Pat Kirkwood

One of our greatest stage performers – when I think of stars I place her right at the very top of the list – but not as a film star which she was very good at – but in all round entertainment with the stage at the centre of it

ABOVE – in a glamourous pose

She was also in films although she did not make that many0 but she did go out to Hollywood for MGM and in fact signed a contract with them but things did not work out for her there. In fact she became ill and returned home. My own view is that she was homesick for England

What a lovely girl she was

She was mainly a superb stage performer though – one of the very best – indeed she dominated the West End stage for almost two decades – Noel Coward even wrote a play for her such was her appeal and charisma, and yet, to me, she always seemed a kind and level headed person who never played on the fame she undoubtebly had.

BELOW are a series of pictures from 1994 when she was the subject of ‘This is Your Life’

ABOVE – Michael Aspel surprises Pat Kirkwood

THIS IS YOUR LIFE – Pat Kirkwood, actress, singer and dancer, was surprised by Michael Aspel during a mock interview in the bar of the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.

Pat made her professional debut at the age of 14 as a singer on the BBC radio programme, The Children’s Hour. A year later, she made her first appearance on stage, billed as the Schoolgirl Songstress at the Royal Hippodrome in Salford. Her first big break came in the revue Black Velvet at the London Hippodrome in 1940.

Pat was one of the West End’s liveliest and most glamorous musical stars in the 1940s and 1950s, appearing in such plays as Noel Coward’s Ace of Clubs in 1950, which he wrote especially for her, and the 1955 London production of Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town. In 1954 she became the first female star to have her own series on British television, The Pat Kirkwood Show.

This edition of This is Your Life was the last Thames Television production of This Is Your Life to be screened on ITV – something I didn’t know

Above – Pat greets her brother who had flown in from Los Angeles – they had not seen one another for a few years up until this moment

Van Johnson came in from Hollywood – he had starred with Pat Kirkwood during her years there

Pat Kirkwood proved a delight in her only Hollywood film ‘No Leave, No Love’. Miss Kirkwood said that on the first day of shooting, Van Johnson greeted her and told her, “This picture is going to be a real stinker, so we might as well have a few laughs and forget it.”

Actually, the film is quite good fun and includes Pat Kirkwood’s bouncy song “Love on a Greyhound Bus”

ABOVE – Her Wedding to Hubert Gregg


BELOW – with the great Gorge Formby in ‘Come on George’ – he did get to kiss her in this scene much to the displeasure of his wife.

When you look at her here with George as a very young girl and then the much later pictures on This is Your Life, she hasn’t really changed at all

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