Vivien Merchant

Active - 1966 - 1976  |   Born - Jul 22, 1929   |   Died - Oct 3, 1982   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Mystery

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Biography by AllMovie

On stage from the age of 14 (she played a much-younger orphanage resident in a Peterborough Repertory staging of Jane Eyre) British actress Vivien Merchant hit her stride in the mid-1950s. From 1956 through 1980, Vivien was married to playwright Harold Pinter; she starred or was co-starred in several of his plays, notably as Ruth in The Homecoming. The actress made her first film appearance in Alfie (1966), winning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lily, the bored housewife whose fling with hedonistic Michael Caine culminates in a painful abortion. One of Merchant's most delightful screen turns was also one of the least typical: the air-headed gourmet-cook wife of long-suffering Scotland Yard inspector Alec McCowan in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972). Merchant left acting in 1980 after she and Pinter divorced. She died in 1982.

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