Julia MacDermot was first an actress, then a casting director and finally a much respected agent.
Even though, as a child, her parents regularly took her to the theatre, they were appalled when she announced that she had chosen the stage as a career. After she had left school at the age of 17, she arranged an audition at Eileen Thorndike’s Embassy School of Acting. She was seen and accepted by Eileen’s sister, Sybil, who arranged a grant for her.
MacDermot worked mainly in rep, most notably at Watford and Wolverhampton. In 1941, she married Rory MacDermot, who was regularly seen on television in the early sixties in such series as The Avengers, Danger Man and Z Cars. But when he contracted multiple sclerosis, Julia gave up touring and became a casting director.
One of her projects was Dick and the Duchess, a CBS sitcom set in London, starring Patrick O’Neal and Hazel Court. Some years after setting up her agency, she was joined by Dodo Watts, who had appeared in a string of feature films and then become head of casting for ABC Television, later Thames Television.
In 2005, Julia was interviewed about her career by theatre archivists from the British Library and, although a little short on dates and detail, she painted a delightful picture of working in rep.
Rory MacDermot died in 1980 and Julia spent her final years in Denville Hall. She was born Julia Webb on April 8 1918 and died on February 8, aged 92.
Richard Anthony Baker
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