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The Times (16/Sep/1975) - Obituary: Ethel Griffies

(c) The Times (16/Sep/1975)


Miss Ethel Griffies, the veteran actress who appeared in more than 100 films and scores of stage plays in a long career in Britain and the United States, has died in London.

Sir John Gielgud writes:

Ethel Griffies was a versatile and stylish actress and a remarkable woman off the stage as well. I first saw her as a county lady with Eileen Vanburgh in Milne's "Mr Pim Passes By", and later in other plays in London.

As a governess, a ghoul, or a grande dame she always seemed to me equally good. In the 40s she enjoyed a long success in Hollywood, she acted there with Greta Garbo, and many other of the great stars of that period. Then she returned to the stage.

Her last London appearance (in 1960) was as Albert Finney's grandmother in "Billy Liar". Her last in New York in 1966, when she acted with undiminished skill and verve as a tipsy old woman in my productions of Chekhov's "Ivanov". Though then almost 90 years of age, her timing was exemplary, her memory perfect, and she demanded no privileges. I greatly admired her and feel very proud to have been once associated with her in the theatre which she served so faithfully through a long and distinguished career.