British actress Patricia Roc strikes a sexy pose in a publicity shot for Jassy (1947).

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Patricia Roc Biography

Pretty, vivacious and charming, Patricia Roc appeared in a number of the hugely popular wartime Gainsborough costume dramas, including (1945) and (1945).

Early Years

The adopted daughter of a Dutch-Belgian father (Andre Riese, a wealthy stockbroker) and a half-French mother, Patricia Roc was educated at private schools in London and Paris (such as the Francis Holland School) as well as RADA. She did not learn that she was adopted until 1949.

She began as a stage actress, debuting in the 1938 London production of Nuts in May, in which she was talent-spotted by Alexander Korda. She made her first film appearance that same year, in The Rebel Son, and went on to make 40 films, remaining in the UK’s top-ten box-office stars list for 10 consecutive years.

J Arthur Rank

She was employed by the studio of J Arthur Rank, who called her ‘the archetypal British beauty’ (indeed, her décolletage, along with ’s, in the period-costume of films such as The Wicked Lady led US censors to call for retakes to de-emphasise it) and ‘the Goddess of Odeons’, whilst Noel Coward said she was ‘a phenomenon’ and ‘an unspoiled movie star who can act’. She was a success playing the beautiful, good counterpart to the beautiful but evil, seductive and/or ambiguous rôles played by her contemporary Margaret Lockwood, often even in the same film (such as in The Wicked Lady). As Roc herself put it:

I was the bouncy, sexy girl next door that mothers would like their sons to marry, and the sons wouldn’t have minded either.

Nevertheless, by her own choice and by that of Rank, she remained confined to these second-lead rôles and did not broaden her scope.


Her brief move to Hollywood to film was a lend lease agreement between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios of British in return for American film actors. During filming, Roc was romantically linked with Ronald Reagan, while her US co-star Susan Hayward stated ‘that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame.’

Marriage and Children

Roc married for the first time at 24 in 1939, to the 44-year-old Canadian osteopath Dr. Murray Laing – they divorced only a few years later. She married again in 1949 to Andre Thomas and moved to Paris, starting to work more and more in French and Italian cinema (along with a French-Canadian feature in Quebec, Fugitive from Montreal). Thomas was unable to have children and so, when Patricia gave birth to Michael as a result of an affair with in 1952 (while they were co-starring in Something Money Can't Buy), Thomas agreed to raise him as his own. Thomas died in 1954.

The Saint

Patricia Roc returned to England later in the decade following the death of her husband, and produced only three more films and made a few television appearances (including the first episode of The Saint). She married a third and final time, to Walter Reif, in 1962, and a year later retired. During her retirement, she moved to Locarno, Switzerland, where she later died of kidney failure.

Patricia Roc Biographies

Patricia Roc Filmography

The Rebel Son (1938)
The Gaunt Stranger (1938)
Mary Lenley
The Mind of Mr. Reeder (1939)
The Missing People (1940)
Doris Bevan
Pack Up Your Troubles (1940)
Sally Brown
Dr O’Dowd (1940)
It Happened to One Man (1940)
Betty Quair
A Window in London (1940)
Pat Thompson
Three Silent Men (1940)
Pat Quentin
The Farmer’s Wife (1941)
Sibley (His Daughters)
My Wife’s Family (1941)
Suspected Person (1942)
Joan Raynor
Let the People Sing (1942)
Hope Ollerton
We’ll Meet Again (1943)
Millions Like Us (1943)
Celia Crowson
Two Thousand Women (1944)
Rosemary Brown
Love Story (1944)
Judy Martin
Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944)
Angela Labardi
Johnny Frenchman (1945)
Sue Pomeroy
The Wicked Lady (1945)
Canyon Passage (1946)
Caroline Marsh
So Well Remembered (1947)
Julie Morgan
When the Bough Breaks (1947)
Lily Bates
The Brothers (1947)
Jassy (1947)
Holiday Camp (1947)
One Night with You (1948)
Mary Santell
The Perfect Woman (1949)
Penelope Belman
Return to Life (1949)
Lieutenant Evelyne (segment 2 : Le retour d’Antoine)
The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949)
Helen Kirby
Fugitive from Montreal (1950)
Helen Bering
Black Jack (1950)
Ingrid Dekker
Circle of Danger (1951)
Elspeth Graham
Something Money Can’t Buy (1952)
Anne Wilding
My Life is Yours (1953)
Cartouche (1954)
Donna Violante
Countess Diana
The House in the Woods (1957)
Carol Carter
The Hypnotist (1957)
Mary Foster
Bluebeard’s Ten Honeymoons (1960)
Mme. Dueaux
+ Show all productions (30 more)

Personal Details

Dr Murray Laing
Husband  m. 1939–1945 (divorced)
André Thomas
Husband  m. 1949–1954 (his death)
Walter Reif
Husband  m. 1962–1986 (his death)
British actor Michael Wilding wears a jacket and tie
Significant Romance
British actor Michael Wilding wears a jacket and tie
Ralph Michael
Significant Romance
British actor Michael Wilding wears a jacket and tie
Ronald Reagan
Significant Romance
British actor Michael Wilding wears a jacket and tie
David MacDonald
Significant Romance
Handsome British film star Anthony Steel, as he appears in the role of Mark Loring, in the new Raymond Stross production, A Question of Adultery (1958), and in which he co-stars with Julie London.  The film was directed by Don Chaffey and will be released by Eros Films Ltd.
Significant Romance

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