Joyce Grenfell (Joyce Irene Phipps)
BiographyWestminster, London, England, UK
Toothy Britisher Joyce Grenfell with her stark, equine features charmed and humored audiences both here and abroad on radio, stage, revues, film and TV for nearly four decades. Lovingly remembered as a delightfully witty monologist and raconteur, she inherited her bold talents from her eccentric socialite mother, who just so happened to be American and the sister of Lady Nancy Astor. Born Joyce Irene Phipps in 1910, her father was an architect and she was educated both in London and Paris. Her first job in the entertainment business was as a radio critic columnist. Read more... wherein her spot-on impersonations, characterizations and satirical songs became a big hit. One song "I'm Going to See You Today", which she herself wrote in 1942, became her signature song. Performing for the troops during WWII, she finally was sought after for films, finding an opening playing gawky matrons in rollicking comedies. The best of the lot would include The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), Laughter in Paradise (1951), The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954), and the resulting 'Trinian' sequels. She also put out highly popular comedy albums over the years. Joyce's last performance was in 1973 before Queen Elizabeth and her guests at Windsor Castle. Her health began to fail soon after. An eye infection resulted in a loss of sight in one eye and she was forced to retire. Six years later the eye was diagnosed as cancerous and, though it was removed, she continued to decline, dying on November 30, 1979 at home. She was later commemorated on a postage stamp.