Nanette Newman (1934-) b. , Northampton, Northamptonshire, England.
Nanette Newman was born in Northampton on 29 May 1934, and was educated at Sternhold College in Streatham Hill, London, moving to the Italia Conti Academy stage school in Stockwell and finally the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Coming very much from variety training, in the early 50s, as a teenager, she moved into films, her first appearance coming in the 1953 Anthony Pelissier directed Personal Affair, with Gene Tierney and Leo Genn. She continued to appear on stage in period pieces throughout the 50s and her marriage to actor, writer and director Bryan Forbes on 27th August 1955 (at which Roger Moore was the Best Man), certainly helped her transition into mainstream films, where, in the early 60s she made several notable performances in The League of Gentlemen (1960), Tony Hancock’s The Rebel (1961), The L-Shaped Room (1962), The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963) and most notably as the distraught mother of the baby kidnapped by Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley in Séance on A Wet Afternoon (1964). Her portrayal of charming period heroines in ably demonstrated by her performance opposite Michael Caine in The Wrong Box (1966), a film again directed by her husband and she showed in The Raging Moon (1970) that she was also quite at home playing less sentimental roles and many believe that her fragile and compassionate interpretation of Jill Matthews was her finest performance.
She is also widely known in the UK for her long running series of TV advertisements for Fairy Liquid and also appeared in the highly acclaimed TV drama Jessie, part of the Play for Today series, in 1980. Away from acting, Nanette has written over thirty children’s books and six cookery books, winning the Cookbook of the Year Award with The Summer Cookbook, and also hosted a children’s TV cooking show in the mid 70s, called Fun Food Factory.
Nanette has described her long-lasting marriage to Bryan Forbes as a product of ‘at least 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust.’ Together they have two daughters, TV presenter Emma and Sarah, who is married to actor John Standing.
Compiled by Clive Saunders.