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Margaret Rutherford

Margaret Rutherford

Dame Margaret Rutherford was a British character actress who first came to prominence following World War II in the film adaptations of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

Born in London, she made her stage debut in 1925 at the Old Vic. However, her appearance was such that romantic heroines were almost out of the question, and she soon established her name in comedy, appearing in many of the most successful British films of the mid-20th century. In most of these films, she had originally played the role on stage.

In 1961, she first played the film role with which she was most often associated in later life, that of Miss Marple in a series of films based on the novels of Agatha Christie.

Rutherford won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for The VIPs (1963), as the absent-minded Duchess of Brighton, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Her husband was the actor Stringer Davis, whom she married in 1945 and with whom she often appeared. Rutherford was awarded an OBE in 1961 and in 1967 she was created a Dame of the British Empire (DBE). She was a cousin of the politician, Tony Benn.

She suffered from Alzheimer's disease at the end of her life, and died 11 days after her 80th birthday, of complications from a hip injury. She is buried along with her husband in the graveyard of St. James Church, Gerrards Cross.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Margaret Rutherford Facts

BirthdayMay 11, 1892
BirthplaceLondon, England, United Kingdom
Date of deathMay 22, 1972 (age 80)
Awards1964 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (for The V.I.P.s)
1964 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (for The VIPS)

Selected Filmography

Castle in the Air
Murder, She Said
Murder Most Foul
Murder at the Gallop
Agatha Christie's Miss Marple
Murder Ahoy
The V.I.P.s
Blithe Spirit
Chimes at Midnight
Bad News Blair
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