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Susan Shaw
Susan Shaw.jpg
Patricia Gwendoline Sloots

(1929-08-29)29 August 1929
West Norwood, London, England
Died27 November 1978(1978-11-27) (aged 49)
Middlesex, England
Years active1946–1963
(m. 1949; div. 1953)
(m. 1954; died 1958)
Ronald Rowson
(m. 1959; div. 1960)

Susan Shaw (29 August 1929 – 27 November 1978) was an English actress.[1]

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Shaw was born Patricia Gwendoline Sloots in West Norwood, London, to Edward John Sloots and Lillian Rose Lewis.[2] She had wanted to become a dress designer and was working as a typist at the Ministry for Information when she did a screen test for the J. Arthur Rank Organisation.[3] They signed her to a term contract and trained her at its "charm school".[4]

She had a bit part in the musical London Town (1946) and a larger part in another musical, Walking on Air (1946).[5][6] She had a small role in The Upturned Glass (1947) and Jassy (1947). Shaw was in Holiday Camp (1947) which introduced the Huggett family, although she did not play a Huggett.

Shaw was given her most noticeable role to date in It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) for Ealing. She had another decent support part in My Brother's Keeper (1948) at Gainsborough and London Belongs to Me (1948), in the latter replacing Pat Roc who pulled out.[7]

Leading lady

Shaw's first lead came in To the Public Danger (1948) a short feature directed by Terence Fisher. She had a role in one of the segments of Quartet (1948) then when Sydney Box decided to make a film series out of the Huggett family with Jack Warner, Shaw was cast as Susan Huggett. There were three in the series: Here Come the Huggetts (1948), Vote for Huggett (1948) and The Huggetts Abroad (1949).[8] Shaw was the female lead in the comedies It's Not Cricket (1949) and Marry Me (1949) and one of many actresses in Train of Events (1949).[9] She was by now one of the busiest young actresses in Britain.[10]

Shaw played support in some thrillers – Waterfront (1950),[11] The Woman in Question (1950) – before returning to leads in Pool of London (1951) with Bonar Colleano. Her marriage to Albert Lieven, with whom she had a daughter, ended in divorce in 1953, and in 1954, she married Colleano.[8][12][13]

Shaw began to appear on television in One Man's Family (1951) and a BBC version of The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1951).[14] She was the female lead in some Bs: There Is Another Sun (1951), Wide Boy (1952), A Killer Walks (1952), The Large Rope (1953), and Small Town Story (1953). On TV she did Count Your Blessings (1953). In April 1951 the Daily Mail listed Shaw on a poll from over 2,000 readers as one of the most popular British female actress in the country (after Anna Neagle, Jean Simmons, Jean Kent, Glynis Johns, Greer Garson, Petula Clark, Margaret Rutherford and Patricia Dainton, and in front of Jane Wyman.[15])

She supported in some "A" films, such as The Intruder (1953) and The Good Die Young (1954) as well as Time Is My Enemy (1954) and played leads in Stolen Time (1955), Stock Car (1955), Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956), the comedy Davy (1958), The Diplomatic Corpse (1958), and Chain of Events (1958) as well as the TV play You Can't Have Everything (1958).

Later career

In 1958, Colleano was killed in a traffic collision.[16][17][18] Shortly before Colleano's death, the actor admitted he had liabilities of nearly £10,000 due to extravagant living.[19] He and Shaw had a son Mark born in 1955.

In November 1959 Shaw married TV producer Ronald Rowson.[20][21] The marriage ended officially in November 1960, Rowson claiming that Shaw had been unfaithful to him within two months of their marriage with writer Stanley Mann.[22]

Badly affected by Colleano's death, Shaw began to drink heavily, and unable to care for her son Mark (born 1955) because of her emerging alcoholism, she gave him to his paternal grandmother to raise.[23]

She resumed her career, appearing in Carry on Nurse (1959) and The Big Day (1960) and episodes of All Aboard (1959), Suspense (1960), Richard the Lionheart (1962), and No Hiding Place (1962). Her last films were Stranglehold (1963) and The Switch (1963).

