Flora Robson

Active - 1931 - 1981  |   Born - Mar 28, 1902 in South Shields, Durham, England, United Kingdom  |   Died - Jul 7, 1984   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Best known for her queenly and aristocratic film roles, Flora Robson was bankrolled by her father for her studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After winning an RADA Bronze Medal, Robson made her professional debut in 1921. Even in her youth, she specialized in aged character parts; her biggest stage success along these lines was Autumn. In films from 1931, Robson's finest movie work included two appearances as Queen Elizabeth I (in 1937's Fire Over England and 1940's The Sea Hawk) and one each as Empress Dowager Livia (in the unfinished I, Claudius) and 18th century Empress Elizabeth (in 1934's Catherine the Great). Her "literary" roles include Ellen in Wuthering Heights (1939) (her first American film) and the unfortunate Ftatateeta in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). In 1945, she was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting performance as a mulatto maidservant in Saratoga Trunk. Made a Dame of the British Empire in 1960, Flora Robson continued her stage and film work until retiring after the 1981 fantasy flick Clash of the Titans.

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  • Was of Scotish descent.
  • Performed for the first time on stage in a school play when she was 5-years-old.
  • Started taking drama lessons at a young age and participated in many amateur productions.
  • At the age of 19, she made her professional debut as an actress after graduating college.
  • Worked briefly as a social worker at a factory.
  • In 1929, she joined the renowned Cambridge Festival Theatre.