Jean Marsh

Last updated 09 January 2020

Jean Marsh
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Jean Lyndsey Torren Marsh

Born: Sunday 1st July 1934 (age: 89)

Diamond Management

Jean Marsh is an English actress best known for co-creating and starring in the television series Upstairs, Downstairs, for which she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Marsh was born in Stoke Newington, London, England. As a child she studied acting and mime, later working as a cabaret singer and photo model.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Marsh made many appearances on British and American television including an episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Lonely" (1959), in which she played Alicia, a very lifelike and attractive female robot; The Wonderful World of Disney (1961); Gideon's Way (1965); I Spy (1967); The Saint (4 episodes between 1964 and 1968); and UFO.

In 1965 she appeared alongside William Hartnell in The Crusade. She returned later that year as companion Sara Kingdom in the 12-part serial "The Daleks' Master Plan. She also appeared in the 1989 serial "Battlefield".

With Eileen Atkins she created the British period drama Upstairs, Downstairs, and played the role of the house parlourmaid Rose Buck for the duration of the series, from 1971 until 1975. She reprised the role when the series was brought back at the end of 2010.

In film she had a featured role in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972) and played Mrs Grey in The Eagle Has Landed (1976), as well as the villain in the fantasy films Return to Oz (1985) and Willow (1988). Marsh and Atkins created a second television series The House of Eliott, which was produced during 1991 and 1992. This time, Marsh did not act in the series, but she did write some of the episodes. In 1994, she starred as a villain in the Nickelodeon remake of The Tomorrow People, and appeared in the television productions of Fatherland and The Pale Horse.

From 2000 until 2002, Marsh appeared in The Ghost Hunter, and in 2007 she played in the West End stage revival of Boeing Boeing at the Comedy Theatre. She also made an appearance in the 2007 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Marsh appeared as Lizzie in Baby Cow Productions' Sensitive Skin in 2005 and 2007 alongside Joanna Lumley. She also appeared in an episode of BBC Four's Crooked House in December 2008.

Marsh was married to Jon Pertwee from 1955 until their divorce in 1960.

She was awarded an OBE for services to drama in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List.