Birthdate: September 15th, 1916
Location: Karachi, British India
Died: July 15th, 1990
Location: London, UK
Cause of death: Cirrhosis of the liver
Best known for: British film starlet who found fame in the 1930s and 40s in films such as Lorna Doone (1934), Doctor Syn (1937), Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Wicked Lady (1945) and Jassy (1947). She was nominated for a Best British Actress BAFTA for her role in 1955's Cast a Dark Shadow, but lost out to Katie Johnson for The Ladykillers.
Margaret's success in films both in the UK and the US is undeniable, shifting her screen image from lead starlet to darker, villainous roles in the post-war years. However, as she approached her 40th birthday, her popularity began to wane, so instead she turned to the stage and television screen to sustain her career.
Her first work for TV was actually playing the title role in H G Wells' Ann Veronica for the BBC's Sunday Night Theatre in June 1952, followed by Lady Cicely Wayneflete in an adaptation of Captain Brassbound's Conversion for the BBC in March 1953. Other small-screen roles were to follow - in 1955 she played Clarissa Hailsham-Brown in an hour-long excerpt of the play Spider's Web, recorded by the BBC at the Savoy Theatre in London, after which she regularly appeared on TV in productions such as Murder Mistaken (1956), Call It a Day (1956) and the major 10-part BBC series The Royalty, about events at an exclusive London hotel, in which she played Mollie Miller (1957-58).
|Margaret in series 3 of|
Justice (1974), aged 57
After this, Margaret's screen appearances became few and far between. In 1970, aged 56, she played Louise Harrington in a BBC adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Five Finger Exercise, and in June 1974 was a participant in the TV detective panel game Whodunnit?.
Her final TV work was her second greatest small-screen hit. In July 1969 she appeared in an ITV play called Justice is a Woman, playing barrister Julia Stanford, and this in turn inspired Yorkshire TV's series Justice, which ran for three series and 39 episodes between October 1971 and August 1974. In this, Margaret played Northern barrister Harriet Peterson.
|In her final film role as the|
Stepmother in The Slipper and
the Rose (1976)
Margaret's very last acting credit was playing Queen Alexandra in Royce Ryton's play Motherdear at the Ambassador's Theatre in London in 1980. It ran for just six weeks.
|Margaret appeared on friend Tony|
Britton's This is Your Life in
January 1977, aged 60
One of her very final public appearances was in 1980 to accept the honour of a CBE from the Queen, which she had been awarded in the New Year's Honours List. She attended Buckingham Palace with her three grandchildren. After this, she became something of a recluse, living in a stylish cul-de-sac in Kingston Upon Thames and rejecting all invitations and offers of work - for instance, she declined an invitation to attend the premiere of Michael Winner's remake of The Wicked Lady in 1983, as she had appeared in the original.
|One of her very last screen appearances|
on Saturday Night at the Mill in
April 1980, aged 63
For much of her later life, Margaret suffered from labyrinthitis (vestibular neuritis), a form of inner ear infection which affected her balance. A lifelong chain smoker, she passed away at the age of 73 of cirrhosis of the liver at Cromwell Hospital in Kensington, and her body was cremated at Putney Vale.
Here's footage from 1946, when Margaret was 30 years old, of her (rather emotionally) receiving her Daily Mail Film Award for Best Actress ("Tonight is the proudest moment of my film career")...