British character actress Joyce Grenfell
was still using her maiden name of Phipps when she began her career as a journalist. For several years, Grenfell
was a radio critic for the London Observer.
In 1939, tired of merely writing about performers, she joined their ranks, developing a repertoire of comedy monologues in which she usually impersonated a feather-brained upper-class matron.
In films from 1943, she was especially busy in the 1950s, offering such sharply etched cinematic characterizations as Miss Gossage in
The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), the hotel proprietress in Genevieve (1953) and policewoman
Ruby Gates in the St. Trinian's farces.
Though she cut back on her film appearances after 1957--one of her better latter-day cameos was in The Old Dark House (1963), as a dotty old dear whose vacant smile remains affixed to her face even after she's stabbed to death with her own knitting needles--Grenfell kept busy touring the world with her one-woman show. She appeared on Broadway in 1955 and 1958, playing to large, enthusiastic crowds on both occasions.
Appointed an officer in the Order of the British Empire in 1946, Joyce Grenfell was also elected president of England's Society of Women Writers and Journalists in 1957. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide