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Joan Greenwood (March 4, 1921 – February 27, 1987) was a British actress. With her characteristic husky voice and precise elocution, she was perhaps best known for her role as Gwendolen in the film The Importance of Being Earnest (1952).
Born in Chelsea, London, she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Greenwood had an important and long career as a theater actress, performing with the company of Donald Wolfit in the years after the Second World War.
A prominent role of Greenwood was that of Olga, played with Spike Milligan, in the production directed by Frank Dunlop of the play Oblomov, based on the novel by the Russian writer Ivan Goncharov. The premiere took place at the Lyric Theater in London on October 6, 1964.
Greenwood also made outstanding film performances, including Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) and Sibella in the black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949). He also worked on two other comedies from Ealing Studios, Whiskey Galore! and The Man in the White Suit.
In addition, he made first roles in Stage Struck (1958), in the film based on the work of Jules Verne The Mysterious Island (1961), and Tom Jones (1963). His last film was Little Dorrit, shot in the year of his death. Greenwood is also remembered for playing Lady Carlton in the British sitcom Girls On Top.
In 1960 Greenwood played the title role in a Hedda Gabler production performed at the Oxford Playhouse Theater, working with her, in the role of Judge Brack, was the actor André Morell. They both fell in love and flew secretly to Jamaica, where they got married. The couple remained united until the moment of Morell’s death, which occurred in 1978. They had a son, Jason, a film actor in films such as His Majesty Mrs. Brown (1997) and Wilde (1997).
Joan Greenwood died of an acute myocardial infarction in London in 1987, a few days before turning 66.
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