Dame Flora Robson



  • (1902 - 84) British actress, who was created a dame in1960. Raised in London, Robson studied at RADA and made her professionaldebut in 1921 as a ghost in Will Shakespeare by Clemence Dane.When further offers dried up, she worked in a Shredded Wheat factoryfor four years.

    With the encouragement of Tyrone Guthrie she returned to thetheater and in 1931 won encouraging reviews as Abbie Putnam in O'Neill'sDesire Under the Elms. She enjoyed another triumph that sameyear in Bridie's The Anatomist. The critic St John Ervine wrote,"If you are not moved by this girl's performance, then you areimmovable and have no right to be on this earth. Hell is your place."In 1949 she was a great success as a disturbed mother in BlackChiffon at the Westminster Theatre, playing the part on Broadwaya year later. Shakespearean roles included Lady Macbeth (1948) and Paulinain The Winter's Tale (1951). She won the 1960 Evening StandardAward for Best Actress for her depiction of Miss Tina in The Aspern Papers.

    In 1934 Robson played the title role in Mary Read,the violent story of a woman pirate, at His Majesty's Theatre. Atone point in the performance, she was required to fire a prop gunat Robert Donat, playing her stage lover. One night, when she firedat Donat's chest his shirt burst into flames. She watched in horroras he fell to the ground and rolled over to put out the fire. Whenthe curtain fell, Donat sat up with a black face and yelled, "Florahas singed my navel!"