Susan Hampshire, Lady
(born on 12 May 1937 in London) is an
English actress best known for her
many television and film roles.
Her appeal has always been that of an "English rose".
Susan Hampshire was born in 1937, the youngest of four children.
She had two sisters and one brother. Her mother was a teacher and
her father was a director of ICI
. Her parents separated
before she was born. From early in her life, Susan struggled with
reading. Only as an adult with her own child would she be diagnosed
. Having the undiagnosed
learning disorder caused her great problems, especially as her
parents were both educated people. But her mother was determined to
give her the best start she could. Therefore she was educated at
the school her mother founded and ran.
The dyslexia continued to hamper her in her search for a career.
Young Susan Hampshire originally wanted to be a nurse but found it
impossible, and she found the theatre in her teens.
Susan Hampshire's first film appearance was in the movie
The Woman in the
. She decided to become an actress as a child and
worked in a theatre before moving on to film and television
Hampshire first became famous after playing the lead in a 1962
adaptation of What Katy Did
. Soon afterwards, she was
taken up by Walt Disney
, and starred in
The Three Lives of
) and The
Fighting Prince of Donegal
. She would later appear
opposite McGoohan in two episodes of Danger Man
. Later, she portrayed
conservationist Joy Adamson
in the 1972
film Living Free
, sequel to the
1966 classic Born Free
. She has
also ventured into musicals, starring opposite Cliff Richard
, in Wonderful Life
, in Follow That Girl
and more recently
(1991) in The King and I
Susan Hampshire is best known for her work on television. She
appeared in several popular television serials, notably in the
's blockbuster, The Forsyte Saga
in which she played Fleur. The popularity of this series was a
factor in the creation of the PBS
the first series aired was The
in which she played Sarah Churchill).
1973 saw Hampshire on US television with Kirk Douglas
in a musical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
. Her most
recent TV role was as Molly Macdonald, in the highly popular
Monarch of the Glen
Miss Hampshire received Emmy Awards
the Academy of
Television Arts & Sciences
for her roles in The Forsyte Saga
(1970), The First Churchills
(1973). Other miniseries in which she appeared are The Pallisers
, The Barchester Chronicles
Susan Hampshire has been active on the stage over the years, taking
the lead roles in many leading plays, such as Relative Values
, Lady in the Van
, The Importance of Being
and For no good Reason
, a play written by
in which she
appears with Susannah York
direction of French director Simone Benmussa. In 2007 she was in a
ground breaking play The
, based on a meeting between Robert Maxwell
and Mother Teresa
. She even ventured into the British
pantomime tradition, playing the Fairy Godmother at the New Wimbledon
Theatre in 2005–2006 and at the New Victoria Theatre in
Woking in 2006–2007.
In 2008 she joined the relatively small band of actors who have
played two generations in the same play on different occasions.
appearance at Chichester Festival Theatre in Somerset
Maugham's "The Circle" as Lady Catherine Champion-Cheney in
Summer 2008 followed on from her appearance in the same play (and
venue) as Elizabeth Champion-Cheney (Lady Catherine's
daughter-in-law) somewhat earlier in her career.
Until the publication of her autobiography, Susan's Story
few people were aware of her struggle with dyslexia
. She was undiagnosed until she was an
adult and since has become a prominent campaigner in the UK on
dyslexia issues. Her book on Dyslexia, "Every Letter Counts", was
highly acclaimed. In 1995, she was appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order
of the British Empire
) in connection with that work.
Susan Hampshire has also published a book called The Maternal
, about women and fertility issues. She herself
suffered a number of miscarriages over the years.
She has written children's books, including "Lucy Jane at the
Ballet", "Lucy Jane and the Russian Ballet", "Lucy Jane and the
Dancing Competition", "Lucy Jane on Television", "Bear's
Christmas", "Rosie's First Ballet Lesson", and "Rosie's Ballet
Slippers", and various books and videos about her lifelong hobby
gardening, including "Easy Gardening", "My Secret Garden", and
"Trouble Free Gardening".
was married to the French film
Granier-Deferre from 1967 to 1974.
From this first
marriage she has a son, Christopher. Her prematurely born daughter,
Victoria, died shortly after birth. She has been the wife of
theater impresario Sir Eddie
since 1981. She became a grandmother in September
2006 with the birth of Christopher's son, Raphael. Hampshire is a
patron of the Optimum
- HAMPSHIRE, Susan International Who's Who. Accessed
- The Lady Magazine, 29 July 2008