Within two years of winning a beauty contest Joan Rice found herself starring alongside Dirk Bogarde, in director Harold Huth’s black and white movie Blackmailed (1951).
She had been considered for the part of Mary, a girl injured in a tragic accident, but Huth decided to give Joan her first big chance and cast her in the role of Alama, an artists model.
For a young girl who had been working as a housemaid for a doctor in Middlesex and then as a waitress in a Lyons Corner House – from where she was spotted it seems, this was the first step on her sudden meteoric rise to stardom. The movie was released in London in January 1951- two months later Joan was screen tested with six others for the role of Maid Marian in Disney’s live-action Technicolor film the The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). She was personally selected for this really plum role by Walt Disney himself who explained “she get’s my vote, she has quality.” It seems that neither Ken Annakin the film’s director nor star Richard Todd in the title role rated her as an actress BUT fans of the film including myself, disagreed and thought she fitted the role perfectly – and certainly looked the part.