Joan Greenwood

Joan Greenwood

Joan Greenwood in the 1950s
Born (1921-03-04)4 March 1921
Chelsea, London, England
Died 28 February 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 65)
London, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 19381987
Spouse(s) André Morell (19601978; his death); one son

Joan Greenwood (4 March 1921 – 28 February 1987) was an English actress. Born in Chelsea, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her husky voice, coupled with her slow, precise elocution, was her trademark. She may be best remembered for her role as Sibella in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949).

Life and career

Greenwood worked mainly on the stage, where she had a long career, appearing with Donald Wolfit's theatre company in the years following the Second World War.

Greenwood made several memorable screen appearances just after the war, in Ealing Comedies, in Whisky Galore!; as the seductive Sibella in the black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949); and in The Man in the White Suit (1951). She opened The Grass is Greener in the West End in 1952, and played Gwendolyn in a film version of The Importance of Being Earnest released in the same year.

She had leading roles in Stage Struck (1958), an adaptation of Jules Verne's Mysterious Island (1961) and Tom Jones (1963).

In 1960 Greenwood appeared as the title character in a production of Hedda Gabler at the Playhouse, Oxford.[1] Starring opposite her as Judge Brack was the actor André Morell. They fell in love and flew in secret to Jamaica, where they were married, remaining together until his death in 1978.[2]

Greenwood appeared as Olga, alongside Spike Milligan in Frank Dunlop's production of the play Oblomov, based on the novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov. The play opened at London's Lyric Theatre on 6 October 1964. Greenwood was described as "a model of generosity and tolerance ... [t]he only person in the cast who could not be 'corpsed' by Milligan (although) he tried very hard. She looked beautiful, and played the part of Oblomov's unfortunate lady with total integrity. 'She never left the script', says Milligan with a guilty smile of something between irritation and admiration. 'I just couldn't make her crack up. All the rest of us did. She never lost her dignity for a moment.'"[3]

She played Lady Carlton, a quirky romance novelist and landlady to the main characters in the British sitcom Girls on Top (1985-86). Her last film was Little Dorrit (1988), which was released posthumously.

Joan Greenwood died of a heart attack in London, less than a week before her 66th birthday. With her husband she had one child, Jason Morell, a film actor who has appeared in Mrs Brown (1997, as Lord Stanley), and Wilde (also 1997, as Ernest Dowson).[4]


Joan Greenwood in Moonfleet (1955)


  1. "Mr Andre Morell - Stage, film and television actor". The Times. 1978-11-30. p. 19.
  2. "Obituary of Miss Joan Greenwood, The voice that intrigued generations". The Times. 1987-03-03.
  3. Scudamore, Pauline (1985). Spike Milligan: A Biography. London: Granada. ISBN 0-246-12275-7. pp. 215-216
  4. "Jason Morell". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
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