08 January 2009

Sarah Churchill

British actress and dancer Sarah Churchill (1914-1982), was the daughter of Sir Winston Churchill. She is best remembered for her role in the Hollywood musical Royal Wedding (1951), starring opposite Fred Astaire.

Sarah Churchill
Dutch postcard. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Famous Name

Sarah Millicent Hermione Churchill was born in London, England, in 1914, the second daughter of future Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill: she was the third of the couple's five children.

Sarah was named after Churchill's ancestor, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. Sarah would have to fight the uphill struggle of living up to her famous name.

In 1937 she made her film debut in the British comedy Who's Your Lady Friend? (Carol Reed, 1937) starring Frances Day and Vic Oliver.

Sarah went on to appear in British comedies like Spring Meeting (Walter C. Mycroft, 1941) with Michael Wilding, and He Found a Star (John Paddy Carstairs, 1941), again starring Vic Oliver.

After the war she appeared in the Italian productions Sinfonia fatale/When in Rome (Victor Stoloff, 1946) with Douglas Montgomery and Marina Berti, and Daniele Cortis (Mario Soldati, 1947) starring Vittorio Gassman.

She also made in the British comedy All Over The Town (Derek N. Twist, 1949). She then left for the USA where she would stay for 20 years.

Vic Oliver
British postcard in the Picturegoer series, London, no. 1397. Photo: British Lion.


Sarah Churchill is fondly remembered for her role in the Hollywood film Royal Wedding (Stanley Donen, 1951) as Anne Ashmond, starring opposite Fred Astaire.

In the same year, she had her own television show, The Sarah Churchill Show. She did several tv films and series, and in 1953 she was nominated for Primetime Emmy as Best Actress.

Her last film was the British drama Serious Charge (Terence Young, 1959).

In the early 1960s she retired from performing. Sarah Spencer-Churchill married three times: Victor Oliver von Samek a.k.a. Vic Oliver (1936-1945) (divorced), Anthony Beauchamp (1949-1957) (widowed), and Henry Tuchet-Jesson, 23rd Baron Audley (1962-1963) (widowed).

After winning a long battle against the bottle, she reclaimed the title of her third marriage and became Lady Audley.

Baroness Audley died at 67. She is buried with her parents and siblings at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Sources: Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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