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Georgina Hale
Murray Melvin and Georgina Hale, October 2007 PA310040.jpg
Hale and actor Murray Melvin at the Young Vic Theatre, October 2007
Georgina Hole

(1943-08-04) 4 August 1943 (age 78)
Ilford, England
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)John Forgeham (1964 – c. 1969)[a]

Georgina Hale (born 4 August 1943) is an English film, television and stage actress. She is best known for her roles in the films of director Ken Russell, including The Devils (1971), The Boy Friend (1971), and Mahler (1974), for which she received a BAFTA Film Award. An accomplished stage actress, she received an Olivier Award nomination for her leading performance in Steaming (1981). She has appeared in a number of television plays, and in 2010, The Guardian listed her as one of 10 great character actors in British television.[3] She remains active in film, television and theatre.

Life and early career

Hale was born in Ilford, Essex to publicans Elsie (née Fordham) and George Robert Hole. She later said she had:

...a really bad education. I couldn't write, spell, or read, so it was a real problem, because that sort of thing wasn't acknowledged then. There was a real shame in it, and you were the dunce of the class, always getting whacked around the head. We were on the move a lot as well, so going to so many schools, always being the new girl, it was so frightening and so nerve-wracking as a kid, and it really affected me.[4]

As a teenager, she worked as an apprentice hairdresser and studied Stanislavski's method approach to acting at a fledgling studio, the Chelsea Actors' Workshop, in London,[5] then she was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she graduated in 1965.[6]

Acting career


An accomplished stage actress, Hale made her professional debut at Stratford as a walk-on. She appeared in repertory theatre at Canterbury, Windsor and Ipswich, then at the Playhouse, Liverpool in 1967, where her parts included the title role in Gigi and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. At the Thorndike Theatre in Leatherhead in October 1975, she played Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, followed by an acclaimed portrayal of Nina in Chekhov's The Seagull at the Playhouse in July 1976, making her West End debut in the production when it transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre in August 1976.[7] Other roles included Marie Caroline David in The Tribades (Hampstead Theatre Club, May 1978); Melanie in Boo Hoo (Open Space Theatre, July 1978); and Bobbi Michele in Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Royal Exchange, Manchester, April 1979 – transferring to the Criterion Theatre in November 1979).

In 1981, Hale played the leading role of Josie in Nell Dunn's play Steaming at the Comedy Theatre in London and received a nomination for a 1981 Olivier Award.[8] In 1982, she appeared with Annette Crosbie and Richard O'Callaghan in a production of Noël Coward's Star Quality at the Theatre Royal, Bath. In April 1983 she starred opposite Glenda Jackson and Gary Oldman in Summit Conference at the Lyric Theatre, London, playing Benito Mussolini's mistress Clara Petacci. Later that year, she starred with Colin Blakely, Jane Carr and Paul Eddington in the play Lovers Dancing, directed by Donald McWhinnie, at the Noël Coward Theatre. She followed with roles in two productions at The Old Vic: Aricia in Phédre (1984) and Crystal Allen in The Women (1985).

In 1991, Hale starred opposite Glenda Jackson in Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill,at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. In 1993, she appeared in a production of Alan Ayckbourne's Absurd Person Singular at the Theatre Royal, Bath. In 1994, she appeared opposite Rupert Everett in a production of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. In 1997, she appeared opposite Alan Bates in Life Support by Simon Gray at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Critic Sheridan Morley wrote in The New York Times that Hale, as the bed-bound Gwen, was "supremely touching even in almost total paralysis".[9]

Other notable stage appearances include The Guardsman at the Noël Coward Theatre (2000), where critic Sheridan Morley noted that Hale added "superbly timed comic support",[10] Semi-Monde at the Lyric Theatre (2001), Britannicus and as Madame Ranevsky in The Cherry Orchard at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre (both 2002), and Chéri and Take a Chance on Me at the New End Theatre (both 2003).

Hale's most recent stage role was that of Nell in a production of Samuel Beckett's Endgame at the Gate Theatre, Dublin and then the Barbican Centre, London, as part of the Beckett Centenary Festival in May 2006.


