Joan Greenwood (1921-1987) b. London, England.
British actress whose particular contribution to post-war cinema was to introduce a genteel eroticism to the English upper classes, playing off an unmistakable husky voice against ‘English rose’ respectability. In Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) there is an unambiguous sexuality in her performance, suggesting a delight in adultery unexpected in an Ealing comedy. Her performance as Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) confirmed her strength in high theatrical comedy. Ealing was probably not the place to develop her particular erotic potential, though she played winsome leads for Alexander Mackendrick in Whisky Galore! (1949) and The Man in the White Suit (1951), and the British cinema in general offered her very little after another sexy cameo in Tom Jones (1963). She continued to work in theatre, and returned to television in 1981 to play a wonderfully dotty, husky and still sexy aunt in Trevor Griffiths’ Country.