Jean Marsh

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:09

From Upstairs, Downstairs to Doctor Who, The House of Elliot to The Saint ...


Jean Marsh is an actress best known for creating the television series Upstairs, Downstairs (with Dame Eileen Atkins) and for portraying housemaid Rose Buck in the same series, a role that brought her an Emmy Award. Jean and Eileen also co-created The House of Eliott for the BBC.

Jean became interested in the acting world while taking dancing and mime classes. A spell in charm school and some work as a model led to employment in repertory theatre. Her first film was "Tales of Hoffman" when she was just 17. Jean then spent three years in America, appearing in Sir John Geilgud's Broadway production of "Much Ado About Nothing" and taking numerous guest slots in TV series, including an episode of the original Twilight Zone.

Returning to London, she was soon to appear in Doctor Who alongside William Hartnell. Her first role in the series was as Princess Joanna in "The Crusade", which was followed by the iconic character of Sara Kingdom in "The Daleks' Master Plan". She returned to the series in the Sylvester McCoy era, as Morgaine in "Battlefield".

Uncredited for her appearance as Marc Antony's wife Octavia in 1963's "Cleopatra", she then attracted much attention for roles such as Mrs Rochester in the 1971 TV movie version "Jane Eyre", and Monica Barling in Hitchcock's "Frenzy" (1972). After nearly 20 years in the business, Jean received the award of "Most Outstanding New Actress” in 1972.

Seen as a guest star in many a Cult TV series, she has appeared in episodes of The Saint (four stories – "The Scales of Justice", "Escape Route", "The Imprudent Politician" and "The Good Medicine"), Department S ("The Perfect Operation"), UFO ("Exposed"), The Persuaders! ("Five Miles To Midnight"), Danger Man ("Name, Date and Place"), Gideon’s Way ("A Perfect Crime" and "The Night Lifers"), Adam Adamant Lives! ("Face In A Mirror"), The Third Man, I Spy, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Befrienders, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Waltons, Trapper John MD, Tales from the Darkside, Murder, She Wrote, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, Dangerfield, Kavanagh QC, Ghosthunter, Holby City, Doctors, the 1990s revival of The Tomorrow People, the TV series version of 9 to 5, and the TV movie "Goliath Awaits".

Other roles on the big screen include the likes of "The Eagle Has Landed" (1976), "The Changeling" (1980), "Return to Oz” (1985) and "Willow" (1988).

Jean nominated Medecins Sans Frontieres as the chosen charity for the 2006 Cult TV Festival.


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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