Jean Forbes-Robertson


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(1905–62), English actress, second daughter of Johnston Forbes-Robertson. She made her first appearance in 1921 in South Africa, touring with her mother under the name of Anne McEwen. In 1926 in London she was seen as Sonia in Komisarjevsky's production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya under her own name which she thence-forth retained. In 1928 she scored a success as Helen Pettigrew in Berkeley Square, based on Henry James's novel The Sense of the Past. From 1927 until 1934 she played the title-role in the Christmas production of Barrie's Peter Pan, for which her slight, boyish figure made her eminently suitable, as it did also for Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1937) and Jim Hawkins in Stevenson's Treasure Island (1945). She was for some time with the Old Vic company, where she played a number of Shakespeare's heroines, and was much admired in the plays of Ibsen, particularly as Hedda Gabler and as Rebecca West in Rosmersholm (both 1936). Among her other outstanding parts were Lady Teazle in Sheridan's The School for Scandal and Marguerite in the younger Dumas's The Lady of the Camellias. She also appeared in a number of modern plays, among them Rodney Ackland's Strange Orchestra (1932) and Priestley's Time and the Conways (1937). After the war she was seen less often, making her last appearance as Branwen Elder in Priestley's The Long Mirror (1952).

From The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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