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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
Actress Phyllis Calvert dies
Phyllis Calvert with Maurice Denham  in a production of Bed by Jim Cartwright.
Calvert pictured in 1994 in the play Bed
Actress Phyllis Calvert, famous for her roles in British films of the 1930s and 40s, has died, aged 87.

Calvert, who appeared in 40 films over 70 years, died peacefully in her sleep at a hospital in London on Tuesday morning, her grandson Thomas Dyton said.

She was one of the legendary "Gainsborough girls" who helped to put the British film industry on the map immediately after World War II.

Phyllis Calvert
Calvert was in films such as Fanny by Gaslight
Born Phyllis Bickle in London on 18 February 1915, Calvert began her career as a dancer but an injury forced her to concentrate on acting.

She made her stage debut at the Lyric theatre, in Hammersmith, west London in November 1925, playing alongside the famous Victorian actress, Ellen Terry, who was starring in her last production.

But it is for her 1940s work with the Gainsborough Pictures company, based in Hoxton, north London, that Calvert is chiefly remembered.

Her Gainsborough successes included Fanny By Gaslight, Kipps, Madonna of the Seven Moons and the Man in Grey.

But unlike fellow British stars of the time such as Vivien Leigh, Deborah Kerr, Ann Todd, Calvert was reluctant to go to Hollywood.

Inseparable

As well as her stage and cinema appearances, Calvert worked in television, working on 1970s drama Kate and The House of Eliot in the 1990s.

After first appearing on screen in 1927, Calvert came out of retirement in 1997 to feature in a film adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel, Mrs Dalloway.

In 1941 she married antiquarian book dealer Peter Murray-Hill.

They had two children and were inseparable until his sudden death in 1957.

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