Hilda Fenemore

Hilda Lilian Fenemore (22 April 1914 – 13 April 2004) was an English actress with a prolific career in film and television from the 1940s to the 1990s. Fenemore played mainly supporting roles which were characterised in her obituary in The Stage as "friends, neighbours, mothers and passers-by"; however her many credits meant that she fell into the category of actors who a majority of film and TV viewers would have been unable to name, yet whose face was instantly recognisable. Her longest-running role was recurring character Jennie Wren in TV series Dixon of Dock Green, who she played for six seasons between 1960 and 1965.

Hilda Fenemore
Hildafenemore.jpg
Hilda Fenemore in Carry On Nurse (1959)
Born(1914-04-22)22 April 1914
St. Pancras, London, England[1]
Died13 April 2004(2004-04-13) (aged 89)
Watford, Hertfordshire, England, UK
OccupationActress
Years active1940s–2004

CareerEdit

Fenemore began her career as a stage actress, joining the company of actors at London's left-wing and progressive Unity Theatre in the 1940s. There she met and married fellow actor Rex Edwards, and worked under the supervision of dramatist Ted Willis, with whom she would later work also in television.

Fenemore made her first film appearance in 1948, and the pattern of her screen career quickly established itself as she featured in a string of supporting parts, mainly in films financed by smaller independent studios rather than the major British set-ups of the day. She appeared in a number of productions financed by the non-profit making Children's Film Foundation, which specialised in adventure-type films made for children, of generally around an hour in length. These films were well regarded as they generally used proven actors and crews, had good production values, and were sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by adults as well as children. In the 1950s, Fenemore continued to work in live theatre, while also accepting work in television.

At the end of the 1950s, Fenemore appeared in two of the early Carry On films, notably in a memorable, albeit brief, cameo in Carry On Nurse (1959) as a wife visiting her husband in hospital, supremely oblivious to the absurdly snobbish impression of upper middle class gentility he has been trying to give his fellow patients, and blithely broadcasting embarrassingly working class trivia at full volume to the entire ward ("I bought this with our divi from the Co-op!") as he cringes in humiliation. In 1960 she was cast as Jennie Wren in Dixon of Dock Green, which reunited her with Willis as scriptwriter, and played the role for the next six years. 1961 brought one of Fenemore's more prominent screen credits, portraying the matriarch of the family at the centre of The Wind of Change, one of the first British films to confront the issue of contemporary race relations.

Through the 1960s and into the 1970s, Fenemore's career increasingly turned to television. She featured in recurring roles in comedy series The Fenn Street Gang (as Mrs. Duffy) and Are You Being Served? (as a cleaner, variously referred to as Ivy, Elsie or Daphne but presumed to be the same person). She also starred in the cult favourite CFF production Chico the Rainmaker, originally shown as a serial during children's Saturday cinema matinees in the UK, and later on PBS in the United States. Fenemore's two final screen credits came in 1978 in the thriller Absolution and as the mother of Oliver Tobias in camp favourite The Stud.

Fenemore's television career continued until the early 1990s, with her last significant appearances in 1992 comedy-drama Going to Seed. According to The Stage, she continued with radio voiceover work almost up to her death. Fenemore died on 13 April 2004, aged 89.[2]

Filmography (partial)Edit

Television (selected)Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ BFI biodata
  2. ^ "Gone but not forgotten" McGillivray, David. The Stage, 20 December 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2010

External linksEdit