Vivien Heilbron

Vivien Heilbron (born 13 May 1944) is a Scottish actress.[1]

Vivien Heilbron
Born (1944-05-13) 13 May 1944
Glasgow, Scotland
OccupationActress • LAMDA Examiner
Spouse(s)Jonathan Cecil
(m. 1963; div. 197?)
David Rintoul (m. 2008)
RelativesLorna Heilbron


Heilbron, who was born in Glasgow, was a member of the company at Dundee Repertory Theatre in the mid-1960s. She achieved fame in her homeland when she appeared in the 1971 BBC Scotland television adaption of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song, in the lead role of Chris Guthrie. "The television programme was quite instrumental in raising Gibbon's publicity", she said. "It put him on the school curriculum where he had not been before."[2]

In the early 1980s she appeared in its two sequels Cloud Howe and Grey Granite (the trilogy is known as A Scots Quair).[3]

On film she played Catriona opposite Michael Caine in the 1971 film version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, also appeared in Mysteries (1978), starring Rutger Hauer and Sylvia Kristel and the 1998 comedy The Sea Change, with Ray Winstone.[4]

She appeared as Emm in Ace of Wands and as regular Det. Sgt. Louise Colbert in the BBC detective series Target.[5][6] She received an Emmy nomination for her performance in The Moonstone.[7] She appeared as a minor character, Christine Pretis, in EastEnders from 1989 to 1992.

Other television appearances include Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Taggart, The New Statesman, and Poirot.[1]

On stage she has played Elizabeth in Richard III opposite Derek Jacobi and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.[8][9] She more recently returned in An Evening With Grassic Gibbon, playing The Narrator.[10]

Personal life

Heilborn met actor Jonathan Cecil when they were both studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and the couple married in 1963.[11] The couple divorced after Cecil met actress Anna Sharkey in 1972, with those two getting wed in 1976.[11]

Heilborn married actor David Rintoul in 2008.[12] She is the elder sister of actress Lorna Heilbron and the sister-in-law of Nicholas Clay.


  1. "Vivien Heilbron". IMDb. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  2. "Heilbron stars in tribute to author of Scots' favourite book". The Herald. Glasgow. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  3. – A Scots Quair
  4. "Kidnapped". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  5. "". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  6. "Target". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. "Artistic Faculty and Staff: Vivien Heilbron". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  8. "The Shakespeare Programme Faculty". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  9. The Shakespeare Institute – Vivien Heilbron
  10. The life of Lewis Grassic Gibbon by Jack Webster
  11. Billington, Michael (25 September 2011). "Jonathan Cecil obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  12. "David Rintoul". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
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