Rachel Roberts (actress): Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rachel Roberts
Born Rachel Roberts
20 September 1927(1927-09-20)
Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Died 26 November 1980 (aged 53)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Years active 1953 – 1980

Rachel Roberts (20 September 1927 – 26 November 1980) was a Welsh actress noted for her fervour and passion; Roberts gave forthright performances in two key films of the 1960s.



After a Baptist upbringing (against which she rebelled), followed by the University of Wales and RADA, she began working with a repertory company in Swansea in 1950.[1] She made her film debut in the Welsh-set comedy Valley of Song (1953; directed by Gilbert Gunn).

Her portrayal of Brenda in Karel Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) won her a BAFTA.[2] Lindsay Anderson cast her as the suffering Mrs Hammond in This Sporting Life (1963, another BAFTA and an Oscar nomination). Both films being good examples of the British New Wave of film making.

In theatre, she performeed at the Royal Court and was the life-enhancing tart Maggie May in Lionel Bart's musical (1964). In films she continued to play women with lusty appetites (as in Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man! (1973), although the haunting Australian-made Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, directed by Peter Weir) provided her with a different kind of role.

She appeared in supporting roles in several American films such as Foul Play (1978) after relocating to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, her final British film being Yanks (1979, directed by John Schlesinger), for which she received a Supporting Actress BAFTA.[3]

In 1979, Roberts co-starred with Jill Bennett in the London Weekend Television production of Alan Bennett's The Old Crowd, directed by Lindsay Anderson.

Personal life

She married firstly Alan Dobie (1955–1961), then Rex Harrison (1962–1971).

Illness and death

Her alcoholism and depression increased after her divorce from Harrison in 1971. Devastated over their divorce, she moved to Hollywood in 1975 and tried to forget the relationship. In 1980 a final, futile attempt to win Harrison back proved unsuccessful. Impulsive and insecure, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol on November 26, 1980 at her home in Los Angeles. Her gardener found her body in the kitchen, having smashed a glass divide between two rooms.[4] The coroner reported the cause of death as "swallowing a caustic substance" and later, "acute barbiturate intoxication".[4][5] It was ruled a suicide.[5] She was 53 years old.

She was cremated at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.[6] Her journals became the basis for No Bells on Sunday: The Memoirs of Rachel Roberts (1984).


Year Film Role Notes
1953 Valley of Song Bessie Lewis Alternative title: Men Are Children Twice
The Limping Man Barmaid
1954 The Weak and the Wicked Pat, pregnant inmate Alternative title: Young and Willing
The Crowded Day Maggie Alternative title: Shop Spoiled
1957 The Good Companions Elsie and Effie Longstaff
1959 Our Man in Havana Prostitute Uncredited
1960 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Brenda
1961 Girl on Approval Anne Howland
1963 This Sporting Life Mrs. Margaret Hammond
1968 A Flea in Her Ear Suzanne de Castilian
1969 The Reckoning Joyce Eglington Alternative title: A Matter of Honour
1971 Doctors' Wives Della Randolph
Wild Rovers Maybell (town madam)
1973 Alpha Beta Nora Elliot
The Belstone Fox Cathie Smith Alternative title: Free Spirit
O Lucky Man! Gloria Rowe/Madame Paillard/Mrs. Richards
1974 Murder on the Orient Express Hildegarde Schmidt
1975 Picnic at Hanging Rock Mrs. Appleyard
1978 Foul Play Delia Darrow/Gerda Casswell
1979 Yanks Mrs. Clarrie Moreton
When a Stranger Calls Dr. Monk
1981 Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen Mrs. Dangers
Year Title Role Notes
1958-1959 Our Mutual Friend Lizzie Hexam Miniseries
1960 On Trial Mrs. Rogerson 1 episode
BBC Sunday-Night Play Mrs. Holyoake 1 episode
1963 The Eleventh Hour Mary Newell 1 episode
1966 ITV Play of the Week Lady Hamilton 1 episode
Out of the Unknown Anna Preston 1 episode
Blithe Spirit Ruth Condomine Television movie
1969 Destiny of a Spy Megan Thomas Television movie
Happy Ever After 1 episode
1970 Night Gallery Rebecca Brigham 1 episode
1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Victoria Thorson 1 episode
1973 Baffled! Mrs. Farraday Television movie
1974 Graceless Go I Television movie
Play for Today Olwen 1 episode
Great Expectations Mrs. Gargery Television movie
1976 The Tony Randall Show Mrs. Bonnie McClellen 1 episode
1977 A Circle of Children Helga Television movie
1979 Family Angela Brown 1 episode
The Old Crowd Pauline Television movie
3 by Cheever: The Sorrows of Gin Mrs. Henlein Television movie
1980 The Hostage Tower Sonya Television movie
1982 The Wall Regina Kowalska Television movie


  1. ^ Halliwell's Who's Who on the Movies. John Walker (ed); HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd. (2003) pg398 ISBN 0060534230
  2. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg769 ISBN 9780708319536
  3. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg769 ISBN 9780708319536
  4. ^ a b Upton, Julian (2004). Fallen Stars. Headpress. ISBN 1900486385. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Gb5ci9IF_SMC.  
  5. ^ a b "Rachel Roberts Ruled a Suicide". The New York Times. 1981-01-06. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9B0CEFDE173BF935A35752C0A967948260. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  6. ^ Edwards, Robert (2001-10-19). "Rachel Roberts (1927–1980)". Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5861206. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Rachel Roberts (September 20, 1927November 26, 1980) was a British actress.


  • Whenever I act well, my head clears. Always a bit frail I was personally, but never professionally.
  • It is very difficult to be taken seriously when you're introduced at a party to somebody as the fourth Mrs Rex Harrison.
  • Everybody has a story...and a scream.
Wikipedia has an article about:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address