Patricia Roc (born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold; 7 June 1915 – 30 December 2003) was an English film actress, popular in the Gainsborough melodramas such as Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, Canyon Passage (1946). She also appeared in Millions Like Us (1943), Jassy (1945), The Brothers (1947) and When the Bough Breaks (1947).
Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold
7 June 1915
St Pancras, London, England
|Died||30 December 2003 88) (aged|
|Other names||Felicia Riese|
|Years active||1938 – 1962|
Dr. Murray Laing
(m. 1939; div. 1944)
(m. 1949; died 1954)
(m. 1962; died 1986)
She was employed by the studio of J. Arthur Rank, who called her "the archetypal British beauty" She achieved her greatest level of popularity in British films during the Second World War in escapist melodramas for Gainsborough Studios.
The adopted daughter of a Dutch-Belgian stockbroker, André Riese, and a half-French mother, she was educated at private schools in London and Paris, then was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1937. She did not learn that she was adopted until 1949.
West End theatre producer Sydney Carroll discovered her and cast her in The Mask of Virtue at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. When Carroll thought Felicia Riese sounded "too foreign" and without character, he suggested he change her name to something short and memorable. As there was then a Rock Film Studios Carroll suggested "Rock" as a surname. She agreed but she suggested dropping the "k" to make the surname more memorable and shorter and "Patricia" was the nearest name to "Felicia".
Roc began her career as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of Nuts in May, in which she was seen by Alexander Korda, who gave her an uncredited bit in The Divorce of Lady X (1938) and then a leading role as a Polish princess in The Rebel Son.
She had roles in The Gaunt Stranger (1939), The Mind of Mr. Reeder (1939), and The Missing People (1940). She had a bigger part in A Window in London (1940), the comedy Pack Up Your Troubles (1940), Dr. O'Dowd (1940), Three Silent Men (1940), It Happened to One Man (1940), and The Farmer's Wife (1941).
She appeared alongside two of Gainsborough's biggest stars, Margaret Lockwood and Stewart Granger, in Love Story (1944), a big hit. Roc played the jealous rival of Margaret Lockwood. She later commented that although they were required to slap each other's faces, she and Lockwood were always the best of friends. Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945), with Granger and Phyllis Calvert, was another success.
Neither of them, however, did as well as The Wicked Lady (1945), where Roc played Lockwood's best friend. It was the most successful movie at the British box office in 1946. Roc's more overt sexuality in such films as The Wicked Lady was downplayed for the American market; her décolletage led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it) and "the Goddess of Odeons", whilst Noël Coward said she was "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled film star who can act".
Her brief move to Hollywood to film Canyon Passage (1946) was a lend-lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors. During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame."
Roc returned to Britain to make The Brothers (1947), a melodrama that was a commercial disappointment. She was in an expensive British-US co production So Well Remembered (1947), which was a hit in Britain but failed to recoup its cost. Jassy (1947), a melodrama with Lockwood, was a big hit. When the Bough Breaks (1947), another melodrama, performed reasonably well.
She walked out of London Belongs to Me claiming she was miscast.
She made two films film in France, Return to Life (1949) and The Man on the Eiffel Tower. She returned to Britain to appear in a comedy The Perfect Woman (1949) then walked out on her contract with Rank in March 1949.
|1938||The Divorce of Lady X||Minor role||(uncredited)|
|The Barbarian and the Lady||Marina|
|The Gaunt Stranger||Mary Lenley|
|1939||The Mysterious Mr. Reeder|
|1940||The Missing People||Doris Bevan|
|A Window in London||Pat||Released as Lady in Distress in USA|
|Pack Up Your Troubles||Sally Brown|
|Three Silent Men||Pat Quentin|
|It Happened to One Man||Betty Quair|
|1941||The Farmer's Wife||Sibley|
|My Wife's Family||Peggy Gay|
|1942||Suspected Person||Joan Raynor|
|Let the People Sing||Hope Ollerton|
|1943||We'll Meet Again||Ruth|
|Millions Like Us||Celia Crowson|
|1944||Two Thousand Women||Rosemary Brown / Mary Maugham|
|1945||Madonna of the Seven Moons||Angela Labardi|
|The Wicked Lady||Caroline|
|Johnny Frenchman||Sue Pomeroy|
|1946||Canyon Passage||Caroline Marsh|
|So Well Remembered||Julie Morgan|
|When the Bough Breaks||Lily Bates|
|1948||One Night with You||Mary Santell|
|1949||The Perfect Woman||Penelope Belman|
|Return to Life||Lieutenant Evelyne|
|The Man on the Eiffel Tower||Helen Kirby|
|1950||Black Jack||Ingrid Dekker|
|Fugitive from Montreal||Helen Bering|
|1951||Circle of Danger||Elspeth Graham|
|1952||Something Money Can't Buy||Anne Wilding|
|1953||La mia vita è tua|
|1956||The Errol Flynn Theatre||Episode: "Farewell Performance"|
|1957||The Hypnotist||Mary Foster|
|The House in the Woods||Carol Carter|
|1958||White Hunter||Marge Wilson||Episodes: "Pegasus"|
|No Hiding Place||Mrs. Ottlone||Episode: "Who Is Gustav Varnia?"|
|1960||Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons||Mme. Dueaux|
|Skyport||Iris West||1 episode|
|1961||Dixon of Dock Green||Brenda||Episode: "A Kiss for the Constable"|
|1962||The Saint||Madge Clarron||Episode: "The Talented Husband"|
- "Actress Patricia Roc dies, aged 88". Daily Telegraph. London. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
- Bergan, Ronald (31 December 2003). "Actress Patricia Roc, Rank starlet seen as the epitome of the English rose". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
- p. 27 Hodgson, Michael Patricia Roc Author House, 2013
- "PATRICIA ROC". The Forbes Advocate. 38 (2). New South Wales, Australia. 7 January 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Patricia Roc A new favourite". Lachlander and Condobolin and Western Districts Recorder. New South Wales, Australia. 2 October 1947. p. 4. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Obituary". Daily Telegraph. London. 30 December 2003. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
- "New romance for Patricia Roc". The Mail. 37 (1, 902). Adelaide. 13 November 1948. p. 3 (SUNDAY MAGAZINE). Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Patricia Roc's First Hollywood Film". The Farmer & Settler. XLI (46). New South Wales. 13 December 1946. p. 19. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "PATRICIA ROC IS HOME AGAIN". The Sydney Morning Herald (34, 228). 4 September 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- 'Bing's Lucky Number: Pa Crosby Dons 4th B.O. Crown', The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 3 January 1948: 12.
- 'Britten's Rape of Licretia: New York Divided', The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 31 December 1948: 8.
- "PATRICIA ROC QUITS PICTURE". The News. 49 (7, 595). Adelaide. 6 December 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "England". The Sun (2472). Sydney. 3 September 1950. p. 54. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Margaret Aylwards". The Sun (2397). Sydney. 20 March 1949. p. 12. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "PATRICIA ROC IS MARRIED". The Barrier Miner. LXII (17, 933). New South Wales. 17 August 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.