Hale made her film debut in the historical drama Eagle in a Cage (1971) as Betsy Balcombe, opposite Kenneth Haigh as Napoléon Bonaparte. In his review for The New York Times, film critic Roger Greenspun noted that, at age 24, Hale displayed "a kind of mature intensity that argues for at least 30 years' experience on the stage".[11]

Hale appeared as Alma Mahler in Ken Russell's Mahler (1974), opposite Robert Powell as Gustav Mahler. Her performance was called "excellent" by both Time Out and Radio Times, and earned her the 1975 BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles.[12][13][14] In his review for Film Comment, critic Stephen Farber wrote:

Georgina Hale gives an electric performance as Alma. She is touchingly vulnerable in all the flashback sequences, while in the scenes on the train she presents a completely different side of Alma’s character-a supremely bitter, savagely sarcastic shrew. Alma’s imperious, ice-cold facade is the mask she has chiseled to conceal her frustration and disappointment over the stifling of her creative potential. The tension is palpable: We can feel the anger and pain seething beneath her sardonic exterior.[15]

Hale also made appearances in a number of Russell's other films, with roles in The Devils (1971), The Boy Friend (1971), Lisztomania (1975), Valentino (1977), and Treasure Island (1995). Russell later referred to Hale as "an actress of such sensitivity that she can make the hair rise on your arms".[16]

Hale played a supporting role in the romantic drama The World is Full of Married Men (1979), based on the novel of the same name by Jackie Collins. Variety noted that Hale was "effective as a laconic wife who’s come to terms with the sexcess scene".[17]

Hale had a small role in the film The Watcher in the Woods (1980), starring Bette Davis. Hale took the role of the younger version of Davis' character largely because of her admiration for Davis.[18]

Her other film appearances include supporting roles in Butley (1974), Sweeney 2 (1978), McVicar (1980), Castaway (1986), Preaching to the Perverted (1997), Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (2005), and Cockneys vs Zombies (2011).


Hale's television career spans six decades. Her first major television appearances were supporting roles in plays filmed for The Wednesday Play, ITV Playhouse and ITV Play of the Week. Recurring roles in primetime series followed, first opposite Adam Faith in the second series of Budgie (1972) as his wayward wife, and then as Lili Dietrich in the miniseries The Strauss Family (1972).

In 1973, she starred in A.D.A.M. as a physically disabled woman who develops an unusual relationship with the sentient computer system that controls her home. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the drama was broadcast as part of the ITV Sunday Night Drama anthology strand. In 1975, Hale appeared in two television plays written by Simon Gray, broadcast as part of the ITV series Play for Today. These were Plaintiffs and Defendants and Two Sundays. In 1978, Hale appeared with Michael Gambon in the BBC Play of the Month adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. In 1980, Hale portrayed Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK, in an episode of the drama series Ladykillers.

In 1990, Hale succeeded Elizabeth Estensen in the eponymous role of T-Bag, the villainous, tea-drinking sorceress in a succession of children's adventure series produced by Thames Television. Hale played the role in four series and two Christmas specials broadcast between 1990 and 1992.

In December 1992, Hale appeared in two television plays produced by Simon Curtis, broadcast as part of the anthology series Performance. These were Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author and Terence Rattigan's After the Dance.

In 1994, Hale appeared in the sitcom pilot The Honeymoon's Over, written by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, broadcast as part of the Comic Asides anthology strand on BBC Two.

In 2007, Hale made a guest appearance in the crime drama The Commander. Television critic Nancy Banks-Smith noted in The Guardian that Hale "was able to do wonders with a mere sliver of a scene".[19]

Other notable television appearances include guest starring roles in Upstairs, Downstairs (1975), Minder (1980), Hammer House of Horror (1980), the Doctor Who serial The Happiness Patrol (1988), One Foot in the Grave (1990), Murder Most Horrid (1994), The Bill (2002), Emmerdale (2006), Hollyoaks (2010–2011) and Holby City (2016).



