Joan Hickson


Actor

About

Birth Place
Northampton, England, GB
Born
August 05, 1906
Died
October 17, 1998

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 bo...

Family & Companions

Eric Butler
Husband
Doctor. Died in 1967.

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."

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 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.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Century (1993)
Mrs Whitweather
King of the Wind (1990)
Duchess Of Marlborough
Clockwise (1986)
The Wicked Lady (1983)
Yanks (1979)
One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975)
Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974)
Mrs Radlett
Theatre Of Blood (1973)
Mrs Sprout
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972)
Grace
Friends (1971)
Carry on Loving (1970)
Mrs Grubb
Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968)
Landlady
The Secret of My Success (1965)
Mrs. Pringle
In the Doghouse (1964)
Miss Gibbs
Heavens Above! (1963)
Garrulous housewife
Nurse on Wheels (1963)
Mrs. Wood
Carry On Regardless (1963)
Matron
Roommates (1962)
Mrs. Bostwick
I Thank a Fool (1962)
Landlady
Beware of Children (1961)
Cook
Murder She Said (1961)
Mrs. Kidder
Carry On Constable (1961)
Mrs. May
Carry On Nurse (1959)
The 39 Steps (1959)
Miss Dobson
All at Sea (1958)
Mrs. Kent
Happy Is the Bride (1958)
Mrs Bowles
Law and Disorder (1958)
Aunt Florence
As Long as They're Happy (1957)
Carry On, Admiral (1957)
The Last Man to Hang (1956)
Lucy's mother
Cash on Delivery (1956)
Tavern owner's wife
The Man Who Never Was (1956)
Landlady
Simon and Laura (1956)
Barmaid
Child in the House (1956)
Dance Little Lady (1955)
Mrs. Matthews
The Woman For Joe (1955)
Doctor at Sea (1955)
A Time To Kill (1955)
Doctor in the House (1955)
Value For Money (1955)
Heat Wave (1954)
Mrs. Hardcastle
Man with a Million (1954)
Restaurant proprietor's wife
Shoot First (1953)
Woman station announcer
Sailor of the King (1953)
Mrs. Godliman
The Magic Box (1951)
Seven Days to Noon (1950)
Mrs Pecket
The Guinea Pig (1948)
Mrs Read
Love from a Stranger (1937)
Emmy
The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1937)
Effie

Cast (Special)

The Life of Agatha Christie (1990)
Narration
Miss Marple: A Caribbean Mystery (1990)
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Series IV (1989)
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Series I (1986)
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Series II (1986)
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1981)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Miss Marple: The Mirror Crack'd (1993)
They Do It With Mirrors (1992)

Life Events

1927

Made stage debut, "His Wife's Children"

1928

Made London West End debut, "The Tragic Muse"

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

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)

1982

Played Miss Haversham in TV remake of "Great Expectations" (aired in USA on The Entertainment Channel)

1992

Announced retirement from acting

1993

Final film, "Century", directed by Stephen Poliakoff

Family

Alfred Hickson
Father
Edith Hickson
Mother
Nicholas Butler
Son
Survived her.

Companions

Eric Butler
Husband
Doctor. Died in 1967.

Bibliography

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."