Ashcroft, Dame Peggy
Notable British stage actress, received 1988 Best Supporting Actress Oscar
Description: (1907-1991) English actress with a 60+ year career, won 1988 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “A Passage to India”.
She worked in smaller theatres before graduating from drama school, and within 2 years thereafter was starring in London’s West End, maintaining her leading place in British theatre for the next 50 years. She did much of her work for the Old Vic in the early 1930s, with John Gielgud’s companies in the 1930s & 40s, the Royal Shakespeare Company from the 1950s and the National Theatre from the 1970s.
While well regarded in Shakespeare, Ashcroft was also known for her commitment to modern drama, appearing in plays by Brecht, Beckett, and Pinter. Her career was almost wholly in live theatre until the 1980s, when she turned to TV and film with great success, winning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award and several British and European awards.
In 1930 Ashcroft was cast as Desdemona in a London production of “Othello” with Paul Robeson in the title role. She appeared in Hitchcock’s film “The 39 Steps” in 1935 but was not so drawn to cinema as she was to the stage.
In 1958, Peter Hall, appointed to run the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, approached her with his plans for a permanent company, with bases in Stratford and London, and a regular, salaried company, presenting a mixture of classical and new plays. Ashcroft immediately agreed to join him, and her lead was, in Hall’s view, key to the success of the new Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). In the 1970s, Ashcroft remained a pillar of the RSC but when Peter Hall succeeded Olivier as director of the National Theatre in 1973 he persuaded her to appear there from time to time.
Ashcroft later made occasional but highly successful television and film appearances. For “The Jewel in the Crown”, she won a 1984 BAFTA best actress award, and for her portrayal of Mrs. Moore in David Lean’s 1984 film “A Passage to India”, she won another BAFTA best actress award. She received a 1951 CBE and a 1956 DBE plus foreign state honors and 8 honorary degrees.
She is commemorated with a memorial plaque in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner; a Croydon theatre was named for her in 1962.
Frameable 4 ½ x 5 ¾ signed autograph album page (in-person signature), identification and September 3 1973 date in collector’s hand at right side.
Condition: Very good