January 2, 2017


Nova Pilbeam (1919-) b. Wimbledon, London, England.

Nova Pilbeam

Child star Nova Pilbeam shot to instant fame and plummeted just as quickly. She made her film debut at the age of 14 in Berthold Viertal’s Little Friend (1934). Pilbeam was a veteran stage performer by the time Alfred Hitchcock cast her as the youthful kidnap victim in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). She went on to deliver a splendid performance as the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey in Robert Stevenson’s Tudor Rose (1936). Her first significant adult role was that of the protagonist beside Derrick De Marney in Hitchcock’s Young and Innocent (1937). In 1939, Nova married director Penrose ‘Pen’ Tennyson, whom she had met whilst he worked as an assistant to Hitchcock. The following year she appeared in the controversial Boulting Brothers film Pastor Hall (1940). In 1941, her husband, Pen, died in a plane crash after being called-up during WWII to film some instructional shorts. Returning to the screen after her husband’s death, she made a handful of unexceptional films before abandoning the cinema in 1948.

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