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Susan Hampshire

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 12, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, author, ballerina, assistant stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Best known to American audiences for her portrayal of sturdy upper crust Brits on public TV imports, Susan Hampshire was a celebrated British actress of stage, screen and TV, mostly in her native land. American audiences came to know her through such serials as "The Forsyte Saga" (PBS, 1969-70), in which she was Fleur, the stalwart member of a merchant family, "The First Churchills" (PBS, 1971), in which she was Sarah, the focused member of the Duke of Marlborough's clan, and as Becky Sharpe in the TV rendition of "Vanity Fair" (PBS, 1972). She won Emmy Awards for all three portrayals, and is also remembered as Agnes Wickfield in the "David Copperfield" adaptation shown on NBC in 1970. Additionally, Hampshire was the outspoken Glencora in "The Pallisers" (PBS, 1977), a series about a Victorian family with political leanings. Hampshire's work in feature films is less well-known to American audiences. After an appearance as a child in the British-made "The Woman in the Hall" (1947), she appeared in ingenue roles beginning with "Upstairs and Downstairs" (1959). She was the mother in "The Three Lives of Thomasina", a 1963 Disney film about a girl in a Scottish village who heals animals through love. Her...

Best known to American audiences for her portrayal of sturdy upper crust Brits on public TV imports, Susan Hampshire was a celebrated British actress of stage, screen and TV, mostly in her native land. American audiences came to know her through such serials as "The Forsyte Saga" (PBS, 1969-70), in which she was Fleur, the stalwart member of a merchant family, "The First Churchills" (PBS, 1971), in which she was Sarah, the focused member of the Duke of Marlborough's clan, and as Becky Sharpe in the TV rendition of "Vanity Fair" (PBS, 1972). She won Emmy Awards for all three portrayals, and is also remembered as Agnes Wickfield in the "David Copperfield" adaptation shown on NBC in 1970. Additionally, Hampshire was the outspoken Glencora in "The Pallisers" (PBS, 1977), a series about a Victorian family with political leanings.

Hampshire's work in feature films is less well-known to American audiences. After an appearance as a child in the British-made "The Woman in the Hall" (1947), she appeared in ingenue roles beginning with "Upstairs and Downstairs" (1959). She was the mother in "The Three Lives of Thomasina", a 1963 Disney film about a girl in a Scottish village who heals animals through love. Her career transformed when she starred in Pierre Granier-Deferre's "Paris in the Month of August/Paris au mois d'Aout" (1966), in which she appeared in a nude scene. Hampshire later married Granier-Deferre (they divorced in 1974). Her portrayal of African-based naturalist Joy Adamson in "Living Free" (1972), the sequel to "Born Free" in which Elsa the lion has died, received some notice in the States. Some of her other appearances in film, including her work in several French films are almost unknown to US audiences.

Hampshire's work on stage in England began in the late 50s, and has included Shakespearean interpretations, from Rosalind in "As You Like It" to Katherina in "The Taming of the Shrew" (both at the Shaw Theatre). She played Peter Pan in a 1974 production of the classic musical as well. For most of the 80s, her performing career was virtually inactive. Hampshire devoted herself primarily to writing gardening and children's' books, including the "Lucy Jane" series. She authored "Susan's Story" (1982), which recounted her struggle with dyslexia, and "The Maternal Instinct" (1985), about coping with her daughter's fatal illness. Hampshire returned to the theatre in a 1990 production of "A Little Night Music" and was on stage at the Savoy Theatre in London in "Relative Values" (1993).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Bang! (1977) Cilla Brown
2.
 Neither the Sea Nor the Sand (1973) Anna Robinson
3.
 Living Free (1972) Joy Adamson
4.
 Malpertuis: Histoire d'une maison Maudite (1972) Alice; Euryale; Nancy
5.
 Baffled (1972) Michele Brent
6.
 Time For Loving (1971)
7.
 David Copperfield (1970) Agnes Wickfield
8.
 The Trygon Factor (1969) Trudy Emberday
10.
 Paris in the Month of August (1968) Patricia Seagrave
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1947:
Film debut "The Woman in the Hall"
1958:
Stage debut, "Night Must Fall" at Bognor Regis, England
1959:
London debut, "Expresso Bongo"
1959:
First adult film role, "Upstairs and Downstairs"
1961:
Early TV appearance, "Adventures in Paradise" episode
1969:
Played Fleur in "The Forsyte Saga" (PBS)
1970:
Featured as Agnes Wickfield in "David Copperfield" (NBC)
1971:
Played Sarah Churchilll in "The First Churchills" (Masterpiece Theatre)
1972:
Starred as Becky Sharpe in "Vanity Fair" (Masterpiece Theatre)
1972:
Played Joy Adamson in "Living Free"
1977:
Cast as Glencora in "The Pallisers" TV series
1993:
Starred in "Relative Values" at Savoy Theatre, London
1998:
Appeared as a headmistress in the British TV adaptation of Rosamund Pilcher's novel "Coming Home" (ITV Network)
1999:
Reprised role of headmistress in "Nancherrow" (ITV)
2000:
Had featured role in the BBC TV series "Monarch of the Glen"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Some sources erroneously list 1942 as the year of Miss Hampshire's birth.

A dyslexic, Hampshire was made a member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1995 for her work on behalf of those with that learning disability.

On having plastic surgery on her nose when she was starting out, Susan Hampshire told The Daily Express (January 2, 2001): "All my family had similar noses - handsome, but perhaps a bit large for an ingenue. At that young age you don't know why you do these things and in subsequent years absolutely everyone I know has had far more plastic surgery than me, so I'm reluctant to talk about it. But yes, it is true. Regretting anything is not in my nature, otherwise you'd sit around all day bewailing your past."

Hampshire has received honorary degrees from London University (1985), St. Andrew's University (1987), Kingston University (1993), and Pinemanor College (1993).

She created a bit of controversy in December 2000 when she announced she had become a member of Exit, a voluntary euthanasia society. (Euthanasia is illegal in the United Kingdom.)

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Pierre Granier-Deferre. Director. Married in 1967; divorced in 1974.
companion:
Nicky Henson. Actor. Had relationship after they appeared together in "Peter Pan" in the mid-1970s; at the time, Henson was married to Una Stubbs.
husband:
Sir Eddie Kulukundis. Theater impresario. Married on April 4, 1981.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Kenneth Hampshire. Was director of ICI.
mother:
June Pavey Hampshire. Educator. Operated a small private school and taught dance.
son:
Christopher Granier-Deferre. Born in 1971.
daughter:
Victoria Granier-Deferre. Died within a day of her birth.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Susan's Story: An Autobiographical Account of My Struggle With Dyslexia" St. Martin's Press
"The Maternal Instinct" Merrimack
"Lucy Jane at the Ballet" William Collins and Sons
"Trouble Free Gardening" Elm Tree Books
"Lucy Jane on Television" Methuen
"Every Letter Counts" Transworld Press
"Lucy Jane and the Dancing Competition" Collins
"Easy Gardening"
"Lucy Jane and the Russian Ballet" Collins
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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