May 15: Loads of new trivia added. Here you will find all the obscure facts on Margaret Lockwood you always wanted to know but were to shy to ask! Not just dates and times - what actually happened behind those dates and times...
Born in India to a British railway clerk, Margaret Lockwood moved at the age of four in 1920 with her elder brother, Lyn and mother to Gipsy Hill,
Upper Norwood, South London. She was educated at London's Italia Conti School. After training for an acting career at RADA (several years after her official stage debut at age 12), she made her first film in 1935, billed as Margie Day. After a series of inconsequential ingenues, she made her name as the female lead in the internationally successful comic thriller,
The Lady Vanishes (1938, d. Alfred Hitchcock) for the same studio.
However, it was undoubtedly the 1940s melodramas that established her reputation, starting with her performance as the wicked Hesther in
The Man in Grey and reaching a peak with the even more amoral Lady Barbara Skelton in The Wicked Lady (1945, d. Leslie Arliss), thrilling audiences with her shameless pilfering of her best friend's husband before turning to gambling and highway robbery.
This last performance in particular created an indelible impression and catapulted her to the top - in 1945 and 1946 she was unarguably the most popular homegrown female star in British cinema.
Her range was also rather wider than her two best-known roles suggest, as she also played the doomed concert pianist in Love Story (1944, d. Arliss), the nervy, haunted companion in A Place of One's Own (1945, d. Bernard Knowles) and the music-hall star in I'll Be Your Sweetheart (1945, d. Val Guest), though Bedelia (1946, d. Lance Comfort) capitalised on her popular image as a villainess by casting her as a serial-killing bride.
But after the war her career declined surprisingly rapidly. A final Gainsborough melodrama, Jassy (1947, d. Knowles) failed to recapture the old magic, though it did at least give her an opportunity to show off a whole wardrobe of vivid costumes in glorious Technicolor. But her later filmography is resolutely undistinguished, and from the mid-1950s onwards she worked almost exclusively in television. Awarded the CBE in 1981, she died a virtual recluse a decade later.
She was cremated at
Putney Vale Cemetery, South London, not far from her home in Kingston. She isn't buried there as has been reported elsewhere.
Margaret Mary Lockwood
Rupert de Leon (17 October 1937 - 1949) (divorced) 1 child
Trivia has been sourced from the Hilton Tims definitive book
Once a Wicked Lady: Biography of Margaret Lockwood. Available at amazon.co.uk (direct link). Scans of the book are
In 1986 the National Portrait Gallery in London issued a postcard of her to mark a British film exhibition. They got the year of her birth wrong, recording it as 1911 when it was in fact 1916.
In the week of Christmas 1916, on 20 December, three months after her birth, she was baptised Margaret Mary at Trinity Church, Karachi by the chaplain, the Rev. A. O. G. Maunsell.
Lost Lady was based on a novel, The Wheel Spins, by Ethel Lina White. Lost Lady became The Lady Vanishes. Lockwood got the part of the spirited heroine, Iris Henderson despite stiff opposition from Lilli Palmer and Nova Pilbeam. She had learned of her casting from the newspapers. It was made in Islington but initial attempts had been made to produce it in Yugoslavia but the location unit who went were ordered to leave the country; the government, fearful of upsetting Adolf Hitler. Shooting began early in November 1937.
Shooting for The Lady Vanishes cost under £80,000. Shooting was confined to a cramped 90-feet long stage. Filming lasted five weeks. She had been married less than a month when filming started.
Trent's Last Case started production in February 1952 and also starred Orson Welles, a considerale coup for its director, Herbert Wilcox. He was always self-conscious about his small snub nose and insisted, as he did in every film, on wearing a false one. It was patently false and looked so incongrous that Margaret had difficulty keeping a straight face in their scenes together.
John Wayne was originally announced as her co-star in Trouble in the Glen but dropped out, replaced by Forrest Tucker. Welles probaly gave his worst performance in a film in this. The film wasn't helped by the Trucolor process which "gave faces an orange peel look", though The Daily Telegraph found it "superbly photographed".
She began shooting Naked is the Flame, later re-titled again to Cast a Dark Shadow, in April 1955. It won her rave reviews but despite this she always felt she was miscast, insisting the part would have been better served by an actress like Diana Dors It was only the badgering of her co-star, Dirk Bogarde that made her take the role. She filmed it by day while appearing at night in the play The Spider's Web, written for her by Agatha Christie.
Margaret would later remark about her golden years at Gainsborough: "going straight out of one picture into the next. It was just like being a machine. You didn't query anything. You just did as you were told and got on with it. You have to remember we were being well paid for those days and you didn't look a gift horse in the mouth."
