Star Archive

Jean Kent (1921 - 2013)

One of the pleasures of forties cinema is watching Jean Kent mature from a pretty bit of decoration feeding lines to Askey and Hanley into a sexy femme fatale. There's also a great deal of pleasure to be had from watching her cope with the flighty foreign floozy parts she got lumbered with in the process. 

She was born into show business with her parents working the Music Halls. She was put into the business from an early age and when times got tough in the depression joined the chorus at the infamous Windmill Theatre (at the age of fifteen).

Though she made a couple of film appearances in the thirties it took her success in the stage review Apple Sauce in which she was stooge to Max Miller to get her noticed. She got a contract at Gainsborough and did a bit more stooging. The turning point in her career came when she was given a part in Fanny by Gaslight and was allowed to "go dramatic".

Fanny by Gaslight was the first of her Gainsborough melodramas. She was probably in more of them than any other actor, but though she now seems an integral part of the cycle, at the time she was less appreciated. Thus, although she gets fifth billing in Fanny, she moves down to eighth for both Madonna of the Seven Moons and The Wicked Lady.  

Gradually the studio got the message that audiences liked her and improved her billing and her contract. The late forties were her golden period with a series of starring roles. This came to an end with The Browning Version. Though the film was a success, and she was excellent in it, she now blames her decision to play a woman ten years older than herself for the premature end to her career.

She turned to theatre and television and kept busy. Notable performances were as Queen Elizabeth in the Francis Drake series, and an appearance in Steptoe and Son as love interest for both Albert and Harold. She died at the age of 92 following a fall at home.

Still from Madonna of the Seven MoonsPhoto of Jean Kent in The Man WithinPortrait of Jean Kent - around the time of Good Time GirlPressbook cover for Good Time GirlStill from The Reluctant WidowStill from The Woman in QuestionPressbook for The Woman in QuestionStill showing Jean Kent in Her Favourite Husband


1935 The Rocks of Valpré
1935 Who's Your Father
1940 Hello Fame
1943 It's That Man Again
1943 Miss London Ltd.
1943 Warn That Man
1944 Bees in Paradise
1944 Fanny by Gaslight
1944 Two Thousand Women
1944 Champagne Charlie
1944 Madonna of the Seven Moons
1944 Soldier, Sailor
1945 Waterloo Road
1945 The Rake's Progress
1945 The Wicked Lady
1946 Caravan
1946 Carnival
1946 The Magic Bow 
1947 The Man Within
1947 The Loves of Joanna Godden
1948 Good Time Girl
1948 Bond Street
1948 Sleeping Car to Trieste
1949 Trottie True
1950 The Reluctant Widow
1950 The Woman in Question
1950 Her Favourite Husband
1951 The Browning Version
1952 The Lost Hours
1955 Before I Wake
1957 The Prince and the Showgirl
1958 Bonjour Tristesse
1958 The Grip of the Strangler
1959 Beyond This Place
1959 Please Turn Over
1960 Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons
1976 Shout at the Devil

 Jean Kent at Amazon UK

 Jean Kent at Amazon UK