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Joyce Grenfell - JPop.com
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Joyce Grenfell

Joyce Grenfell

Joyce Grenfell


Joyce Irene Grenfell, OBE (née Phipps; 10 February 1910 – 30 November 1979) was an English film and television actress, comedienne and singer-songwriter. Born in London, she was the daughter of architect Paul Phipps (the grandson of Charles Paul Phipps and a second cousin of Ruth Draper) and an eccentric American mother, Nora Langhorne, the daughter of Chiswell Langhorne, an American railroad millionaire. Nancy Astor, neé Nancy Witcher Langhorne, was her mother's sister. Read more on Last.fm
Joyce Irene Grenfell, OBE (née Phipps; 10 February 1910 – 30 November 1979) was an English film and television actress, comedienne and singer-songwriter. Born in London, she was the daughter of architect Paul Phipps (the grandson of Charles Paul Phipps and a second cousin of Ruth Draper) and an eccentric American mother, Nora Langhorne, the daughter of Chiswell Langhorne, an American railroad millionaire. Nancy Astor, neé Nancy Witcher Langhorne, was her mother's sister. As such, Joyce Phipps grew up around money and privilege. She attended the Francis Holland School in Central London. Wanting to pursue a career in the theatre, she made her stage debut in 1939 in the "Little Revue." In 1942 she wrote what became her signature song, "I'm Going to See You Today." During World War II, Grenfell toured India, North Africa, and the Middle East with a company performing for British troops.

In 1989 her wartime journals were published under the title The Time of My Life: Entertaining the Troops. Her singing and comedic talents on stage led to offers to appear in motion picture comedies. Although she performed in a number of films, she continued with her recording career, producing a number of humorous albums as well as books. As a writer at the BBC during and just after the war, she collaborated with Stephen Potter in writing the "How" series of 30 satirical programmes from How to Talk to Children to How to Listen. During the 1950s she made her name as a sidekick to such comedy greats as Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford in films such as The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) and the St Trinian's series.

She was also a member of the influential Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting from 1960 to 1962. Her fame reached as far as the U.S.A. and she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show alongside Elvis Presley. Grenfell is now best remembered for her one-woman shows and monologues, in which she invented roles including a harassed nursery teacher ("George - don't do that"). She gained additional popularity as a result of her frequent appearances on the BBC's classical music quiz show, Face the Music. Much of the music for Grenfell's revues and shows was the result of a collaboration with composer and pianist Richard Addinsell. Grenfell was a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, a religious organisation based on Christianity and spiritual healing. Diagnosed with cancer, she retired from performing and died in 1979.

In 1998, the Royal Mail memorialised Grenfell with her image on a postage stamp as part of a series of stamps celebrating Heroes of Comedy. In 2002, her friend and author Janie Hampton published the book Joyce Grenfell. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, she was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. Maureen Lipman has often toured with the one-woman show Re: Joyce!, which she co-wrote with James Roose-Evans. In it she recreates some of Grenfell's best-known sketches. This performance is available on DVD.

Roose-Evans also edited Darling Ma, a 1997 collection of Grenfell's letters to her mother. Grenfell was created an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 1946. It was confirmed after her death that she would have been made a Dame Commander (DBE) in the 1980 New Year's Honours List. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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