Shea as her son, Joey in Shane
Jill Dorothy Ireland

(1936-04-24)24 April 1936
Died18 May 1990(1990-05-18) (aged 54)
Years active19551990
David McCallum
(m. 1957; div. 1967)

Charles Bronson
(m. 1968)
Children5, including Val McCallum and Katrina Holden Bronson

Life and career

Born in London, Ireland was the daughter of a wine importer.[2] She began acting in the mid-1950s with bit parts in films including Simon and Laura (1955) and Three Men in a Boat (1956).

In 1957, Ireland married actor David McCallum[1] after the couple met while working on the film Hell Drivers (1957). Later they appeared together in five episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: "The Quadripartite Affair" (season 1, episode 3, 1964), "The Giuoco Piano Affair" (season 1, episode 7, 1964), "The Tigers Are Coming Affair" (season 2, episode 8, 1965), "The Five Daughters Affair" (season 3, episodes 28 & 29, 1967). They had three sons, Paul, Valentine, and Jason (who was adopted). McCallum and Ireland divorced in 1967. Jason McCallum died of a drug overdose in 1989, six months before Ireland's own death.[3]

In 1968, Ireland married Charles Bronson.[1] She had met him when he and McCallum were filming The Great Escape (1963) some years earlier. Together they had a daughter, Zuleika, and adopted a daughter, Katrina. They remained married until Ireland's death in 1990.[4]


Ireland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984.[1] After her diagnosis, Ireland wrote two books chronicling her battle with the disease. At the time of her death, she was writing a third book and became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.[1] In 1988, she testified before the U.S. Congress about medical costs and was given the American Cancer Society's Courage Award by President Ronald Reagan.[5]

In 1990, Ireland died of breast cancer at her home in Malibu, California.[5] She was cremated and her ashes were placed in a cane which Charles Bronson had buried with him at Brownsville Cemetery[6] when he died.[7]

For her contribution to the film industry, Jill Ireland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6751 Hollywood Boulevard.[8]

In 1991, Jill Clayburgh portrayed Ireland in the made-for-television film Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story, which told of her later years, including her fight with breast cancer.


Year Film Role Notes
1955 No Love for Judy The Other Woman
The Woman for Joe Bit Part Uncredited
Oh... Rosalinda!! Lady
Simon and Laura Burton's Receptionist
1956 The Big Money Doreen Frith
Three Men in a Boat Bluebell Porterhouse
1957 There's Always a Thursday Jennifer Potter
Hell Drivers Jill, Pull Inn Waitress Alternative title: Hard Drivers
Robbery Under Arms Jean Morrison
1959 Carry On Nurse Jill Thompson
The Ghost Train Murder Sally Burton Alternative title: Scotland Yard: The Ghost Train Murder
The Desperate Man Carol Bourne
1960 Jungle Street Sue Alternative title: Jungle Street Girls
Girls of the Latin Quarter Jill
1961 So Evil, So Young Ann
Raising the Wind Janet Alternative title: Roommates
1962 Twice Round the Daffodils Janet Alternative title: What a Carry On: Twice Round the Daffodils
The Battleaxe Audrey Page
1967 The Karate Killers Imogen Smythe
1968 Villa Rides Girl in restaurant
1970 Twinky Girl at airport Uncredited
Rider on the Rain Nicole Alternative title: Le Passager de la Pluie
Città violenta Vanessa Shelton Alternative title: Violent City
Cold Sweat Moira Alternative title: De la part des copains
1971 Someone Behind the Door Frances Jeffries Alternative title: Quelqu'un derrière la porte
1972 The Valachi Papers Maria Reina Valachi
The Mechanic The Girl Alternative title: Killer of Killers
1973 Valdez Horses Catherine Alternative titles: Chino, Valdez the Halfbreed & Wild Horses
1975 Breakout Ann Wagner
Hard Times Lucy Simpson Alternative titles: Street Fighter & The Streetfighter
Breakheart Pass Marica
1976 From Noon till Three Amanda
1979 Love and Bullets Jackie Pruit
1982 Death Wish II Geri Nichols
1987 Assassination Lara Royce Craig
Caught Janet Devon (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1959 The Voodoo Factor Renee Unknown episodes
1960 Juke Box Jury 1 episode
1961 Armchair Theatre Sybil Vane 1 episode
Kraft Mystery Theatre 1 episode
Ghost Squad Anna 1 episode
1963 Richard the Lionheart Marianne 1 episode
1964 Ben Casey Julie Carr 1 episode
The Third Man Julia 1 episode
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Julie Lyle 1 episode
1964–67 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Various roles 5 episodes
1965 My Favorite Martian Zelda 1 episode
1965–66 Twelve O'Clock High Alyce Carpenter "The Hotshot"/Sara Blodgett "The Survivor" 2 episodes
1966 The Wackiest Ship in the Army 1 episode
Shane Marian Starrett 17 episodes
1967 Star Trek Leila Kalomi 1 episode "This Side of Paradise"
1968 Mannix Ellen Kovak 1 episode "To The Swiftest, Death"
1969 Daniel Boone Angela 1 episode "The Traitor"
1972 Night Gallery Ann Loring 1 episode "The Miracle at Camafeo"/"The Ghost of Sorworth Place" [second segment, "Ghost"]
1980 The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything Charla O'Rourke Television film


  • Life Wish: a Personal Story of Survival (1987) ISBN 0-515-09609-1, ISBN 0-316-10926-6
  • Lifeline: My Fight to Save My Family (1989) ISBN 0-7126-2531-3, ISBN 0-446-51480-2


  1. Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. pp. 370/1. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
  2. Bernstein, Fred (17 September 1979). "It's a Pretty Impasse When Jill Ireland Is Taller in the Saddle Than Charles Bronson". People. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  3. Sporkin, Elizabeth (20 May 1991). "Jill Ireland". People. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  4. Smith, Kyle (15 September 2003). "Tender as Nails". People. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  5. Yarrow, Andrew L. (19 May 1990). "Jill Ireland, Actress, 54, Is Dead; Wrote of Her Fight With Cancer". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  6. Brownsville Cemetery in West Windsor, Vermont
  7. Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 23030-23037). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  8. "Hollywood Walk of Fame". Walkoffame.com. 20 June 1989. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
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