This is a question that many of us film fans of the era ask – and have asked for years. Joan Rice was discovered and signed up by Rank then prepared and trained as an actress, getting her first film role in Blackmailed with Dirk Bogarde.
Soon afterwards none other that Walt Disney personally chose her to star in the very expensively produced ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ opposite Richard Todd in 1952 – filmed through the summer of 1951 at Denham Film Studios.
Above: Joan Rice, James Robertson Justice and Elton Hayes in wonderful colour in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952
That was very successful and so Warner Bros then took her all the way to Fiji to star alongside Burt Lancaster in ‘His Majesty O’Keefe’ – a very colourful adventure film also with Andre Morrell.
So here we have TWO very big World targetted films which both did well and yet when she returned to England, ( and quickly got married.) the film industry lost interest in her.
She tried to kick start things again by taking to stage acting and touring with repertory theatre productions but this did not get her back and she eventually packed it in and set up her own Property Letting Agency in Maidenhead – where she died in 1997.
The picture of her with Joan Collins above arriving for a screen test is one I have never seen before.