Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anna Massey: R.I.P.

Sad to report that British actress, Anna Massey, one of my favorite British actors, died yesterday at age 73. She starred most recently as the blind woman in the Poirot production "The Clocks." She was also in Hitchcock's Frenzy.

She was born in 1937 into a performing family. Her father was Raymond Massey, and her mother was Adrianne Allen. Her brother, Daniel Massey, also became an actor, and her godfather was director John Ford.

Massey made her West End stage debut at 17 in “The Reluctant Debutante” and her film debut in Ford’s 1958 police procedural “Gideon’s Day.”She had roles in films including Michael Powell’s chiller “Peeping Tom” (1960), Otto Preminger’s “Bunny Lake is Missing” (1965) and the 2002 adaptation of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

She worked most frequently in television period dramas. She appeared in TV adaptations of Anthony Trollope’s “The Pallisers,” Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” Charles Dickens’ ”Oliver Twist” and many others.

Massey won Britain’s top acting award for her role in the 1986 TV adaptation of Anita Brookner’s novel “Hotel du Lac.”
The actress revealed in a memoir that she had struggled with depression and stage fright, and suffered a nervous breakdown in the 1960s.

She once said that as an actor, “I’m not instinctive. It takes enormous discipline and bravery to get me there.”

Her first marriage, to actor Jeremy Brett, ended in divorce. Survivors include her second husband, Uri Andres; and a son from her first marriage.

Above from the Washington Post. Read the Telegraph (UK) obituary, HERE.


AnnOxford said...

Oh, Janet, I can't believe it! Anna is also one of my favorites. But at least we have her on film. Very sad day.

Priscilla said...

For all her disclaimers about not being an instinctive actor, she performed with memorable syle and class. I'll miss her.

vallerose said...

Anna Massey, one of my absolute favorite actresses. No one did villains the way she did. Her Mrs Danvers is especially memorable. She did play sympathetic characters on occasion. She was a friendly French woman in the Darling Buds of May series. I though she would go on forever. And she wasn't old at all. I will really miss her.