DAME PEGGY ASHCROFT Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft                                                       
Born: 22 December 1907 Croydon                                                             
Died: 14 June 1991 London, England                                                         
Dame Peggy Ashcroft DBE (December 22, 1907 - June 14, 1991) was an acclaimed               
Academy Award-winning English actress.                                                     
Born Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Peggy Ashcroft attended the                 
Central School of Speech and Drama. A prolific stage actress from a young age,             
she first gained notoriety playing Naemi in Jew Suss in 1929, and Desdemona               
opposite Paul Robeson's Othello two years later. True stardom came in 1934 when           
she played Juliet in a legendary production of Romeo and Juliet, at the New               
Theatre, in which Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud alternated in the roles of             
Romeo and Mercutio. She stayed at the top of the British theatrical profession             
for the remainder of her career, with some of the highlights The Three Sisters (1937),     
The Heiress (1949), Antony and Cleopatra (1953), As You Like It and Cymbeline (as         
Imogen) (1957), The Taming of the Shrew (1960), and The War of the Roses, the             
Royal Shakespeare Company's massive landmark compendium of the three Henry VI             
plays and Richard III, directed by Peter Hall for the RSC in 1963.                         
Ashcroft's film and television appearances were rare but memorable. One of her             
earliest film roles was the minor part of the crofter's wife in the Robert Donat           
version of The Thirty-Nine Steps.                                                         
In 1937, she appeared in a 30 minute excerpt of Twelfth Night on the BBC                   
Television Service, alongside Greer Garson, the first known instance of a                 
Shakespeare play being performed on television.                                           
Possibly her best known celluloid role was that of Mrs Moore in the 1984 film A           
Passage to India — a role for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.       
To this day, Ashcroft remains the oldest person ever to win this award; she was           
77 at the time. Although Ashcroft did not appear in person at the telecast to             
accept the Oscar, Angela Lansbury accepted it on her behalf.                               
On television, Ashcroft appeared in the role of Barbie Batchelor on the                   
internationally acclaimed British mini-series The Jewel in the Crown (1984), for           
which she won a BAFTA Best Television Actress award.                                       
Her likeness was painted by Walter Sickert.