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Joan Hickson

Joan Hickson

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Also Known As: Died: October 17, 1998
Born: August 5, 1906 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Northampton, England, GB Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This British stage and occasional film actress made her stage debut in 1927, but it was not until the late 1980s that American audiences became most aware of Joan Hickson when she began playing Agatha Christie's sleuth Miss Marple. She began in the role in 1984 for the BBC and retired for not only the role but from her acting career in 1992. With her big blue eyes and pronounced cheek bones which can be adapted for sympathy or stern menace, Hickson made her London stage debut in "The Tragic Muse" (1928). It was nearly a decade before she first stepped before the cameras in "Love From a Stranger" (1937), based, as much of her future work would be, on an Agatha Christie story. Film work remained rather sporadic, however, until she began working for John and Roy Boulting in 1948 with "The Guinea Pig". Hickson began playing small roles, often landladies or parents. She was the proprietor whose tenant was a German spy in "The Man Who Never Was" (1955) and the mother in "Carry On, Admiral" (1957). Hickson scored critical raves playing an uproariously funny drunken maid in "Upstairs and Downstairs" (1961) and also for playing a grandmotherly type in both the 1967 stage and 1972 film version of "A Day in the...

This British stage and occasional film actress made her stage debut in 1927, but it was not until the late 1980s that American audiences became most aware of Joan Hickson when she began playing Agatha Christie's sleuth Miss Marple. She began in the role in 1984 for the BBC and retired for not only the role but from her acting career in 1992.

With her big blue eyes and pronounced cheek bones which can be adapted for sympathy or stern menace, Hickson made her London stage debut in "The Tragic Muse" (1928). It was nearly a decade before she first stepped before the cameras in "Love From a Stranger" (1937), based, as much of her future work would be, on an Agatha Christie story. Film work remained rather sporadic, however, until she began working for John and Roy Boulting in 1948 with "The Guinea Pig". Hickson began playing small roles, often landladies or parents. She was the proprietor whose tenant was a German spy in "The Man Who Never Was" (1955) and the mother in "Carry On, Admiral" (1957). Hickson scored critical raves playing an uproariously funny drunken maid in "Upstairs and Downstairs" (1961) and also for playing a grandmotherly type in both the 1967 stage and 1972 film version of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" (The film was actually shot in 1970, but held for release for two years.) Hickson played the bookshop lady eyeing the young lovers in "Friends" (1971), and was Aunt Agatha to Faye Dunaway's "The Wicked Lady" (1983). Her film continued well into the 90s, with roles as the haughty Duchess of Marlborough in "King of the Wind" (1990), and her final screen appearance in "Century" (1993).

Hickson had been a regular on several British TV series over the years. She was the receptionist in the anthology series "The Royalty" (BBC, 1957-58), set in a hotel. In "Our Man at St. Mark's" (BBC, 1963-65), Hickson was the faithful housekeeper to a county vicar (played first by Leslie Stephens and later Donald Sinden). She continued to be active on TV after the age of 70, portraying Miss Havisham in 1982 BBC miniseries remake of "Great Expectations" followed by her turns as Miss Marple. Over the years, she also continued to make stage appearances, scoring a triumph on Broadway reprising her London stage role in the 1978 Broadway production of "Bedroom Farce". Paired with fellow veteran Michael Gough, Hickson won a Tony Award for her performance.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Century (1993) Mrs Whitweather
2.
 King of the Wind (1990) Duchess Of Marlborough
3.
 Clockwise (1986) Mrs Trellis
4.
 Wicked Lady, The (1983) Aunt Agatha
5.
 Yanks (1979) Mrs Moody
6.
 One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975) Mrs Gibbons
7.
 Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) Mrs Radlett
8.
 Theatre Of Blood (1973) Mrs Sprout
9.
10.
 Friends (1971)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1927:
Made stage debut, "His Wife's Children"
1928:
Made London West End debut, "The Tragic Muse"
:
Became a member of the Oxford Repertory Company
1937:
Made feature film debut, "Love From a Stranger"
1947:
Early TV appearance in the BBC production "Busman's Honeymoon", a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery
1948:
First collaboration with the Boulting brothers, "The Guinea Pig"
1957:
Began appearing in the "Carry On . . ." film series
1957:
Had regular role of the receptionist on the BBC half-hour drama "The Royalty", set in a hotel
:
Co-starred in the British comedy series "Our Man at St Mark's", playing the housekeeper to a county vicar
1967:
Earned praise for her stage role in "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg"
1970:
Appeared in the feature film version of "A Day in the Day of Joe Egg" (released theatrically in 1972)
:
Broadway debut, "Bedroom Farce"; won Tony Award
1982:
Played Miss Haversham in TV remake of "Great Expectations" (aired in USA on The Entertainment Channel)
:
Appeared as Agatha Christie's fictional detective Miss Jane Marple in a series of TV adaptations; aired in the USA from 1986-1989
:
Reprised role of Miss Marple in made-for-TV movies (aired in USA on A&E in 1990-1993)
1992:
Announced retirement from acting
1993:
Final film, "Century", directed by Stephen Poliakoff
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: -

Notes

Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1987

In 1946, Hickson appeared in a small role in the stage play "Appointment with Death" by Agatha Christie. After one performance, the writer reportedly approached the actress and uttered the prophetic "I hope you will play Miss Marple one day."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Eric Butler. Doctor. Died in 1967.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Alfred Hickson.
mother:
Edith Hickson.
son:
Nicholas Butler. Survived her.

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