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Valerie French (born Valerie Harrison 11 March 1928 (or 1932) – 3 November 1990) was an English film and stage actress whose career began in 1954, with much occurring in 1956.

Valerie French
Valerie French in Jubal trailer.jpg
French in the 1956 film Jubal
Valerie Harrison

(1928-03-11)11 March 1928, or 1932
London, UK
Died3 November 1990(1990-11-03) (aged 62)
Years active1954–1982
Spouse(s)Michael Pertwee (1952–1959)
Thayer David (1970–1975)


Born in London, French spent her early childhood in Spain, but returned to Britain to become a student at Malvern Girls' College. After graduating, she joined the BBC drama department, working in television production before deciding to become an actress, joining the Theatre Royal Repertory Company.[citation needed] She considered her "real start in the theatre" to have been at the Windsor Repertory Theatre Royal in Windsor, England.[1]

She moved into film acting in her early 20s. Her first film appearance was in a minor role in the 1954 Italian film Maddalena. After a role in the British film The Constant Husband (1955), she moved to Hollywood.[2]

Her best-remembered roles during this period were in western films such as Jubal in 1956 opposite Glenn Ford and Decision at Sundown opposite Randolph Scott in 1957. She also appeared in the science fiction film The 27th Day (1957).

Her television roles included episode No. 61 of Have Gun – Will Travel, and The Prisoner, episode: "Living in Harmony" and episode No. 31 (Sweetwater, Texas) of Trackdown (1957). She later appeared in daytime television shows, including two roles on The Edge of Night, The Nurses and (briefly) All My Children.[citation needed]


French returned to the theatre in the 1960s. She performed in a Broadway production of John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence in 1965 and was also in Help Stamp Out Marriage! in 1966. She caused a minor sensation by appearing on stage naked in The Mother Lover, at the Booth Theatre in 1969, though only her back was visible to the audience.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

French was married twice. In 1952, at the age of 24, she married her first husband, the playwright Michael Pertwee, who was 36 at the time. They divorced seven years later, in 1959, when she was 31 and he was 42.[2]

In 1970, at the age of 42, French married her second husband, the actor Thayer David. They divorced five years later, in 1975, when she was 47. They later got back together and were planning to remarry at the time of his death in 1978 at the age of 51, when she was 50.[2]

French died of leukemia in New York City in 1990, aged 62. Some sources say she was born in 1932[3] and was 59 when she died.[2]



  1. ^ Bower, Helen (April 10, 1956). "Career Began In Windsor (Eng.)". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. p. 21. Retrieved July 15, 2018 – via  
  2. ^ a b c d e Collins, Glenn (1990-11-06). "Valerie French, 59, [sic] Actress Who Played English Characters", The New York Times, November 6, 1990.
  3. ^ NYPL archives

External linksEdit