theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
The actress and writer Mary Hayley Bell, better known as Lady Mills, died at the age of 94 on 1 December 2005. Although her last years were blighted by Alzheimer’s, Lady Mills will be remembered particularly for her endearing tale of an escaped murderer being taken for Jesus Christ in Whistle Down the Wind. The book, published in 1958, was made into a film by Bryan Forbes  starring Alan Bates and her youngest daughter, Hayley Mills. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical from 1998 is being revived this year  with Bill Kenwright directing, opening at the Palace Theatre for a limited run from 28 March.
She will also be remembered for her long and happy marriage to Sir John Mills who died in April 2005, which produced three children, actresses Juliet and Hayley, and son Jonathan. So strong was their relationship that they renewed their vows in 2001 in front friends and family.
Mary Hayley Bell was born in Shanghai and brought up in China before attending Malvern Girls College in England. She trained for the stage at RADA and met her future husband while touring the Far East in the early 1930s, having made her debut in The Barretts of Wimpole Street for an American company in Shanghai.
Her first play, Men in Shadow, about the French Resistance, was produced in 1942 which, after having its title changed from To Stall the Grey Rat at Noel Coward’s suggestion (he described Bell’s title as “piss-poor”), and having parts excised at the insistence of MI5, had a successful run in the West End starring Mills, whom she had married in 1941. The play was also successful in the provinces, New York and Moscow.
However, apart from her next play, Duet for Two Hands (1945), which was even more of a success, later efforts did not fare so well in the eyes of the critics who accused her work of being unfashionably ‘well-made’ and complacently middle class. In 1962, she said, “They don’t want my plays now … I never want to write another.” She had stopped acting after marriage: “That’s it. I’m not acting any more. We can’t have two actors in the family. We married so that we could be together.”
It was turning to novels that produced her greatest success, Whistle Down the Wind, though a later family collaboration, Sky West and Crooked (1965), which Mills directed and in which Hayley also starred, did not repeat the success of Whistle.
Lady Mills published an autobiography in 1968, What Shall We Do Tomorrow? and is survived by her three children and several grandchildren.
Sarah Vernon © 2006
Originally published on R&V 28-02-06
Running my sauce box about my humorous human encounters and probably some other stuff. Enjoy!
Theatre, Film and TV.
Compelling Stories of Russian History
Photography Blog by Chris Egon Searle
Reclaiming my inner badass at 50
"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films
The Nazis assigned him a number but I wanted the world to know his name.
Archaeology News, Interesting Facts and More
Being a web log for the observations of actor, author, cartoonist, comedian, critic, director, humorist, journalist, master of ceremonies, performance artist, playwright, producer, publicist, public speaker, songwriter, and variety booker Trav S.D.
LOIS BRYAN Photography and Digital Art
A Green future for the Isle of Wight
a world travel photo blog by Jackie Hadel
Music means something
Literatura y consejos.
A Backward Look Forward
Freelance Film Critic
Sharing my paintings
Various Illustrations both previous and ongoing.
Making stuff and pootling in the garden
it's all about the story, possums...
drunk on the arts
Loving yourself & Living with Scleroderma!
Walking blogger exploring London's hidden gems, sights and history!
A journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle
"The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it." Diana Vreeland
by Itamar Dias
National Trust news, events and insight
Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History
Culture Blogger | Theatre Lover | Follow my Journalism journey | BA Journalism Grad. 2016 @SunderlandUni | Views are my own
Ideas on writing and baking
Artisan Jewelry | Accessories | Vintage | Digital Products | Handicrafts
Things from the past and present which may some some relevance in our future
Our space has a real effect on our emotions. Simply change your room arrangements to change your mood. Start to observe your surroundings to feel calm, relaxed and Happy.
the stories behind the pictures, and vice versa
Bespoke Handcrafted Woodwork & Artwork
A collection of fragments more than the sum of its shards
art & illustration
Exploring the world of Paleontology through new scientific articles, photos, and art