Scottish actress Maureen Swanson (1932) was a pretty, elegant, brunette leading lady in British films of the 1950’s. After her marriage in 1961, she retired and in 1969 she became Countess of Dudley.
Mexican Collectors card, no. 353. Photo: Rank.
A Much-publicized Kiss
Maureen Swanson was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1932. Her father James Swanson was a businessman. When her parents immigrated to South Africa, she decided to stay behind in Great Britain. She was educated at schools and convents in Scotland, before she went to Paris to study ballet. In 1951 she had the lead in the Drury Lane production of Carousel. She made her film debut in John Huston’s drama Moulin Rouge (1952) as one of the women around Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (played by José Ferrer). In 1952 Errol Flynn gave her a much-publicized kiss at the London airport and there was talk of Flynn giving her a contract, but she said no. She appeared in memorable films like The Valley of Song (1953, Gilbert Gunn), the adventure film Knights of the Round Table (1953, Richard Thorpe) starring Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner, and the British Film Noir Third Party Risk (1954, Daniel Birt) opposite Lloyd Bridges. In 1955 she made her TV debut in Great Britain, although she had already acted and danced in a series of six films made for the American television.
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2092. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Film. Publicity still for The Spanish Gardener (1956, Philip Leacock).
British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. D 457. Photo: Romulus.
Dutch postcard, sent by mail in 1960. Photo: Rank. Publicity picture for Robbery Under Arms (1957, Jack Lee).
Earl of Dudley
In 1956 Maureen Swanson appeared in four films. She starred opposite Norman Wisdom in the comedy Up in the World (1956, John Paddy Carstairs). She played a supporting part in the award winning war drama A Town Like Alice (1956, Jack Lee) with Peter Finch and Virginia McKenna. She had another secondary role in Jacqueline (1956, Roy Ward Baker). And in The Spanish Gardener (1956, Philip Leacock) she appeared opposite Dirk Bogarde. That year she was introduced to the Queen at the Royal Film Performance of The Battle at the River Plate at the Empire Theatre, London. Along with her were Marilyn Monroe, Victor Mature, Anthony Quayle, and others. The following year she received good reviews for her role in the in Australia situated adventure film Robbery Under Arms (1957, Jack Lee) starring Peter Finch, but it was to be her last feature film. In 1961 Maureen Swanson married William Ward, styled Viscount Ednam, who in 1969 became the 4th Earl of Dudley. They have seven children, including documentary filmmaker Leander Ward (1971). Actress Rachel Ward is their niece.
Norman Wisdom and Maureen Swanson as Jeannie in Up In The World (1956). Source: 0swproductions0 (YouTube).
Norman Wisdom and Maureen Swanson in Up In The World (1956). Source: 0swproductions0 (YouTube).
Sources: Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia and IMDb.