Forbes, Bryan., b. 1926

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Bryan Forbes is an English actor, writer and director. He was friends with Edith Evans during the last 12 years of her life, and collected this material whilst conducting research for his biography on her, Ned's Girl . In 1976 he directed her in the musical film The Slipper and the Rose .

Born in London in 1899, Edith Mary Evans first appearance on stage was in 1910 in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream . In 1912 she was discovered by the noted producer William Poel, and made her first professional appearance for him in a production of Sakuntala . In 1914 she was noticed by the novelist George Moore, who became her mentor and was responsible for her first work engagement at the Royalty Theatre, London.

Her career spanned sixty-six years, during which she performed over 150 different roles in works by a range of playwrights ranging from Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen to Noël Coward and Christopher Fry, and created six of the characters of George Bernard Shaw including Orinthia in The Apple Cart (1929). Some of her notable performances include Millamant in The Way of the World (1924), Rosalind in As You Like It (1926 and 1936), Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (1932, 1934 and 1961) and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (1939). She performed without a break until a few months before her death. Her final public appearance was a BBC radio programme before an audience in August 1976.

Evans had also begun a film career in 1915, her breakthrough movie being The Last Days of Dolwyn (1948), written and directed by Emlyn Williams. Evans was twice nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, and was nominated for the 1967 Best Actress award for her performance in The Whisperers, eventually losing out to Katherine Hepburn.

A life-long lover of poetry, Evans' final West End stage appearance was a performance of her one-woman show of poetry readings in 1973, whilst her last performance on film was at the age of eighty-seven in The Slipper and the Rose, in which she sang and danced.

In 1925, Evans married George (Guy) Booth, a petroleum engineer. He died a decade later and the marriage was childless. She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1946. She died at her home in Kent in 1976, at the age of 88.

From the guide to the Collection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress, 1910s-1970s, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Collection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress, 1910s-1970s V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Cooper, Gladys., 1888-1971 person
associatedWith Coward, Nöel., 1899-1973 person
associatedWith Evans, Dame Edith., 1888-1976 person
associatedWith Finch, Peter., 1916-1977 person
associatedWith Fry, Christopher., 1907-2005 person
associatedWith Gielgud, John., 1904-2000 person
associatedWith Hewerdine, Vivien person
associatedWith Ibsen, Henrik., 1828-1906 person
associatedWith McBean, Angus., 1904-1990 person
associatedWith Moore, George., 1852-1933 person
associatedWith Poel, William., 1852-1934 person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William., 1564-1616 person
associatedWith Shaw, George Bernard., 1856-1950 person
associatedWith Williams, Emlyn., 1905-1987 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Actresses--Great Britain
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1926

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