Year Title Role Director Notes
1971 The Devils Phillippe Trincant Ken Russell
The Boy Friend Fay Ken Russell
1972 Eagle in a Cage Betsy Balcombe Fielder Cook
1973 The Love Ban Joyce Ralph Thomas
1974 Mahler Alma Mahler Ken Russell BAFTA Film Award for Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Butley Carol Heasman Harold Pinter
1975 Lisztomania Ken Russell uncredited appearance
1976 Voyage of the Damned Lotte Schulman Stuart Rosenberg
1977 Valentino Ken Russell uncredited appearance
1978 Sweeney 2 Switchboard Girl Tom Clegg
1979 The World Is Full of Married Men Lori Grossman Robert Young
1980 The Watcher in the Woods Young Mrs Aylwood John Hough
McVicar Kate Tom Clegg
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman Actress at Wrap Party Karel Reisz
Waiting Room The Woman Anwar Kawadri short film
1986 Castaway Sister Saint Margaret Nicolas Roeg
1988 Dogplant Professor Joe Fordham Short film
1991 A Future in Fish Mother Jon East Short film
1994 Beyond Bedlam Sister Romulus Vadim Jean
1995 Jackson: My Life... Your Fault Josephine Duncan Roy
1997 Preaching to the Perverted Miss Wilderspin Stuart Urban
1998 Gamal Abd El Naser Lady Eden Anwar Kawadri
2002 AKA Elizabeth of Lithuania Duncan Roy
2003 Photo Finish Therapist Douglas McFerran
2005 Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont Shirley Burton Dan Ireland
2011 Cockneys vs Zombies Doreen Matthias Hoene
2015 Angel Iris Ray Burdis


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Way off Beat Jill The Wednesday Play
1967 Cross My Heart and Hope She'll Die Ruth Drama '67
Strike Pay Maud Wharmby ITV Play of the Week: Stories of D.H. Lawrence
1968 The Judge Pat Dean ITV Playhouse
Camille 68 Nanine ITV Playhouse
1969 The Back of Beyond Enid Clarke W. Somerset Maugham (BBC series)
Men of Iron Mary Ann Plays of Today (BBC)
1970 Special Branch Lisa Episode: Love from Doris
1971-1972 Budgie Jean episodes: Out, Brains, Dreaming of Thee, and And the Lord Taketh Away
1972 The Strauss Family Lili Dietrich miniseries
1973 A.D.A.M. Jean Empson ITV Sunday Night Theatre
Only Make Believe Sandra George Play for Today (BBC)
1974 Electra Chrysothemis Play of the Month (BBC)
Notorious Woman Solange Dudevant-Sand
Occupations Polya
Affairs of the Heart Lola Skinner episode: Adela
1975 Plaintiffs and Defendants Joanna Play for Today
Two Sundays Hilary Play for Today
Children of the Sun Fran Play for Today
Upstairs, Downstairs Violet Marshall episode: An Old Flame
Affairs of the Heart Daisy Miller episode: Daisy
1976 The Author of Beltraffio Beatrice Ambient
East Lynne Afy Halljohn
1977 The Late Wife Andrea ITV Sunday Night Drama
1978 The Seagull Masha Play of the Month
1980 Minder Renee episode: The Beer Hunter
Lady Killers Ruth Ellis Episode: Lucky, Lucky Thirteen
Hammer House of Horror Stella episode: The Mark of Satan
1981 Eden End Lilian Kirby Celebrity Playhouse
1987 Boon Alison episode: A Fistful of Pesetas
1988 Doctor Who Daisy K The Happiness Patrol, episodes 1, 2 and 3
Gems Lynne 36 episodes, series 3
1989 Murder by Moonlight Allison Quinney TV film
1990 T-Bag and the Pearls of Wisdom Tabatha Bag
One Foot in the Grave April Bluett episode: Love and Death
T-Bag's Christmas Ding Dong Tabatha Bag
1991 T-Bag and the Rings of Olympus Tabatha Bag
Magic Andrea Watson
T-Bag's Christmas Turkey Tabatha Bag
1992 The Count of Solar Countess Solar Screen Two
T-Bag and the Sunstones of Montezuma Tabatha Bag
After the Dance Moya Lexington Performance
Take off with T-Bag Tabatha Bag
Six Characters in Search of an Author Leading Actress Performance
1993 The Detectives Irene Mazola episode: Strangers in Paradise
1994 Murder Most Horrid Lady Jamieson episode: A Severe Case of Death
The Bill Julie Stone episodes: Living Legend and Inquest
The Honeymoon's Over Norma sitcom pilot for BBC Two
1995 Treasure Island Mrs. Hawkins TV film
Crown Prosecutor Maureen Sherman 1 episode
1998 A Rather English Marriage Sabrina's Maid TV film
2000 Casualty Janet Henbury episode: Choked
2002 Trial and Retribution Tammy Delaney 1 episode
The Bill Marilyn Costello episodes: Code of Conduct, Seeing Red, and Little White Lies
2006 Emmerdale Beryl Chugspoke 4 episodes
2007 The Commander Vivienne Littlewood episode: The Devil You Know
2010–2011 Hollyoaks Blanche Longford recurring role, 7 episodes
2012 Crime Stories Sally Woods 1 episode
2016 Holby City Serephina Moore episode: On the Ropes


