Janet Munro – The Horsemasters 1961 Disney


One of the films Janet Munro did for Walt Disney was one that I have to admit, I cannot remember at all, but it gets very good revues The Horsemasters made in  Surrey England in 1961. See Below :

The Horsemasters 1961 Walt Disney

A “good condition” VHS tape of The Horsemasters goes for about £ 120 –  That’s not bad for a 1961 two-part episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color that was released theatrically as a motion picture in Europe. The popularity of The Horsemasters among video collectors has nothing to do with the quality of the film. It’s all about the cast.


The plot follows eight youths enrolled in an intensive training program at the Valleywood Riding School in England. Their goal is to become “Horsemasters,” which apparently requires that you know everything about caring for and riding horses. The students spend the first few weeks doing nothing but cleaning stables, grooming horses, and learning about them. Eventually, though, they do to get to ride and jump their steeds. The training program ends with a riding exam and a written test. Much of The Horsemasters unfolds like a documentary as we follow the kids during their daily routine. The first half, which was subtitled “Follow Your Heart” for TV, focuses on Dinah Wilcox (Annette Funicello). Her mother was a famous equestrian whose career was cut short after being thrown from her horse. As a result, Dinah has to overcome her fear of jumping.

The Horsemasters 1961 2

The film’s second half, known on TV as “Tally Ho,” centres on first-time Valleywood instructor Janet Hale (Janet Munro). She struggles to gain the respect of her pupils while instilling discipline in them. She gets minimal advice from The Major (who owns the school): “People are like horses, Janet. If you don’t ride them, they’ll ride you.” It doesn’t help that there are romantic sparks between her and the handsome lad from Australia (John Fraser). The Horsemasters is an interesting and charming film I am told – and so I must try to acquire it as soon as I can.

Janet Munro appeared in four Disney films, the other three being Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Third Man on the Mountain, and Swiss Family Robinson. Although she frequently played tomboy roles, she could also turn on the sex appeal, as she showed in the excellent science fiction film The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). She died from heart disease in 1972 at age 38.

Janet Munro married twice. In January 1956 she married Tony Wright, the marriage ended three years later in 1959. In 1963 she married former Avengers star Ian Hendry.

The couple had two children Sally Hendry and Corrie Hendry. From 1964 to 1968 she retired from acting to raise her two children. Ian and Janet divorced in 1971.

British actress Janet Munro dies at 38

British actress Janet Munro, aged 38, died on 6 December 1972 after becoming ill while having tea with her two children in her flat in Kentish Town, London. The children’s nannie, Elizabeth McGuiness, tried to revive her but she died on the way to hospital. Munro died from a heart attack caused by chronic ischaemic heart disease.

When she signed a Five Film contract with Walt Disney in the late 1950s she was in some great films Darby O Gill and The Little People, Third Man on the Mountain and Swiss Family Robinson come straight to mind – and they were films on a large scale that went worldwide

 Janet Munro was born as Janet Neilson Horsburgh on 28 September 1934 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.  She was the daughter of the Scottish comedian Alex Munro and his wife, Phyllis Robertshaw. Janet’s mother, Phyllis died when she was eight and she was raised by Lilias, Alex Munro’s second wife.

Janet Munro - One of my favourite actresses

 Janet Munro – Above – One of My Favourite Actresses

Darby O Gill

Above: Janet Munro and Sean Connery in Darby O Gill and The Little People – one of My Favourite Films

After a brief career in the theatre she was spotted and given her first film role as Effie the waitress in “Small Hotel”(1957), followed by “The Trollenberg Terror” (1957) and a starring role with Andrew Ray in “The Young and the Guilty” (1958). She then did the Disney pictures. After her Disney contract she was given more dramatic roles in “Day The Earth Caught Fire” (1961), “Life for Ruth” (1962) and “Bitter Harvest” (1963). In 1958 Janet Munro was voted “TV actress of the year” and in 1960 she won a Golden Globe as “Most Promising Newcomer – Female” together with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Stella Stevens.










Two failed marriages, two miscarriages, alcoholism, assorted medical problems, and depression… Munro collapsed and subsequently died on December 6th 1972 at the age of 38. She was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium.





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