Photo of British actress, Jessie Matthews (1)

Jessie Matthews


Actress (died aged 74) | Evergreen (1934), Climbing High (1938), First a Girl (1935)

Vivacious English singing and dancing star of light musicals in the 30s, on stage from 1917

Mini Biography

Born in London, Matthews first made her mark in the theatre in Charles B Cochrane’s revues and the musical comedy Evergreen, which led to a contract with Gaumont-British to star in The Good Companions and, later, the screen version of Evergreen. For six years from the early 30s she quit the stage for films, becoming Britain’s most popular musical star, under the careful direction of Victor Saville.

Matthews turned down Hollywood offers because she did not want to be separated from Sonnie Hale, the second of her three husbands. He starred with her in several films, but her popularity waned when he took over as director for three movies. Her youthful appeal was fading, and she was having weight problems.

Hale co-wrote and was to direct Asking for Trouble, which he intended as a lavish screen musical, but Gaumont-British were unable to raise the finance, and shooting was abandoned. Carol Reed was brought in to direct a version with the musical numbers cut, retitled Climbing High; it also failed, although she and Reed briefly became lovers.

She returned to the stage and variety performances before becoming a radio personality as Mrs Dale in the BBC soap opera The Dales (1963-69).

Latest Jessie Matthews Pictures

Select Jessie Matthews Filmography

There Goes the Bride (1932)
Annette Marquand
Friday the Thirteenth (1933)
Millie the Non-Stop Variety Girl
The Man from Toronto (1933)
Leslie Farrar
Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
Evergreen (1934)
Harriet Green
First a Girl (1935)
It’s Love Again (1936)
Elaine Bradford aka Mrs Smythe-Smythe
Head Over Heels (1937)
Jeanne Colbert
Gangway (1937)
Pat Wayne
Climbing High (1938)
Diana Castle
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)
Mrs Tinsdale
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Personal Details


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