joyce carey biog.

British Actress (1898-1993)


Date of Birth
30 March 1898, London, England, UK

Date of Death
28 February 1993, London, England, UK


If we think of Britain at all during the 1940s and especially during the War, and if we try to picture a face of the middle-aged woman from those days then who do we see? For many of us it would be Joyce Carey (born Joyce Lawrence). That is down to her screen persona, the hard but respectable woman she invariably played and made her own. A tongue coated in acid; a face cut from British stone.

She was the daughter of actress Lilian Braithwaite. At 20 she was on stage and from then until well into the 1980s and her 80s she remained. She made few films during the silent era; preferring the stage. Indeed there is a gap of 22 years from her last silent film, Colonel Newcombe, the Perfect Gentleman and her next film role as Bernard Miles's wife (even though she was almost a decade older than hm in real life) in the War classic In Which We Serve (1942), by NoŽl Coward, a friend of Joyce's, in whose plays she often starred.

But that was not her stand-out role. It has to be the pseudo-refined barmaid in Brief Encounter (director David Lean, 1945).

Thereafter, it was the age of the spinsters of acid: (The Way to the Stars, director Anthony Asquith (is he not the most underrated director in British cinema history?), 1945; The Chiltern Hundreds, d. John Paddy Carstairs, 1949; Libel, d. again Asquith, 1959) interspersed with the loving wives roles (Cry, the Beloved Country, d. Zoltan Korda, 1952), and warm-hearted upper-class aunts (A Nice Girl Like Me, d. Desmond Davis, 1969).

In all she appeared in over 60 film and TV roles. She also wrote two plays as Jay Mallory.

In 1982 she received the OBE.

She died a month short of her 95th birthday.

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