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There is Nothing Like a Dame

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  • There is Nothing Like a Dame

    I am reviving this thread from the old forum, it is a list of actresses who have been honoured with a Damehood.

    The list below contains 'acting' Dame's, from career actresses to ladies who started in the profession then quit and changed direction (Rebecca West, Joan Bakewell etc.), ladies from other professions who have taken up acting and child actresses (Anna McLaren and Joyanne Bracewell). I have included stars of Opera and Ballet but only if they have made dramatic appearances.
    I have added dates of birth and death and details of honours with higher precedence or privilege, Baroness for Peers, OM for Order of Merit, CH for Companion of Honour, I have only noted the courtesy titles of those below who are/were married to Peers, Baronets or Knights.
    Key to performances (S) Stage, (F) Film, (TV) Television

    Dame May Whitty 1865-1948 S,F,TV
    Dame Nellie Melba GBE 1861-1931 F
    Dame Genevieve Ward 1837-1922 S
    Dame Ellen Terry GBE 1847-1928 S,F
    Dame Madge Kendal 1848-1935 S
    Dame Sybil Thorndike CH 1882-1976 S,F,TV
    Dame Marie Tempest 1864-1942 S.F.TV
    Dame Irene Vanbrugh 1872-1949 S,F.TV
    Dame Lilian Braithwaite 1873-1948 S,F
    Dame Edith Evans 1888-1976 S,F,TV
    Dame Peggy Ashcroft 1907-1991 S.F.TV
    Dame Ninette De Valois OM,CH 1898-2001 F
    Dame Margot Fonteyn 1919-1991 F
    Dame Maggie Teyte 1888-1976 S
    Dame Rebecca West 1892-1983 S,F
    Dame Judith Anderson 1897-1971 S,F.TV
    Dame Flora Robson 1902-1984 S,F,TV
    Dame Marie Rambert 1888-1982 F
    Dame Alicia Markova 1910-2004 F,TV
    Dame Ngaio Marsh 1895-1982 S,TV
    Dame Gladys Cooper 1888-1971 S,F,TV
    Dame Margaret Rutherford 1892-1972 S,F,TV
    Dame Anna Neagle 1904-1986 S,F,TV
    Dame Peggy Van Praagh 1910-1990 TV
    Dame Cicely Courtneidge 1893-1980 S.F.TV
    Dame Wendy Hiller 1912-2003 S,F,TV
    Dame Vera Lynn CH 1917 S,F,TV
    Dame Gracie Fields 1898-1979 S,F,TV
    Dame Joan Sutherland O,M 1926-2010 F
    Dame Celia Johnson 1908-1982 S,F.TV
    Dame Ruby Litchfield 1912-2001 S
    Dame Doris Fitton 1897-1986 S,F
    Dame Kiri Te Kanawa CH 1944 F,TV
    Dame Gwyneth Jones 1936 F,TV
    Dame Merle Park 1937 TV
    Dame Judi Dench CH 1934 S,F,TV
    Dame Maggie Smith CH 1934 S,F,TV
    Dame Joyanne Bracewell 1934-2007 F
    Dame Gwen ffrangcon Davies 1891-1992 S,F,TV
    Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf 1915-2006 F
    Dame Pat Evison 1924-2010 S,F,TV
    Dame Thora Hird 1911-2003 S,F,TV
    Dame Anna McLaren 1927-2007 F
    Dame Diana Rigg 1938 S,F,TV
    Dame Josephine Barstow 1940 F
    Dame Antoinette Sibley 1939 F
    Dame Kate Harcourt 1927 S,F,TV
    Dame Felicity Lott 1947 F,TV
    Dame Cleo Laine 1927 S,F,TV
    Dame Julie Andrews 1935 S,F,TV
    Dame Beryl Bainbridge 1935-2010 S,F,TV
    Dame Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011 S,F,TV
    Dame Dorothy Tutin 1930-2001 S,F,TV
    Dame Eileen Atkins 1934 S,F,TV
    Dame Helen Mirren 1945 S,F,TV
    Dame Joan Plowright (Lady Olivier DBE) 1929 S,F,TV
    Dame Joan Bakewell (Baroness Bakewell DBE) S,F,TV
    Dame Margaret Drabble 1939 S
    Dame Monica Mason 1941 F,TV
    Dame Heather Begg 1932-2009 TV
    Dame Harriet Walter 1850 S,F,TV
    Dame Janet Suzman 1939 S,F,TV
    Dame Felicity Palmer 1944 S,TV
    Dame Penelope Keith 1940 S,F,TV
    Dame Gillian Lynne 1926 S,F,TV
    Dame Angela Lansbury 1925 S,F,TV
    Dame Kristen Scott Thomas 1960 S,F,TV
    Dame Joan Collins 1933 S,F,TV
    Dame Sian Philips 1933 S,F,TV
    Dame Barbara Windsor 1937 S,F,TV
    Dame Penelope Wilton 1946 S,F,TV
    Dame Patricia Routledge 1929 S,F,TV
    Dame Sarah Connolly 1963 S,TV
    Dame Olivia De Haviland 1916 S,F,TV
    Dame Julie Walters 1950 S,F,TV
    Dame June Whitfield 1925 S,F,TV
    Dame Darcey Bussell 1969 F,TV
    Dame Emma Thompson 1959 S,F,TV
    Last edited by philly; 8th June 2018, 11:59 PM.

