Sonia Dresdel

Sonia Dresdel (5 May 1909 – 18 January 1976) was an English actress, whose career ran between the 1940s and 1970s.[1]

Sonia Dresdel
Born5 May 1909
Died18 January 1976 (1976-01-19) (aged 66)
Canterbury, Kent, England
OccupationActress, theatre director


She was born Lois Obee in Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, and was educated at Aberdeen High School for Girls and RADA.[1][2]


Her performance in the lead role of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler at the Westminster Theatre in 1942 "was legendary. It was the performance on which her reputation was founded. James Agate was ecstatic..."[3] For a decade Dresdel was regarded as one of England's foremost stage actresses.[4] Her leading role in the 1947 film While I Live also gained her a great deal of acclaim. [5] In the film she plays Julia Trevelyan, a spinster living in a lonely cliff top house in Cornwall and haunted by the death of her sister 25 years earlier.[6][7]

Her best remembered role[8] is as Mrs. Baines in the film version of Graham Greene's The Fallen Idol (1948), which starred Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan and Bobby Henrey.[9] The film received Academy Awards nominations for Best Director (Sir Carol Reed) and Best Screenplay.[10]

In the 1950s, as well as appearing increasingly on television, Dresdel moved more to the management side of things, becoming a theatre director under the aegis of the New White Rose Players, directing plays including the thriller Night of the Shoot.[4]

In the 1970s she played the Witch in BBC Television series "Lizzie Dripping".


She died of undisclosed causes, aged 66. The critic Philip Hope-Wallace, said Dresdel was "an actress of high definition with a real power to take an audience by the wrist and give them the works. She had terrific personality and was terribly underused and misused. She would have been the Lady Macbeth of all Lady Macbeths."[3]

Selected filmography


  1. "Sonia Dresdel". BFI.
  2. Hartley, Cathy (15 April 2013). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. ISBN 9781135355333.
  3. N. de J., 'Obituary: Sonia Dresdel', The Guardian, 19 January 1976
  4. Bruce Eder. "Sonia Dresdel - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  5. David Parkinson. "While I Live". RadioTimes.
  6. Harper, Sue (1 June 2000). Women in British Cinema. ISBN 9781441134981.
  7. "While I Live (1947)". BFI.
  8. "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions".
  9. "The Fallen Idol (1948)". BFI.
  10. "The Fallen Idol (1948) - Carol Reed - Awards - AllMovie". AllMovie.
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