Ursula Jeans

Fair-haired, blue-eyed British actress with a long career on the London stage. She was born Ursula Jean McMinn in India, schooled in London and trained for acting at RADA. Ursula made her theatrical debut at the Criterion Theatre in 1922. From the 1930’s, she specialised in classical plays by Shakespeare and Shaw, performing primarily at the Old Vic and with the Sadler’s Wells Company. During World War II, she worked under the auspices of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), along with her second husband, the actor Roger Livesey. They often appeared together on stage and enjoyed a particularly successful run on the West End in a play written specifically for them by J.B. Priestley: “Ever Since Paradise”. In the late 1950’s, the Liveseys toured Australia and New Zealand in “The Reluctant Debutante”. On screen, they had previously appeared in both the stage and screen versions of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).

Ursula’s relatively few film roles generally saw her as genteel, devoted wives, like her Mrs. Molly Wallis in The Dam Busters (1955). She was rather more effective, however, as the officer’s wife Lady Windham in North West Frontier (1959), or as the middle-class widow Martha Dacre, coming to terms with the aftermath of the war in The Weaker Sex (1948).

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