- 1944-1979 (Creation)
Level of description
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Name of creator
Yvonne Mitchell was born in Brent, London, as Yvonne Frances Jospeh on the 7th July 1915 to Bertie and Madge Joseph (nee Mitchell). Mitchell changed her name formally to Yvonne Mitchell in 1946 by deed poll.
Mitchell made her first appearance on stage in a 1939 production of ‘Great Expectations’, and made her first film appearance in a 1949 production of ‘’The Queen of Spades’. Mitchell became a stalwart presence in British cinema throughout the 1950s, appearing in 8 films over the decade, including ‘Turn the Key Softly’ (1953), ‘A Divided Heart’ (1954),‘Woman in a Dressing Gown’ (1957), ‘Tiger Bay’ (1959) and ‘Sapphire’ (1959).
This was a fruitful period for Mitchell, being voted ‘Actress of the Year’ by the British Film Academy in 1954 for her role in ‘The Divided Heart’; and named ‘Best Actress of 1957’ by the Variety Club of Great Britain and awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her role in ‘Woman in a Dressing Gown’.
Mitchell was also very active on television during the 1950s, receiving critical acclaim for her appearances in dramas created and produced by Nigel Kneale and Rudolph Cartier, specifically their 1953 adaptation of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and alongside Peter Cushing in the 1954 adaptation of ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’. Mitchell was voted ‘Television Actress of the Year’ by the Daily Mail in 1953 for her performance as Cathy in ‘Wuthering Heights’.
Mitchell was also an acclaimed writer, writing and appearing in the television play ‘The Same Sky’, produced in 1957. Over the course of the 1960 and 1970s, Mitchell continued to act and expand her writing repertoire, penning a critically acclaimed biography of the French writer Colette in 1975 and appearing as ‘Lea’ in a 1973 BBC production of Colette’s ‘Cheri’. Mitchell’s final screen role came in the BBC science-fiction series ‘1990’ (1978).
Mitchell married film and stage critic Derek Monsey in 1952, moving to live in the south of France. They had one daughter, Cordelia Monsey (see ref CMON), who became a theatre director. Yvonne Mitchell died in London on the 24th March 1979, just one month after her husband’s death.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Press cuttings albums (1944-1958); scrapbooks (1949-1967) and photograph albums (1950s-1970s).
Copies of scripts including ‘The Same Sky’, ‘1984’, ‘The Orchestra’, ‘Electra’, ‘The Bacchae’, Measure of Cruelty’, ‘The Wall’, ‘Speak of the Devil’.
Drafts of ‘But Answer Came There None’, ‘Martha on Sunday’ ‘The Thread’ (theatre version); radio scripts adapted from Colette novels and script for one-woman Colette show (1970s); drafts of YM authored pieces including ‘You Be Dummy’, ‘The Star’, ‘Wedding Day’, ‘Mata Hari’, ‘Venus de Milo’.
Cartoon by Ronald Searle of the Shrew, Stratford 1953, Cartoon by Dominic Poelsma of ‘Bloomsbury’ (1970s); Variety Club award (1957); British Film Academy Award (1954); 2 x reels of tape of radio adaptation of Colette’s ‘Claudine at School’ (1960s); manuscript of unpublished biography of the Redgrave family (1979); Watford Grammar School teaching notes (1970s); files of theatrical notices, articles and book reviews (1960s-1970s).
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Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including the Data Protection Act 1998.
24 hours’ notice is required to access photographic material.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material