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Grenfell, Joyce (1910-1979)


Main image of Grenfell, Joyce (1910-1979)

Immortalised as toothy, gauche games mistress, Gossage ("Call me Sausage") in The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), former journalist Grenfell invaded over 20 often-unexceptional British films, creating moments of treasurable idiocy.

She is wonderfully exasperated with Alastair Sim's further postponement of their wedding ("I've been home three weeks and I've had a bath") in Laughter in Paradise (1951), is all fringe and jangling beads as the hotel proprietress in Genevieve (1953), was several times hilariously love-lorn Policewoman (later Sergeant) Ruby Gates in the St Trinian's series.

As a celebrated monologuist, gently caricaturing the middle classes, she showed wider emotional range than films ever explored. Appeared in many revues, as well as her own inimitable one-woman shows, which she wrote and with which she toured extensively. She was living proof that you could be a sharp satirist without - miraculously - descending to malice; she is as English as glee-singing and much more fun. She was awarded an OBE in 1946.

Joyce Grenfell Requests The Pleasure

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopaedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Belles of St Trinian's, The (1954)Belles of St Trinian's, The (1954)

Anarchic comedy based on Ronald Searle's popular cartoons

Thumbnail image of Genevieve (1953)Genevieve (1953)

Cheerful light comedy set against the London to Brighton car rally

Thumbnail image of Happiest Days of Your Life, The (1950)Happiest Days of Your Life, The (1950)

Comedy with two very different schools forced to share a building

Thumbnail image of Lamp Still Burns, The (1943)Lamp Still Burns, The (1943)

Unsubtle but fascinating film about the pre-NHS nursing profession

Thumbnail image of Laughter in Paradise (1951)Laughter in Paradise (1951)

Alastair Sim stars in a comedy about a practical joker's legacy

Thumbnail image of Magic Box, The (1951)Magic Box, The (1951)

Star-studded biopic of British film pioneer William Friese-Greene

Related collections

Thumbnail image of Funny Women on TVFunny Women on TV

Comedy with a female slant

Related people and organisations

Thumbnail image of Sim, Alastair (1900-1976)Sim, Alastair (1900-1976)