Kay Kendall:


Born On The: 21st May 1927.
Died On The: 6th September 1959.
Occupation(s): Actress.

Zodiac: Born under the Star Sign GeminiGeminiWhat Star Sign are You?

Achievement(s): Genevieve in 1953 and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role in the musical comedy film Les Girls in 1957.


Kendall was born Justine Kay Kendall-McCarthy at Stanley House, Hull Road, in Withernsea; her maternal grandmother was Marie Kendall, a musical comedy star known for her vivacious personality and diction while singing; her distinctive nose, an aristocratic swoop, was the result of plastic surgery after a car crash; as she told Dirk Bogarde, the surgeon had only two noses in his repertoire, "this one and the other one."; the one she chose, Kendall explained, made it difficult to photograph her in profile.

Her first major screen role was in the Sid Field-Petula Clark London Town (1946), notable for being one of the costliest flops in British-film history; she co-starred with Clark again in the drama film Dance Hall (1950) and was featured in a quick succession of minor films before gaining fame in the comedy film Genevieve (1953); she was most prolific in British films, but also achieved some popularity with American audiences.

In 1955, she starred opposite Harrison in the The Constant Husband (1955), and an affair soon followed; Harrison was married to actress Lilli Palmer at the time; however, when he learned from Kendall's doctor that Kendall had been diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, he and Palmer agreed to divorce so he could marry Kendall and provide for her care; Kendall was never told of her illness and ended up believing she merely had an iron deficiency; Harrison cared for Kendall until her death at age 32.

As for the divorce, Palmer said she was not upset because she had a lover, too; Palmer and Harrison planned to remarry after Kendall's death, but Palmer ended up falling in love with her companion, actor Carlos Thompson, and married him instead.

In 1958, Kendall won a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Lady Sybil Wren in Les Girls (1957), probably one of the best known films of her career, the story of three showgirls in postwar Paris, the other actresses were Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg; the following year, she starred opposite Harrison in the comedy film The Reluctant Debutante; Kendall died in 1959 soon after completing her last film, the comedy Once More, with Feeling! (1960), starring opposite Yul Brynner.

She starred in the following films: Fiddlers Three (1943), Champagne Charlie (1944), Dreaming (1945), Waltz Time (1945), Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), London Town (1946), Dance Hall (1950), Night and the City (1950), Happy Go Lovely (1951), Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951), Wings of Danger (1952), Curtain Up (1952), It Started in Paradise (1952), Mantrap (1953), Genevieve (1953), Street of Shadows (1953), Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953), The Square Ring (1953), Doctor in the House (1954), Fast and Loose (1954), The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955), Abdulla the Great (1955), Simon and Laura (1955), The Constant Husband (1955), Les Girls (1957), The Reluctant Debutante (1958) and Once More, with Feeling! (1960); she also appeared in two episodes of the short lived American television series The Polly Bergen Show, a comedy-variety show on NBC.

The now inactive Withernsea Lighthouse, situated only a stone's throw away from where Kendall once lived, has been turned into a museum and has many items associated with her life and times.

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