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Cicely Paget-Bowman

A leading actress for more than 50 years, Cicely Paget-Bowman also had a successful film and television career. Best known for her role as Lady Queensberry in the 1960 film The Trials of Oscar Wilde, starring opposite Peter Finch, she also made guest appearances in TV series such as Hadleigh and The Troubleshooters.

Born in London on December 13, 1907, she was educated at Roland House School, London and made her first appearance on the West End stage as the girl in What Red Hell (Wyndham’s 1928).

She appeared in several other small roles in the West End before playing leading parts with the repertory company at the Theatre Royal, Brighton in 1935 and the White Rose Players, Harrogate.

In 1940 she joined the British Volunteer Ambulance Corps as an ambulance driver. Later she served as an Army nurse for X Troop II SAS, the very first airborne commando regiment of the British Army. It was based at Ringway – now Manchester Airport – where she spent the entire war under strict secrecy.

After the war she returned to the theatre, receiving acclaim for her Shakespearean roles at both the Arts Theatre and the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park. She was Edith de Berg in The Eagle Has Two Heads (Haymarket 1947), Kitty Brett in Anne Veronica (Piccadilly 1949) and Leonie in Intimate Relations (Strand 1951).

She was rarely off the West End stage throughout the fifties and sixties playing leading roles in comedies, thrillers and classical drama.

Paget-Bowman had made her film debut in 1936 and after the war was in demand for character roles on screen. Among her many screen credits were The Miniver Story (1950), Isn’t Life Wonderful (1953) and The Man Who Never Was (1956).

In 1967 she played the role of Hatty in the hit TV series The Forsyte Saga.

She died on May 23, aged 97. She described her hobbies in Who’s Who in Theatre as music, cooking, swimming, tennis and walking. She never married.

Patrick Newley

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