Edith Madeleine O'Carroll (1906 - 1987)

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About Edith Madeleine O'Carroll

<The Times, October 6, 1987>

<MISS MADELEINE CARROLL>

Madeleine Carroll, film star of the '30s, has died at her home in Marbella, Spain, at the age of 81.

A blonde of cool and striking beauty, she will be particularly remembered as the leading lady of two Hitchcock thrillers, "The 39 Steps" and "The Secret Agent". She spent much of "The 39 Steps" handcuffed to the hero, played by Robert Donat, and the film contains a famous scene, considered daring at the time, in which he helps her to remove her wet stockings.

She was born Marie Madeleine O'Carroll in West Bromwich, on February 26, 1906, and read French at Birmingham University. She was a teacher and modelled hats before taking to the stage.

By the early 1930s she was one of Britain's most popular female stars, though she often complained about the quality of the films. Among the better ones were "Sleeping Car", with Ivor Novello, and a First World War story, "I Was A Spy".

She first went to Hollywood in 1934 for a John Ford picture, "The World Moves On". In Britain, she made "The Dictator" with Clive Brook and the Hitchcock films. Her best Hollywood film was "The Prisoner of Zenda" in which she starred with Ronald Coleman.

Others including an historical drama, "Lloyd's of London", with Tyrone Power, the "General Died at Dawn" and a Bob Hope comedy, "My Favourite Blonde."

In 1943 she interrupted her career to devote herself to war relief in England after her sister was killed in the London blitz. She made only three more films, her last, in 1949, in "The Fan", a version of the play by Oscar Wilde.

In 1964 she attempted a stage comeback, but the play failed to reach Broadway.

She was married four times, her second husband being the Hollywood actor, Sterling Hayden. She had been a virtual recluse since the death of her only daughter five years ago.

END

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Madeleine Carroll's Timeline

1906
February 26, 1906
1987
October 2, 1987
Age 81