Maureen Pryor

Maureen St John Pook (23 May 1922 – 5 May 1977), known professionally as Maureen Pryor, was an Irish-born English character actress who made stage, film, and television appearances.[1][2] The Encyclopaedia of British Film noted, "she never played leads, but, with long rep and TV experience (from 1949), she was noticeable in all she did."[3]

Maureen Pryor
Maureen St John Pook

(1922-05-23)23 May 1922
Limerick, Ireland
Died5 May 1977(1977-05-05) (aged 54)
London, England
Spouse(s)Stephen Lushington (m.1941 – ?; divorced)
Thomas S. Barry (1961 – ?; separated)
ChildrenOne son

Early life

Pryor was born in Limerick, Ireland, to a Cockney father and an Irish mother.[3] She began acting with Manchester Repertory in 1938, and studied with Michel Saint-Denis at the London Theatre Studio (1939–40).


She appeared in the West End in Seán O'Casey's Red Roses for Me, Noël Coward's Peace in Our Time, John Griffith Bowen's After the Rain (also on Broadway),[1] Doris Lessing's Play with a Tiger[4] and plays such as Little Boxes and Where's Tedd.[5] She was a member of the Stables Theatre Company. She also appeared on Broadway in the premiere season of Boeing-Boeing (1965).[1] In Manchester, she appeared in Eugene O'Neill's one-act play Before Breakfast, directed by Bill Gilmour. She also directed the play herself, for the RSC at the Old Red Lion, Stratford, in 1975.[6] She played Mistress Quickly in Terry Hand's 1975/76 production of Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V also for the Royal Shakespeare Company.[7]

She made over 500 television appearances, including a Play for Today, "O Fat White Woman" (1971),[8] adapted by William Trevor from his own short story, and Ken Russell's television film Song of Summer (1968), in which she played Jelka Delius, the long-suffering wife of the composer Frederick Delius.[9] Russell cast her again in his cinema film The Music Lovers (1970) as Tchaikovsky's mother-in-law.[2] In the 1974 BBC television film Shoulder to Shoulder, she played the composer Dame Ethel Smyth.[10]

Selected filmography

Personal life

Her first marriage ended in divorce, her second in separation. She had one son, Mark. She died in 1977 from a heart ailment.


  1. League, The Broadway. "Maureen Pryor – Broadway Cast & Staff – IBDB".
  2. "Maureen Pryor".
  3. McFarlane, Brian (16 May 2016). "The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition". Oxford University Press via Google Books.
  4. "Play with a Tiger by Doris Lessing".
  5. "". Archived from the original on 28 May 2008.
  6. "Production of Before Breakfast – Theatricalia".
  7. "Maureen Pryor – Theatricalia".
  8. Play for Today: O Fat White Woman, BFI Film and TV Database
  9. "Song of Summer (1968)".
  10. "BFI Screenonline: Shoulder To Shoulder (1974) Credits".
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