Jan Holden

Jan Holden was a stage actress with a reputation for light comedy, who also appeared in several popular television series during the 1950s and 1960s.

She was elegant and pretty, with pale blue eyes. She grew up in Cawnpore in India and was educated at a school in the hills near Simla.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, she and her mother returned to England, where she boarded at Lowther College in North Wales. She holidayed with her schoolfriends.

When she was 18, she was offered places at RADA, the Old Vic School and at Bristol Old Vic; but her father declined his permission. He disapproved of his daughter’s theatrical ambitions.

He eventually relented and allowed her to take a directors’ course at the Old Vic. She was one of two pupils selected to become assistant stage managers at the Old Vic upon its reopening in 1951.

Jan Holden appeared in repertory, where she met her first husband, actor Edwin Richfield. They were married in 1952, when they were appearing together in Blackpool in a stage version of “The Blue Lamp”.

She entered television during the fifties, in series such as Patrol Car (1954), Rheingold Theatre (1953), The Vise (1954), Harpers West One (1961) and The Avengers (1961). She later appeared in Agony (1979) and Oh Happy Band (1980).

She made several film appearances in pictures, such as: The Best House in London (1969), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959) and Work Is a 4-Letter Word (1968).

She endured heartbreak as her twin brother, Geoffrey, drowned in the early 1960s and her marriage broke down in 1973, leaving her with three teenage children. One of her twin daughters died from a brain tumour in 1999. She endured poor health, herself, during her final two decades, but remained cheerful.

She remarried in 1988 to Louis Manson, solicitor and business executive who survived her, with a son and a daughter from her first marriage and two stepsons and two stepdaughters.

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