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Margaret Rutherford

Margaret Rutherford

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Also Known As: Margaret Taylor Rutherford, Dame Margaret Rutherford Died: May 22, 1972
Born: May 11, 1892 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, speech and piano teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gifted, endearing character player, in films since the mid-1930s. A master scene-stealer, Rutherford personified the eccentric English spinster in a number of famous comedies, including David Lean's classic "Blithe Spirit" (1945), as the enthusiastic, bicycle-riding psychic, Madame Arcati. In "The Happiest Days of Your Life" (1950), she teamed beautifully with Alistair Sim for a rollicking secondary school farce.With her plump figure, small and piercing eyes, and bulldog expression, Rutherford could embody a spirit of prim, stiff-upper-lip efficiency or could play a classic, fidgety bungler with equal ease. She made a memorably nervous Miss Prism in a sterling film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's farce, "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1952). Rutherford is perhaps best known as the indomitable title character in four "Miss Marple" mystery films of the 60s. Most of Rutherford's credits are British, but she won an Academy Award for her hilarious rendition of a daffy duchess down on her luck in the old-fashioned, all-star Hollywood anthology drama, "The V.I.P.s" (1963). This much-loved trouper was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the late 60s shortly before her death. ...

Gifted, endearing character player, in films since the mid-1930s. A master scene-stealer, Rutherford personified the eccentric English spinster in a number of famous comedies, including David Lean's classic "Blithe Spirit" (1945), as the enthusiastic, bicycle-riding psychic, Madame Arcati. In "The Happiest Days of Your Life" (1950), she teamed beautifully with Alistair Sim for a rollicking secondary school farce.

With her plump figure, small and piercing eyes, and bulldog expression, Rutherford could embody a spirit of prim, stiff-upper-lip efficiency or could play a classic, fidgety bungler with equal ease. She made a memorably nervous Miss Prism in a sterling film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's farce, "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1952). Rutherford is perhaps best known as the indomitable title character in four "Miss Marple" mystery films of the 60s. Most of Rutherford's credits are British, but she won an Academy Award for her hilarious rendition of a daffy duchess down on her luck in the old-fashioned, all-star Hollywood anthology drama, "The V.I.P.s" (1963). This much-loved trouper was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the late 60s shortly before her death.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Arabella (1970) Princess Ilaria
2.
 Falstaff (1967) Hostess Quickly
3.
 A Countess From Hong Kong (1967) Miss Gaulswallow
4.
 The Wacky World of Mother Goose (1967) Mother Goose
5.
 The Alphabet Murders (1966) Miss Marple
6.
 Murder Most Foul (1965) Miss Marple
7.
 Murder Ahoy (1964) Miss Marple
8.
 Murder at the Gallop (1963) Miss Marple
9.
 The V.I.P.s (1963) The Duchess of Brighton
10.
 The Mouse on the Moon (1963) The Grand Duchess, Gloriana
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1933:
Made her West End stage debut in the play "Wild Justice" by James Dale
1936:
Made her film debut as Miss Butterby in "Dusty Ermine"
1938:
Career took notable upturn with her performance as the eccentric septuagenarian Bijou Furze in the stage comedy, "Spring Meeting"
1939:
First played Miss Prism in "The Importance of Being Earnest" onstage, in a production by John Gielgud
1940:
Played the atypically unsympathetic role of Mrs. Danvers in a stage adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel, "Rebecca"
1941:
Portrayed Madame Arcati on the London stage in the original production of Noel Coward's comedy, "Blithe Spirit"
1945:
Recreated her stage role in David Lean's film version of "Blithe Spirit"
1947:
Toured North America with John Gielgud in "The Importance of Being Earnest", this time playing Lady Bracknell
1948:
Played Miss Whitchurch in the stage farce, "The Happiest Days of Your Life"
1950:
Recreated her role in "The Happiest Days of Your Life" in Frank Launder's film adaptation
1952:
Committed her performance as Miss Prism to film in Anthony Asquith's adaptation of "The Importance of Being Earnest"
1957:
Toured Australia in "The Happiest Days of Your Life" with husband Stringer Davis
1963:
Won Best Supporting Actress Oscar playing a dotty dowager in "The VIPs"
1966:
Suffered a fall while filming in Italy; broke her hip and never fully recovered
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School: - 1925

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Stringer Davis. Actor, producer. Married in 1945; died fifteen months after Rutherford in the fall of 1973; frequently played small supporting roles in Rutherford's films, most notably as Mr. Stringer, the village librarian in the Miss Marple murder mysteries.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Benn. Benn murdered his father Julius just prior to Rutherford's birth.
mother:
Florence Rutherford. Died c. 1895.
uncle:
John Benn. Politician.
daughter:
Dawn Langley Simmons. Author. Was born to Jack Copper, the chauffeur of Vita Sackville-West, and Marjorie Hall Ticehurst; born with an adrenal abnormality that caused female genitalia to resemble a man's, hence was raised as a boy; adopted by Rutherford in her 20s.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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