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Patricia Roc
Born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold
7 June 1915(1915-06-07)
London, England
Died 30 December 2003 (aged 88)
Locarno, Switzerland
Other name(s) Felicia Riese
Occupation Actress
Years active 1938 – 1962
Spouse(s) Dr. Murray Laing (1939)
André Thomas (1949-54)
Walter Reif (1962-86)
Official website

Patricia Roc (7 June 1915, London - 30 December 2003, Locarno, Switzerland), born Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold, was a British film actress, popular in the "Gainsborough melodramas" such as Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944) and The Wicked Lady (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, Canyon Passage (1946). She also appeared in Jassy (1945), The Brothers (1947) and When the Bough Breaks (1947).


Early life

The adoptive daughter of a Dutch-Belgian father, Andre Riese, a wealthy stockbroker, and a half-French mother, she was educated at private schools in London and Paris, before joining RADA in 1937. [1] She did not learn that she was adopted until 1949.

Movie career

Roc began as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of "Nuts in May", in which she was seen by Alexander Korda who cast her in a leading role as a Polish Princess in The Rebel Son. [1]

She was employed by the studio of J. Arthur Rank, who called her "the archetypal British beauty"[2] She achieved her greatest level of popularity in British films during the Second World War in escapist melodramas for Gainsborough Studios. [1] She played prominent roles in some patriotic films of the period, such as Let the People Sing (1941) with Alastair Sim and We'll Meet Again (1942) with Vera Lynn. She co-starred with Phyllis Calvert, Jean Kent and Flora Robson as a concentration camp inmate in 2000 Women (1944). [1]

Love Story (1944) allowed her to play the jealous rival of Margaret Lockwood. She later commented that although they were required to slap each other's faces, she and Lockwood were always the best of friends. [1] They played rivals in two subsequent films, The Wicked Lady (1944) and Jassy (1945). Roc's more overt sexuality in such films as The Wicked Lady was downplayed for the American market; her decolletage led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it[3]) and "the Goddess of Odeons", whilst Noel Coward said she was "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled movie star who can act".[2] She was also in Millions Like Us with Gordon Jackson.

Her brief move to Hollywood to film Canyon Passage (1946) was a lend lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors. [1] During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame."

Roc returned to England later in the decade following the death of husband André Thomas. She produced only 3 more films and made a few television appearances (including the first episode of The Saint).

Personal life

Roc married for the first time at 24 in 1939, to the 44-year-old Canadian osteopath Dr. Murray Laing - they divorced only a few years later. She married again in 1949 to André Thomas, and moved to Paris, starting to work more and more in French and Italian cinema (along with a French-Canadian feature in Quebec). Thomas was unable to have children and so, when Patricia gave birth to Michael as a result of an affair with Anthony Steel in 1952 (while they were co-starring in Something Money Can't Buy), Thomas agreed to raise him as his own. Thomas died in 1954.

She married a third and final time, to Walter Reif, in 1962, and a year later retired. During her retirement, she moved to Locarno, where she later died of kidney failure.


External links



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