Carol Marsh (1926-2010)
Carol Marsh was born Norma Lilian Simpson, the daughter of an architect and surveyor. She was educated at a convent school in Hammersmith where she often performed in school plays. Her first desire was to sing, and she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied speech and drama, with singing as a second subject.
She went on to the Rank Charm School before joining Rank’s repertory company at Worthing, where her performances in As You Like It and White Heather won high praise. Her big screen break, for which she changed her name to Carol Marsh, came when she was chosen from more than 3,000 applicants to play Rose, the mousy, wide-eyed waitress in John Boulting noir adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1947).
Following this she dyed her hair platinum for the title role of Alice in Dallas Bower’s brash and colourful take on Lewis Carroll’s oft-filmed Alice in Wonderland (1949). Following such a notable debut her subsequent films were unremarkable romantic comedies until she was cast as Scrooge’s sister Fan, who dies giving birth to his nephew, in the yuletide classic Scrooge (1951).
Once again fruitful film roles failed to materialise and Carol found work in the new television medium. A screen adaptation again provided her with a major role when she was cast as the fragile, delicate yet ghoulishly determined Lucy, Christopher Lee‘s ill-fated victim, in the Hammer production of Dracula (1958), the first colour version of Bram Stoker’s classic.
Her cinema career came to an end soon after and she sporadically continued acting into the 1960s with parts in television dramas, among them Lord Raingo and Dixon of Dock Green. In the 1970s she appeared in the record-breaking West End play The Mousetrap.
She was busier on radio, and was a member of the BBC Drama Rep at intervals between 1966 and 1979. Later in life, Carol Marsh shunned publicity and was living a reclusive life in Bloomsbury.