She wound up living alone and broke in Soho. She died of cirrhosis of the liver and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, north London. Her old friends were going to pay for the funeral but then the Rank Organisation stepped in to do it.[24] "When we heard of the circumstances of her death we felt it was the least we could do," said a spokesman from the Rank Organisation. Charlie Stevenson, landlord of the Swiss Tavern in Old Compton Street, said, "She came in here every day. They say she died of cirrhosis of the liver and she lived next door to prostitutes in Soho. But this is Soho. We all live next door to prostitutes. We loved her and we weren't going to see her buried in a pauper's grave. Now we shall give the money to medical charities."[25]

Critical assessment

The film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane praise the "sulky, spiky tenacity that differentiated her from many of her contemporaries".[26]


Year Title Role Notes
1946 London Town Extra Uncredited
Walking on Air
1947 The Upturned Glass 2nd Girl Student
Holiday Camp Patsy Crawford
Jassy Cecily Uncredited
It Always Rains on Sunday Vi Sandigate
1948 My Brother's Keeper Beryl
London Belongs to Me Doris Josser
To the Public Danger Nancy Bedford Short
Quartet Betty Baker (segment "The Kite")
Here Come the Huggetts Susan Huggett
1949 Vote for Huggett
It's Not Cricket Primrose Brown
The Huggetts Abroad Susan Huggett
Marry Me! Pat Cooper
Train of Events Doris Hardcastle (segment "The Engine Driver")
1950 Waterfront Connie McCabe
The Woman in Question Catherine Taylor
1951 Pool of London Pat
There Is Another Sun Lillian
1952 Wide Boy Molly
1953 The Intruder Tina
The Large Rope Susan Hamble
Small Town Story Patricia Lane
1954 The Good Die Young Doris
Time Is My Enemy Evelyn Gower
1955 Stolen Time Carole Carlton
Stock Car Gina
1956 Fire Maidens from Outer Space Hestia
1958 Davy Gwen
The Diplomatic Corpse Jenny Drew
Chain of Events Jill Mason
1959 Carry On Nurse Mrs Jane Bishop
1960 The Big Day Phyllis Selkirk
1963 Stranglehold Actress
The Switch Search officer (final film role)
  1. ^ "Susan Shaw". BFI. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Mr Attlee has a chance to tell us the latest score Date: Tuesday, 29 August 1950 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 16935 p 2
  4. ^ "Susan Shaw – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "Susan Shaw | TV Guide".
  6. ^ "Obituary: Peter Noble". The Independent. 29 August 1997. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Film News From England and America". The Sun. No. 11, 818. New South Wales, Australia. 11 December 1947. p. 32 (Late Final Extra). Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b Ross, Andrew (19 October 2011). Carry-On Actors. ISBN 9781908382085.
  9. ^ "Margaret Aylwards". The Sun. No. 2399. New South Wales, Australia. 3 April 1949. p. 12. Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Author: Cecil Wilson Date: Thursday, 11 November 1948 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 16379 p 2
  11. ^ "Susan Shaw". The Australian Women's Weekly. Vol. 17, no. 44. Australia. 8 April 1950. p. 45. Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "John Miles Looks At: New Films in Town". News. Vol. 59, no. 9, 036. South Australia. 25 July 1952. p. 10. Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Colleano, British Actor, Weds", New York Times 11 January 1954: 19.
  14. ^ No Surprises — But Still a Favourite Author: J. Stubbs Walker Date: Monday, 28 May 1951 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 17165 p 2
  15. ^ Anna Neagle, John Mills are top stars Author: By Daily Mail Reporter Date: Saturday, 14 April 1951 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 17128 p 3
  16. ^ "Susan Shaw – The Private Life and Times of Susan Shaw. Susan Shaw Pictures".
  17. ^ Flashback: How the Liverpool Daily Post reported accident forgotten crash site of tragic film star: Campaign for plaque to remember Bonar Colleano Hughes, Lorna. Liverpool Echo; Liverpool (UK), 12 February 2017: 4.
  18. ^ Car Accident Fatal to Actor Bonar Colleano Los Angeles Times 18 August 1958: 2.
  19. ^ How a Star Gets in Trouble over Tax Author: By Daily Mail Reporter Date: Wednesday, 21 May 1958 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 19309 p 3
  20. ^ Bonar Colleano's mother joins a happy marriage Author: Paul Tanfield Date: Monday, 16 November 1959 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 19772 p 14
  21. ^ Susan's sunny honeymoon Date: Saturday, 28 November 1959 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 19783 p 5
  22. ^ Marriage No 3 ends for Susan Shaw Date: Friday, 18 November 1960 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 20085 p 9
  23. ^ "BBC On This Day – 15 – 1958: Film stars raise cash for Colleano". 15 December 1958.
  24. ^ "184: The Sad Story of Susan Shaw".
  25. ^ Soho bids farewell to a fallen star Date: Saturday, 2 December 1978 Publication: Daily Mail (London, England) Issue: 25657 p. 3
  26. ^ Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 184.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 May 2023, at 13:18
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