Peggy Ashcroft


Actor
Peggy Ashcroft

About

Also Known As
Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft, Dame Peggy Ashcroft
Birth Place
Croydon, England, GB
Born
December 22, 1907
Died
June 14, 1991
Cause of Death
Stroke

Biography

Peggy Ashcroft was a leading light of London's West End and widely considered one of the century's greatest British stage actresses. Her most famous early role was as Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson's Othello in the early 1940s and her first film was the British Gaumont production "The Wandering Jew" (1933). She was especially memorable as the quiet, emotionally suffocating village wife ...

Family & Companions

Rupert Charles Hart-Davis
Husband
Publisher. Married December 23, 1929; divorced in 1931.
Theodore Komisarjevsky
Husband
Director, actor, producer. Married in November 1934; divorced on June 15, 1937.
Jeremy Nicholas Hutchinson
Husband
Lawyer. Married on September 14, 1940; divorced in December 1965.

Bibliography

"Peggy Ashcroft"
Michel Billington (1988)

Notes

She was named a Dame of the British Empire in 1956.

She became a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1968.

Biography

Peggy Ashcroft was a leading light of London's West End and widely considered one of the century's greatest British stage actresses. Her most famous early role was as Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson's Othello in the early 1940s and her first film was the British Gaumont production "The Wandering Jew" (1933). She was especially memorable as the quiet, emotionally suffocating village wife who briefly shelters the on-the-lam Robert Donat in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Thirty Nine Steps" (1935). Along with frequent costar John Gielgud, Ashcroft's leading men during her 65-year career included Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave and Ralph Richardson. She enjoyed her greatest international acclaim and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her 1984 role in David Lean's film adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel "A Passage to India" and subsequently won renown for the TV miniseries "The Jewel in the Crown" (1984-85).

Life Events

1926

Stage debut in "Dear Brutus" at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

1927

London stage debut in "One Day More"

1933

Film acting debut in "The Wandering Jew"

1937

Broadway stage debut in "High Tor"

1959

TV debut in "Shadow of Heroes"

1962

First British actress to have a theater named after her while still alive--the Ashcroft, in her home town of Croydon

1984

Received career boost and widest exposure in years with her acclaimed role in the David Lean film, "A Passage to India"

Videos

Movie Clip

Passage To India, A (1984) - God Is Here Indian local doctor in training Aziz (Victor Banerjee), stranded when his ride is hijacked by oblivious English ladies, drops by a mosque where he’s surprised first by Mrs. Moore (Peggy Ashcroft, who was recommended for the role by novelist E.M. Forster), then by her gracious attitude, in David Lean’s A Passage To India, 1984.
Passage To India, A (1984) - I Thought She Was A Ghost Adela (Judy Davis), visiting from England and determined to experience something of the “real India,” is conversing with Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerjee) and scholar Professor Godbole (Alec Guiness) when her fiancè, colonial judge Ronny (Nigel Havers) appears, finding everything inappropriate, in David Lean’s A Passage To India, 1984.
Passage To India, A (1984) - The Viceroy's On Board Director David Lean’s screenplay takes a predictably cinematic grip on the E.M. Forster novel, introducing Judy Davis as Adela Quested in1920’s London, Peter Hughes the P&O man, Peggy Ashcroft, as Mrs. Moore, mother of her betrothed, opening A Passage To India, 1984.
Passage To India, A (1984) - I Give Any Englishman Two Years Director David Lean finishes the train journey to fictional interior Chandrapore, introducing Nigel Havers as colonial official Ronny, greeting his mother (Peggy Ashcroft), his betrothed Adela (Judy Davis), his boss (Richard Wilson), then two locals central to the E.M. Forster story, Victor Banerjee and Art Malik, in A Passage To India, 1984.
Hullabaloo Over Georgie And Bonnie's Pictures - Open, Clark Opening from the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory made-for-TV film, Hullabaloo Over Georgie And Bonnie's Pictures, 1980, with Larry Pine as American art buyer "Clark Haven" arriving in Delhi.
Hullabaloo Over Georgie And Bonnie's Pictures - Bitter Rivals Aparna Sen (her anglicized nickname "Bonnie") with brother Victor Banerjee (nickname "Georgie") discussing Western art collectors, then Lady Gwyneth (Peggy Ashcroft) arriving, in the Merchant-Ivory production Hullabaloo Over Georgie And Bonnie's Pictures, 1980.
Secret Ceremony - They Think You're Dead Leonora (Elizabeth Taylor), dead ringer for the dead mother of spooky Cenci (Mia Farrow), hides out while she entertains unexpected maiden aunts Hilda (Pamela Brown) and Hannah (Peggy Ashcroft), in Joseph Losey's Secret Ceremony, 1968.

Trailer

Family

William Worsley Ashcroft
Father
Estate appraiser. Killed in WWI when daughter was 10.
Violetta Maud Ashcroft
Mother
Died when daughter was 18.
Edward Ashcroft
Brother
Only close relative of the actor.
Eliza Hutchinson
Daughter
Born in 1941; father, Jeremy Hutchinson.
Nicholas Hutchinson
Son
Director. Born in 1945; father, Jeremy Hutchinson.

Companions

Rupert Charles Hart-Davis
Husband
Publisher. Married December 23, 1929; divorced in 1931.
Theodore Komisarjevsky
Husband
Director, actor, producer. Married in November 1934; divorced on June 15, 1937.
Jeremy Nicholas Hutchinson
Husband
Lawyer. Married on September 14, 1940; divorced in December 1965.

Bibliography

"Peggy Ashcroft"
Michel Billington (1988)

Notes

She was named a Dame of the British Empire in 1956.

She became a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1968.

Awarded the King's Medal by King Haakon of Norway for her role in a production of Henrik Ibsen's play "Hedda Gabler"

Received the Honorary DLitt from Oxon (1961), Leicester (1964) and from London Universities (1965)

A theater in her hometown of Croyden was named in her honor.