Roger Livesey Stage and Film Actor – and his wife Ursula Jeans

What a good actor he was – and such a distinctive voice too.

Roger Livesey was apparently such a nice man who was liked by just about everyone and was very happily married to Ursula Jeans for 36 years (until her death)  – They had no children. There was no scandal in his life, so no publisher has been interested in a biography about him.


Roger Livesey

Another well know role was as Torquil in  I Know where I’m Going

Roger Livesey and Raymond Massie

Raymond Massey and Roger Livesey share a laugh at the Party given by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger at Denham Film Studios to mark the start of filming on    A Matter of Life and Death

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Above: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Roger Livesey 2

This is from A Matter of Life and Death

Roger Livesey and Wendy Hiller

ABOVE – With Wendy Hiller – I Know Where I’m Going

Roger Livesey 3

Probably some of his best film work was with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Films

Roger Livesey  died 4 February 1976  after a 50‐year stage, film and television career. He was 69 years old.

Desert Island Discs Roger Livesey


Above: Roger Livesey on Desert Island Discs in 1952 – he chose the usual Eight Records – mainly classical – and his luxury to take to the Island was Golf Clubs.

His last major appearance was as the Duke of St. Bungay in the BBC television serial “The Pallisers.”

Friends said he never fully recovered from the loss three years previously of his wife, Ursula Jeans, with whom he formed an internationally known husband‐and‐wife acting team in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Roger Livesey had made many appearances on the Broadway stage. One of the most notable was in the Wycherly Restoration classic, “The Country Wife,” in 1937, in which he appeared with Ruth Gordon.

He was also in “The Entertainer,” based on the John Osborne play, in support of Laurence Olivier in the same year.

He was born in Barry, South Wales, on June 25, 1906, and was educated at the Westminster City School.

His first appearance on the stage was at the St. James’s Theatre on  Nov. 21, 1917, when he was 11. The role was that of the Office Boy in “Loyalty.”

One play followed another in the West End for almost 10 years, and then he toured the West Indies and South Africa for several years.

His roles included Dr. Stockman in “An Enemy of the people,” Petruchio in “Taming of the Shrew,” Kurt Müller in “Watch on the Rhine,” in which he toured for two years during World War II, and Sir Toby Belch in “Twelfth Night.”

Roger Livesey and Laurence Olivier


On another occasion he enjoys a chat with Sir Laurence Olivier ABOVE – who seems to be adjusting Roger Livesey’s tie.

Roger Livesey’s wife was the Actress Ursula Jeans – she was born in India to British parents. She was a stage actress from her mid-teens.

Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans

Above: Roger Livesey and Ursula Jeans in the play “Watch on the Rhine,”

One of her later film appearances was as   in The Dam Busters (1955) playing Barnes Wallis wife and just before this was in The Night My Number Came Up – and straight after came North West Frontier.  She was frequently on television in Dr Finlays Casebook and Dixon of Dock Green and in such American productions as the 1963 video staging of Hedda Gabler with Ingrid Bergman in the title role.  She had been previously married to actor Robert Irvine

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (7)

7 Responses to “Roger Livesey Stage and Film Actor – and his wife Ursula Jeans”

  1. M Ll. Davies says:

    Not enough recognition and info on his Welsh ( Cymro ) background

    • Movieman says:

      Possibly not but having read about Roger Livesey, it seems that he was born in Barry, but went to school in London and lived around there much of his life and died in Watford. Maybe he did go home to Wales often I just don’t know. He certainly is a favourite of mine. He was married to Ursula Jeans as you know, and she was born in India. I am sure that he was a proud Welshman. Thanks for your comment

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  5. Karen Jones says:

    Actually, Roger Livesey wasn’t Welsh at all. He was English, but his family had a traveling acting troupe, and Wales was where his mother gave birth to him. I have been fairly obsessed (LOL) with him since I first saw I Know Where I’m Going! only three years ago. Can’t get enough of Roger.

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks for your comment Karen. I had thought that he was Welsh until you left this message. What surprises me is, that you only discovered and watched ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ about three years ago as it has often been shown on TV over the years. It is a wonderful film and he is terrific in the part. I think that it was his very best screen role. Acting was obviously steeped in his blood all of his life. I didn’t know much about his wife although I remember her in ‘North West Frontier’ – I think that they did a lot of stage plays together. Roger also played opposite Errol Flynn in ‘The Master of Ballantrae’ in the fifties.

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