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Jean Kent (29 June 1921 − 30 November 2013) was an English film and television actress.

Jean Kent
Jean Kent - publicity.JPG
Kent in 1947
Born Joan Mildred Summerfield
(1921-06-29)29 June 1921
Brixton, London, England
Died 30 November 2013(2013-11-30) (aged 92)
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Other names Jean Carr
Occupation Actress
Years active 1935–1991
Spouse(s) Josef Ramart (1946–1989; his death)

Contents

BiographyEdit

Born Joan Mildred Summerfield in Brixton, London,[1] the only child of variety performers Norman Field (né Summerfield) and Nina Norre,[2] she started her theatrical career in 1931 as a dancer.[3]

She used the stage name Jean Carr when she appeared as a chorus girl in the Windmill Theatre in London. She was fired from the theatre.[4]

Gainsborough PicturesEdit

She signed to Gainsborough Pictures during the Second World War. Kent had small roles in It's That Man Again (1943), Miss London Ltd. (1943) and Warn That Man (1944).

Kent had a good role in Two Thousand Women (1944), playing a stripper who is interned by the Germans. She was a Pacific Islander in Bees in Paradise (1944) with Arthur Askey and was the ingenue in a Tommy Trinder musical Champagne Charlie (1944).

The turning point in her career came when she was given a dramatic part in the Gainsborough melodrama film Fanny by Gaslight (1944). She played a part turned down by Margaret Lockwood – the childhood friend of Phyllis Calvert who becomes the mistress of James Mason. The movie, also starring Stewart Granger, was popular in England and established Kent as Gainsborough's back up to Margaret Lockwood.[5][6]

Kent played another sexually aggressive girl in Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) with Calvert and Granger. It was a big hit. Rank borrowed her to support Rex Harrison in The Rake's Progress (1945) then back at Gainsborough she was in Waterloo Road (1945) with John Mills and Granger.

StardomEdit

Kent shared top billing with Granger in Caravan (1946), playing a gypsy girl in another melodrama. It was a big hit and Kent was given a new contract.[7] Granger and Kent were reunited in The Magic Bow (1946), with Kent again taking a part originally meant for Margaret Lockwood.

After a support role in Carnival (1946) with Michael Wilding, Kent was the female lead in The Man Within (1947), a costume adventure from a novel by Graham Greene. Kent had a good part in The Loves of Joanna Godden (1947) and was given a star role in Good-Time Girl (1948), a melodrama about a girl who goes off the rails.

Kent was top billed as one of several names in Bond Street (1948) and was the female lead in a thriller 'Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948), playing a spy.

Kent had her best chance yet playing the lead in a musical Trottie True (1949) which became her favorite film. She made a comedy in Italy, Her Favourite Husband (1950) and appeared opposite Dirk Bogarde in The Woman in Question (1950).[4]

She starred in the melodrama The Reluctant Widow (1951) then had a good role as the wife in The Browning Version (1951).

In 1950 she was voted the 9th biggest British star in Britain.[8] The following year she was 8th.[9]

Kent was in a thriller The Lost Hours (1952) with American actor Mark Stevens and Before I Wake (1954). In 1953 she was in a play Uncertain Joy.[10]

In 1954 she fell ill while touring in a stage production of The Deep Blue Sea in South Africa.[11]

Later careerEdit

Kent's film appearances grew less frequent from the mid 1950s onward. She had support roles in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and Bonjour Tristesse (1958) and a good part in the horror film The Haunted Strangler (1959). She was in the comedy Please Turn Over (1959) and the thriller Beyond This Place (1959). She was one of several female stars in Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (1960) with George Sanders.[2]

She played Queen Elizabeth I in the historical TV adventure series Sir Francis Drake filmed in 1961–62.

Personal lifeEdit

Kent was married to Austrian actor Josef Ramart from 1946 until his death in 1989, aged 70. They met on the set of Caravan.[2][12] Actor Stewart Granger was the best man at their wedding.[13] They appeared together in the films Caravan and Trottie True. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Strand Theatre. Kent made her last public appearance in June 2011, when she was honoured by the British Film Institute on her 90th birthday.

DeathEdit

Kent died in the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St. Edmunds on 30 November 2013, following a fall at her home in[2] Westhorpe.[14] The coroner recorded a narrative verdict that Kent died from accidental injuries and that cardiac disease may have contributed to a fall.[15]

FilmographyEdit

Box office rankingEdit

For a number of years, British film exhibitors voted her among the top ten British stars at the box office via an annual poll in the Motion Picture Herald.

  • 1950 – 9th[8]
  • 1951 – 8th[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ John Walker Halliwell's Who's Who of the Movies, London: HarperCollins, 1999, p. 229; ISBN 0-00-255905-6
  2. ^ a b c d "Film star Jean Kent dies at 92". Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jean Kent". North-eastern Advertiser. XXXVIII (5). Tasmania, Australia. 21 January 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ a b "Jean Kent plays five women in newest film". The Australian Women's Weekly. 18 (5). 8 July 1950. p. 48. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "With a different hair style for every film, Jean Kent remains the most provocative woman on the screen. MOST POPULAR BRITISH STAR A WICKED LADY". The Argus (32,[?]). Melbourne. 16 November 1951. p. 5 (The Argus Magazine). Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "BRITAIN". The Sun (2191). Sydney. 8 April 1945. p. 3 (Supplement to The SUNDAY SUN). Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Jean Kent Star of "Caravan"". Glen Innes Examiner. New South Wales, Australia. 25 February 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ a b "Success Of British Films." Times London, England 29 December 1950: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Vivien Leigh Actress of the Year". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld. 29 December 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 24 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "Sara Quads' day with a movie star". The Australian Women's Weekly. 21 (16). 16 September 1953. p. 29. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ Jean kent 'seriously ill'. (1954, May 16). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112880919?accountid=13902
  12. ^ "FILM CABLE FROM LONDON". The Sunday Times (Western Australia). Perth. 17 March 1946. p. 13 Supplement: The Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 2 February 2014 – via National Library of Australia. 
  13. ^ Ramart on the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ "Jean Kent: Suffolk Gainsborough melodramas actress dies". BBC News Online. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jean Kent: Film star may have suffered heart attack". Retrieved 8 May 2014. 

External linksEdit