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Lillian Hall-Davis

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[[UFA]] publicity still


Lillian Hall-Davis was a leading British film actress during the silent era.

The daughter of a London taxi driver, her films included 1924's Quo Vadis, and The Ring and The Farmer's Wife both directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Unfortunately her career stalled after the transition to talking pictures and she began to suffer from depression.


In October 1933 she told one of her neighbours that she was feeling suicidal, but apparently the comment wasn't taken seriously. A few days later, Lilian Hall-Davis took her own life by turning on the gas oven and cutting her own throat in the kitchen of her home in Golders Green, London.[1]

Her 14-year-old son returned home shortly afterwards and found a note from his mother which simply said, "The kitchen door is locked. Don't try to get in, but go over the road to Mrs. Barnard."[2] Unable to force the kitchen door, neighbour Herbert Frederick French smashed the kitchen window from outside and found the actress dead.

At the inquest into her death, the coroner returned a verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind.

She was buried in Hendon Park Cemetery on 28th October and many fellow actors and actresses sent flowers and wreaths to the service, including Carl Brisson.[3]


With Hitchcock...

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  • born 23/Jun/1898 in Mile End, London
  • daughter of taxi driver Charles Davis (b. ~1870) and Lilian Maud Davis (b. ~1874) née Ketteman, who married around 1898
  • sister of Ada Davis (b. ~1899), Henry Charles Davis (b. ~1905) and Ivy Davis (b. ~1911)
  • died 25/Oct/1933 and buried Hampstead Cemetery, Hampstead, London


  • 1911 (aged 12) — iving with parents and siblings at 35a Yukon Road, Balham, London


  • married 1918 to actor Walter Pemberton in Lambeth, Surrey

Research Notes

  • From 1925 to 1927, Miss Lilian Hall-Davis was living at 91 College Road, Isleworth, London[4]
  • At the time of her death she was living in Cleveland Gardens, Golders Green, and her husband was in Bristol appearing in the stage play "Mother of Pearl". At the inquest, it was stated her brother Henry Charles Davis also lived in Cleveland Gardens. Given that Henry identified the razor used by his sister as being his, he possibly lived with the family.
  • In the documentary Silent Britain (2006), Matthew Sweet infers that she died in obscurity, but her death was widely reported in local newspapers throughout the country.


Notes & References

  1. Despite turn on all the gas taps in the kitchen, the coroner reported that the razor cut to her throat was the cause of death.
  2. The text of the note was reported by several newspapers.
  3. The service was conducted by Rev. Fernley T. Mortimer.
  4. Source: 1925 telephone directory. She is also listed as the owner of "Sunnyside" in the village of Amwell, Hertfordshire.