  • #2
    List Two is for Non Actresses who have played character parts in screenplays/teleplays.
    Edwina Mountbatten appeared with her husband Louis in a Charlie Chaplin short 'Nice and Friendly' 1922 playing the Heroine
    Singer Shirley Bassey nearly always plays 'Herself' but in unshown pilot The Secret Keepers 1962 (still exists) she played a Street Singer.
    Emma Kirkby is a concert singer, she has never performed opera which is why she isn't in the main list, she is the most prolific here with three character roles , Henry VIII 1979 as Singer, The Critic 1982 as Second Daughter and 'God rot Tunbridge Wells 1985 as Singer 'But who May Abide'
    Tracy Beaker author Jacqueline Wilson plays a Casting Director in an adaption of her own novel Double Act 2007
    Lynda Topp played Marg in the 1997 New Zealand film Highwater, Lynda and her sister Jools played The Fates in the short 2005 film The Adventures of Roman Pilgrim

    Dame Edwina Mountbatten GBE, DCVO (Countess Mountbatten of Burma) 1901-1960 F
    Dame Shirley Bassey 1937 F, TV
    Dame Emma Kirkby 1949 TV
    Dame Dame Jacqueline Wilson 1945 TV
    Dame Jools Topp 1958 F,TV
    Dame Lynda Topp 1959 F,TV
    Last edited by philly; 9th June 2018, 12:07 AM.


    • #3
      List Three is for Non Actresses who have played 'Herself' in screenplays/teleplays
      Most of these appear in TV sitcoms, i have listed the Royals first then the rest are presented in alphabetical order, Margaret Thatcher was a Lady Knight of the Garter so not actually a Dame.

      Queen Elizabeth II LG,PC 1926 F,TV
      Queen Alexandra LG, GBE 1844-1925 F
      Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother LG, LT, GBE, GCVO 1900-2002 F
      Queen Mary LG, GCSI, GBE, GCVO 1867-1953 F
      Princess Margaret GCVO (The Countess of Snowdon) 1930-2002 F

      Dame Mary Beard 1955 TV
      Dame Jessica Ennis-Hall 1986 TV
      Dame Evelyn Glennie 1965 TV
      Dame Jane Goodall 1934 TV
      Dame Margery Greenwood (Viscountess Greenwood) 1886-1968 F
      Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson (Baroness Grey-Thompson) 1969 TV
      Dame Myra Hess 1890-1965 F
      Dame Kelly Holmes 1970 TV
      Dame Suzi Leather 1956 TV
      Dame Penelope Lively 1933 TV
      Dame Margaret LLoyd George GBE 1864-1941 F
      Dame Jenni Murray 1950 TV
      Dame Sybil Thomas (Viscountess Rhondda) 1857-1941 F
      Dame Anita Roddick 1942-2007 TV
      Dame Zandra Rhodes 1940 F,TV
      Lady Margaret Thatcher LG, OM, PC 1925-2013 F
      Dame Vivienne Westwood 1941 TV
      Dame Anna Wintour 1949 F, TV

      This list i suspect is not exhaustive, if anyone knows of any other appearances on non acting Dames's in Film or TV, please mention them here, Thanks
      Last edited by philly; 9th June 2018, 12:15 AM.


      • #4
        List Four is for actresses with Honorary Damehood's. Drue Heinz was born and died in the UK, some sources quote her Damehood as being substantive, i will list here until clarified, she acted by the name Doreen Mary English.

        Drue Heinz DBE (Hon) 1915-2018 F
        Angelina Jolie DCMG (Hon) 1975 S,F,TV
        Edna O'Brien DBE (Hon) 1930 F


        • #5
          List five is for actresses that have known to have refused a Damehood when offered. I have not included Geraldine McEwan, i believe her refusing one is just speculation.

          Vanessa Redgrave CBE 1937


          • #6
            Originally posted by philly View Post
            List five is for actresses that have known to have refused a Damehood when offered. I have not included Geraldine McEwan, i believe her refusing one is just speculation.

