Patricia Roc (b.Felicia Miriam Ursula Herold, try getting your mouth round that when you ask Blockbusters if they have any of her films in) was the adopted daughter of a Dutch father (Andre Riese, a wealthy Dutch-Belgian stockbroker) and half-French mother. She didn't learn of the adoption until she was 34 years old.
She was educated at exclusive schools in London and Paris, and studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Her first marriage in 1939 was to a Canadian Osteopath 20 years her senior. It lasted only a few years. She had one son, Michael (born in Paris, 1952), from an affair with Something Money Can't Buy co-star Anthony Steel. Michael was raised as the son of her second husband Andre Thomas who was unable to have children.
She was the first homegrown British star to go to Hollywood under a "lend-lease" deal between Rank Pictures and Universal Studios. She co-starred in the western Canyon Passage in 1946 alongside Susan Hayward, who said after filming that "that Limey glamour girl is a helluva dame." A then, struggling actor by the name of Ronald Reagan, was also romantically involved with Roc while filming Canyon Passage.
She made her stage debut in 1938 in a London production of the comedy, Nuts in May, where she was spotted by movie mogul Alexander Korda. She then made her screen debut in the 1938 costume epic The Rebel Son. She had a 40-film movie career that blossomed during World War 2, her roles in 2,000 Women (1944) and
Millions Like Us (1943) being particularly popular.
She was described by the head of her studio, J. Arthur Rank, as "the archetypal British beauty" and "the Goddess of Odeon's". She was also described by Sir Noel Coward as "a phenomenon" and "an unspoiled movie star who can act" (an indirect attack on Margaret Lockwood anyone?).
For 10 consecutive years from 1943, Roc was one of Britain's top 10 box office stars as her films became international hits.
She retired from acting in 1963 before emigrating to Switzerland where she died n the 30th December 2003.