Joan Dowling

Joan Dowling (6 January 1928 – 31 March 1954) was a British character actress.

Joan Dowling
Joan dowling.jpg
Born(1928-01-06)6 January 1928
Chertsey, Surrey, England
Died31 March 1954(1954-03-31) (aged 26)
London, England
Cause of deathAsphyxia due to gas poisoning
Resting placeGolders Green Crematorium
(m. 1951⁠–⁠1954)

Life and careerEdit

Dowling was the illegitimate daughter of Vera Dowling. A piece in The Laindon and District Times, on the 23rd. of June, '15, written by her cousin John Strickland, says she was born in the house called 'Carlyle', which is one of the turreted bungalows in Laindon High Road North, and brought up by her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dowling, in Uxbridge. She had a passion for acting, although she was never formally trained, and took roles in small plays, pantomimes and other productions whenever she could. At the age of 14 she approached a London acting agency and was given her first 'proper' part in a small production (title unknown). Her major acting debut came when producer Anthony Hawtrey cast her in the role of Norma Bates in the Joan Temple play No Room at the Inn. The play's first performance was at the Embassy Theatre in July 1945.[1] Subsequently, the play transferred under producer Robert Atkins to the Winter Garden Theatre, Drury Lane. She also played the same role in the 1948 film version, with the screenplay co-written by the famous Welsh author Dylan Thomas and Ivan Foxwell. She signed her first film contract at the age of 17 for Associated British Pictures.

She was perhaps best known for her role as the tomboy Clarry in the 1947 Ealing Studios production Hue and Cry, a story set among the rubble and buildings of post-war London about a group of school children who discover that crooks have been sending coded messages about forthcoming jobs to their gang using the pages of a children's comic.[2] In 1951 she married Harry Fowler, another actor from the cast of Hue and Cry.[3]


On 31 March 1954, Dowling took her own life in the kitchenette of her home in Farmer Street, Kensington, by gas poisoning.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1947 Hue and Cry Clarry
1948 No Room at the Inn Norma Bates
Bond Street Norma
1949 A Man's Affair Joan
For Them That Trespass Gracie
Train of Events Ella Directed by Basil Dearden
Landfall Miriam, the Barmaid
1950 Murder Without Crime Grena
1951 Pool of London Pamela
The Magic Box Maggie Cameo
1952 24 Hours of a Woman's Life Mrs. Barry
Women of Twilight Rosie Gordon

Selected stage rolesEdit


  • Meet the Huggetts (1953, series 1. Replaced after her death by Vera Day)


  1. ^ Anthony Hawtrey (editor) (1946). Embassy Successes II. London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Daily Mirror 1 April 1954 pp 8-9, "Tragedy of Farmer Street's Happy Child"
  3. ^ Hayward, Anthony (9 January 2012). "Harry Fowler: Prolific screen actor known for his 'cheerful cockney' characters". The Independent. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  4. ^ Daily Mirror 6 April 1954 page 6, "No one in the world for me but Joan, says Harry Fowler"
  5. ^ The Observer 15 July 1945 p 2
  6. ^ Daily Mirror 5 May 1947
  7. ^ Daily Mirror 5 January 1950 p 5
  8. ^ Daily Mirror7 January 1953 p 4

External linksEdit