Valerie French – British Film Actress

I mainly know Valerie French for her leading role in ‘The Secret of Treasure Mountain’ released in 1956 which was a supporting film and not a major Western but nonetheless it is a film I like.

Prior to this she had a starring role in the excellent Glenn Ford Western ‘Jubal’ having only the previous year left England to make her home in California.

She never really cracked into the big time but did lots of Television shows of the day and then went back to Theatre where she seemed to have been more successful

After she left England, Valerie set up home in Malibu where her neighbours included Kim Novak, Shirley MacLaine, and Rod Steiger – and Elvis Presley had rented a cottage nearby from Hugh O’Brien at that time. She loved the location but during the frequent times when she was involved with a film, she had little time at home to enjoy it.

Valerie always dreamed of Hollywood even in the days that she was on the bus heading for rehearsals in London at the Saville Theatre – this I remember was the very Theatre that, just over a decade after this, we went to see Chuck Berry and Del Shannon perform there – what a night that was.

ABOVE – Valerie French looking lovely in ‘Jubal’

Valerie French was a British film, television, and stage actress. Born Valerie Harrison in London, England, she attended Malvern Girls’ College in Worcestershire. In 1951 she made her stage debut in Treasure Hunt at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. French’s early career was marked by her popularity as a young starlet who was frequently photographed attending show premieres and parties in London during the early 1950s. In 1954, she made her film debut in Maddalena, and the following year she was hired as a contract actress for Columbia Pictures. After moving to the United States in 1955, French acted in several western films in Hollywood, such as Jubal (1956), The Hard Man (1957), and Decision at Sundown (1957).

Valerie French had roles in several television series throughout her career, appearing in over twenty shows between 1953 and 1982. During the 1950s and 1960s she acted in multiple episodes of The Edge of Night, Alcoa Theatre, and Have Gun-Will Travel. French’s stage career took off in the 1960s; her Broadway credits include Inadmissible Evidence (1965), Help Stamp Out Marriage! (1966), and A Taste of Honey (1981).

Valerie French was married and divorced twice, first to playwright and screenwriter Michael Pertwee in 1952, and later to actor Thayer David. She died of leukemia in 1990

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