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Dame Wendy Hiller DBE (1912 -- 2003)

Wendy Hiller always wanted to act. Born in Cheshire, she joined Manchester Repertory Theatre aged 18 and soon won leading roles. In 1936, she was spotted by George Bernard Shaw, who promoted her career, which stretched over many years.

Most seen on the stage or television, she appeared selectively in films, including Powell and Pressburger's I Know Where I'm Going (1945), A Man For All Seasons (1966) and The Elephant Man (1980). She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for Separate Tables (1958), based on Terence Rattigan's drama.

Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974) was another fine showcase for her talent: a cool, assured manner yet with a distinctively soft, wavering voice. Married for 58 years to the writer Ronald Gow, she passed away aged 90 in May 2003, survived by a son and a daughter.