            Vanessa Redgrave CBE 1937
            Vanessa Redgrave refusing a Damehood makes sense as she is a far left socialist but why did she accept a CBE??


            • #7
              List six is for those with honours of a higher precedence or privilege than Dames.
              Shireen Folkard was a model and supporting artiste in the sixties, i only have one credit for her in Adam Adamant Lives!, she undoubtedly did more.
              None of these were Dames, although Shirley Williams nee Caitlin was known to have refused one.

              The Peerage

              Ziki Arnot (Baroness Wharton 11th in line) 1934-2010 S, TV
              Shirley Caitlin (Baroness Williams of Crosby CH, PC) 1930 S, TV
              Lola Young (Baroness Young of Hornsey) 1951 S, TV
              Floella Benjamin (Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham) 1949 S, F, TV
              Shireen Folkard (Baroness Ritchie of Brompton) 1945-2012 TV

              Non acting Peeresses

              Alma Birk (Baroness Birk of Regent's Park) 1917-1996 F
              Betty Boothroyd (Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwich OM, PC) 1929 S, TV
              Mary Curzon (Baroness Ravensdale 2nd in line, also Baroness Ravensdale of Kedleston 1896-1966 F
              Oona King (Baroness King of Bow) 1967 TV
              Glenys Kinnock (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead) 1944 TV

              Janet Young (Baroness Young of Farnworth) 1926-2002 F

              Actresses known to have refused a peerage when offered

              Constance Cummings 1910-2005
              Last edited by philly; 16th July 2018, 09:24 PM.


              • #8
                List seven is for recipients of The Order of Merit O.M. and The Companion of Honour C.H.


                Lilian Bayliss CH 1874-1937 S

                Non Actresses in Film and TV

                Nancy Astor CH (Viscountess Astor CH) 1879-1964 F
                J.K. Rowling CH 1965 TV
                Delia Smith CH 1941 TV


                • #9
                  Finally for this survey, List Eight, The Privy Councillors


                  Rt. Hon Hazel Blears 1956 F
                  Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe 1947 S, TV

                  Non Actresses in Film and TV

                  Rt. Hon Diane Abbott 1953 S, TV
                  Rt. Hon Esther McVey 1967 S, TV


                  • #10
                    Wives of Royal Dukes, Dukes, Marquessess, Earls, Viscounts and Barons are placed higher in British precedence than Dames. Here is a selection of actresses who married peers, the list is far from complete but i have included most if not all film actresses.

                    Meghan Markle (Duchess of Sussex) 1981
                    Tracy-Louise Ward (Duchess of Beaufort) 1959
                    Anna Gael (Marchioness of Bath) 1943
                    A J Langer (Countess of Devon) 1974
                    Maureen Swanson (Countess of Dudley) 1932-2011
                    Rene Ray (Countess of Midleton) 1911-1993
                    Beverley Brooks (Viscountess Rothermere) 1929-1992
                    Diana Cooper (Viscountess Norwich) 1892-1986
                    Sarah Churchill (Baroness Audley) 1914-1982
                    Vanessa Lee (Baroness Graves) 1920-1992
                    Sally Gray (Baroness Oranmore & Browne) 1915-2006
                    Susan Fallender (Baroness Shaughnessy) ?
                    Jamie Lee Curtis (Baroness Haden Guest) 1958
                    Carole Lynne (Baroness Delfont) 1918-2008
                    Josephine Wilson (Baroness Miles) 1904-1990
                    Elspet Gray (Baroness Rix) 1929-2013
                    Sheila Sim (Baroness Attenborough) 1922-2016

                    Last edited by philly; 6th October 2018, 04:53 PM.


                    • #11
                      You can add:
                      Valerie Hobson (Baroness Profumo) 1917 - 1908



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post
                        You can add:
                        Valerie Hobson (Baroness Profumo) 1917 - 1908

                        I think you mean 1998.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by narabdela View Post

                          I think you mean 1998.
                          Yes, I must have had finger trouble. Thanks



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cully View Post

                            Vanessa Redgrave refusing a Damehood makes sense as she is a far left socialist but why did she accept a CBE??
                            She said at the time that she felt it would give her political comments more gravitas


                            • cully
                              cully commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks, Paxton. I'm not sure that answer made much sense. If a CBE gives you gravitas then surely becoming a Dame gives you even more!

                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post
                            You can add:
                            Valerie Hobson (Baroness Profumo) 1917 - 1908

                            Thanks Steve for this information, unfortunately John's Barony wasn't British (or Irish) so Valerie wasn't eligible for my survey, sorry.