When War broke out in 1939 she realised she would be eligible for drafting into war work and decided to volunteer as an ambulance driver but was urged not to volunteer for anything as everything was in the dark.
Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich went through a few title changes before arriving at that one. Report on a Fugitive and Gestapo. Michael Redgrave was initially pencilled in to play the leading role but dropped out to be replaced by Rex Harrison. The treacherous inmate role went to the Austrian actor, Paul von Hernried. As soon as the film was finished he made his way to America, just avoiding the government's round-up and internment of German and Austrian aliens and ended up in Hollywood as Paul Henreid.
One of Night Train to Munich's minor distinctions was the first portrayal on the screen of Adolf Hitler as a non-comic figure. This dubious chore fell to a character actor called Billy Russell, whose likeness to the Fuhrer tended to bring him unwelcome attention in pubs and public places.
My own opinion (site editor) of Night Train to Munich is that it is The Lady Vanishes-lite. I love Carol Reed's work far more than I do Hitchcock's but this is just a pastiche of the film that came a couple of years before.
Love Story was released in the UK in October of 1944. The critics predictably scorned it and just as predictably the film-going public loved t. In only twelve weeks it took £200,000 at the box-office, making it, after Fanny by Gaslight, the second most profitable British film of the war years.
Lockwood's character in The Wicked Lady was once described as: 'a woman so wicked that Scarlett O'Hara would look like a puritan beside her'.
The six months shooting schedule of The Wicked Lady took up most of the spring and early summer of 1945. Margaret rode a horse for the first time in the movie, and mastered the technique in four days. Everyone enjoyed the making of the film except James Mason. Margaret later confided to an interviewer he 'stalked off the set after almost every shot muttering 'bloody codswallop''.
She did a personal appearance tour to promote the film. She was mobbed.
At the height of her fame, in 1945, she was receiving 25,000 fan letters a month.
The list of British directors she worked with reads like a 'who's Who' of the greatest men in the history of world cinema let alone British cinema: Carol Reed, Hitchcock and Michael Powell. To work with Reed as many times she did just shows how great an actress he considered her as and if Reed thought you were good you must have been something special.
He once said of her after the war: 'I consider Margaret Lockwood the most efficient and the most versatile actress I have ever worked with...'
It fell to Bryan Forbes to coax her back before the film cameras for his nearly £3 million musical version of the Cinderella story...She enjoyed making The Slipper and the Rose...even taking a two-week location trip to Austria in her stride, the first time she had travelled overseas for a film since her Hollywood excursion 36 years before.
The Slipper and the Rose was her 45th film and her last. In the spring of 1976 it was chosen for the Royal Film Performance in the presence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. (Direct link to the UK dvd @
On 14th March 1938, British newspaper headlines carried ominous news of Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria. Eighteen months later the country would be at war. That day, had readers but realised, would signify the beginning of the end of life as Britain had known it ... on the inside pages of those very papers was news of a new British film, Bank Holiday. It was that film and on that day that Margaret became a star...
Once a Wicked Lady: Biography of Margaret Lockwood.
Mother of actress Julia Lockwood.
Used "Margie Day" briefly as her stage name at the very beginning of her stage career
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where she was seen in a production and signed by a leading London agent.
In 1965 she co-starred in a popular British television "Flying Swan, The" (1965) with her actress/daughter Julia Lockwood.
Lived for many years with actor John Stone, who appeared with her in the 1959 play "And Suddenly It's Spring" and the 70s TV series "Justice" (1972).
Created CBE (Commander of the order of the British Empire) in 1980, which was her last public appearance. She lived in virtual reclusion until her death 10 years later.
From 1960 to her death in 1990, lived at Upper Park Road, Kingston Hill, UK, which overlooks Richmond Park and is near to the Kingston Gate entrance of the park (you can find its location by clicking here).
There are plans to mark her residency in Upper Park Rd with a blue plaque. This can only come about 20 years after her death (2010).
In the 1940s she was 8 and a half stone, 5ft. 5in. high, 25 in. waist, 35 in. hips, 34 in. bust and took a five in shoes and six in gloves.
In the late 1990s, Kingston County Council named a street after her in the borough to celebrate its most famous resident. It is called Margaret Lockwood Close (pictures to follow) (you can find its location by clicking here).
Suffered from vestibulitis, a viral ear infection for much of her later life.
Named her daughter 'Julia' after Julius Caeser to commemorate her Caesarian operation.
Brief Margaret Lockwood YouTube Slideshow
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