Year Title Role Venue
1975 Pygmalion Eliza Doolittle Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead
1976 The Seagull Nina Duke of York's Theatre
1978 The Tribades Marie Caroline David Hampstead Theatre
Boo Hoo Melanie Open Space Theatre
1979 Last of the Red Hot Lovers Bobbi Michele Royal Exchange, Manchester and Criterion Theatre
1981 Steaming Josie Comedy Theatre
1982 Summit Conference Clara Petacci Lyric Theatre
Star Quality Theatre Royal, Bath
1983 Lovers Dancing Cheryl Albery Theatre
1984 Phèdre Aricia The Old Vic
1985 The Women Crystal Allen The Old Vic
Copperhead Lucille Bush Theatre
1991 Mourning Becomes Electra Lavinia Mannon Glasgow Citizens Theatre
1993 Absurd Person Singular Marion Theatre Royal, Bath
1994 The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore Witch of Capri Glasgow Citizens Theatre
1997 Life Support Gwen Aldwych Theatre
2000 The Guardsman Mother Albery Theatre
2001 Semi-Monde Suzanne Fellini Lyric Theatre
2002 Britannicus Albina Glasgow Citizens Theatre
The Cherry Orchard Madame Ranevsky Glasgow Citizens Theatre
2003 Chéri Mademoiselle Poussier New End Theatre
Take a Chance on Me Lorraine New End Theatre
2006 Endgame Nell Gate Theatre and Barbican Centre


  1. ^ England and Wales Marriage Registration Index lists Hale and Forgeham's marriage as being registered in 1964.[1] An obituary for Foregham published by The Guardian notes his subsequent remarriage in 1970.[2]


  1. ^ "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch (8 October 2014), Georgina A Hole and null, 1964; from "England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005", database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing 1964, quarter 1, vol. 5C, p. 1841, Hampstead, London, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  2. ^ Hayward, Anthony (13 March 2017). "John Forgeham obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. ^ Younger, Kevin (3 August 2010). "Looks Familiar: 10 great British character actors". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  4. ^ Cooper, Neil (5 March 2002). "Opposites Attract". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  5. ^ – recollections in biography, 2009, Mim Scala
  6. ^ "Student and Graduate Profiles". Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  7. ^ Who's Who in the Theatre, 17th edition (1981)
  8. ^ "1981 Olivier Award Nominees". Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Return of Butley in 'Life Support'". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  10. ^ "LONDON THEATER: An 'Itch' for Nostalgia, Just for the Starstruck". The New York Times. 18 October 2000. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  11. ^ Greenspun, Roger (10 January 1972). "'Eagle in a Cage': Exile of Napoleon Is Subject of Romance". Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Mahler". Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Mahler". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  14. ^ "1975 Bafta Winners". Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  15. ^ Farber, Stephen (November 1975). "Russellmania!". Film Comment. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  16. ^ "The Actresses Who Have Bewitched Me - Ken Russell". thetimes. London. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  17. ^ Variety Staff. "The World Is Full of Married Men | Variety". Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  18. ^ Hough, John (2002). The Watcher in the Woods (DVD). Anchor Bay Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures.
  19. ^ "The Weekend's TV". London. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.

Further reading

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Peter Egan
for The Hireling
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
for Mahler

Succeeded by
Valerie Perrine
for Lenny
This page was last edited on 16 September 2021, at 23:31
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