Margaret Rutherford

Last updated on the 28 March 2024 by Evandrus

Margaret Rutherford poster

Mini Biography

Born: 11 May 1892, Balham, London, England. 

Margaret Rutherford was an English actress who became famous for her roles in comedies and mysteries in the mid-20th century. She was born to William Rutherford Benn and Florence Nicholson. Her father suffered from mental illness and killed his own father in 1883, before being sent to Broadmoor Asylum. Her mother committed suicide when Margaret was three years old and she was raised by her aunt Bessie Nicholson in Wimbledon.

Margaret Rutherford was educated at Wimbledon High School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She worked as a speech teacher before making her stage debut at the Old Vic in 1925, at the age of 33. She soon gained recognition for her comic talent and distinctive appearance, and appeared in many successful plays and films, such as Blithe Spirit, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Happiest Days of Your Life. She also played Miss Marple in four films based on Agatha Christie’s novels, and won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her supporting role as the Duchess of Brighton in The V.I.P.s.

Margaret Rutherford married actor Stringer Davis in 1945 and they often appeared together on screen. They adopted a son, Gordon Langley Hall, who later became a writer and underwent a sex change operation. Rutherford was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1961 and a Dame Commander (DBE) in 1967. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in her later years and died on 22 May 1972 in Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire. She was buried with her husband at St. James’s Church, Gerrards Cross. She is remembered as one of the most beloved and eccentric actresses of British cinema.


Suggested viewing


Blithe Spirit (1945)

Blithe Spirit poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 7.0

Seeking inspiration, a writer invites a quirky medium for a séance, hoping to chat with the beyond. Instead, chaos ensues when he accidentally conjures the ghost of his fiery first wife, much to the dismay of his current spouse. The ghostly ex wreaks havoc, meddling in their lives and driving the living wife mad with jealousy. Desperate, they scramble for solutions, leading to hilariously disastrous attempts to banish the mischievous spirit, culminating in a surprising twist that leaves everyone questioning life, death and love beyond the grave.

Top cast: Rex Harrison, Kay Hammond, Constance Cummings, Margaret Rutherford, Hugh Wakefield, Joyce Carey, Jacqueline Clarke.

The V.I.P.s (1963)

The V.I.P.s poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.3

Fog grounds a transatlantic flight, trapping wealthy passengers at London’s Heathrow. Tensions simmer as secrets unravel: a glamorous actress plots to leave her tycoon husband, a producer desperately juggles finances and a rising starlet, and a businessman struggles to save his company. As delays stretch on, hidden desires, career anxieties and personal crises collide, forcing each VIP to confront their choices and navigate the unexpected turbulence of life.

Top cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Margaret Rutherford, Maggie Smith, Rod Taylor, Orson Welles, Linda Christian, Dennis Price, Richard Wattis, Martin Miller.

Murder at the Gallop (1963)

Murder at the Gallop poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.2

While raising charity funds, the seemingly harmless Miss Marple stumbles upon a suspicious death. A wealthy recluse dies after a fall but feline alibis and whispers of inheritance ignite her detective spirit. Unveiling family secrets and hidden motives, the unassuming spinster exposes a cunning killer, proving appearances can be as deceptive as a gallop to the finish line.

Top cast: Margaret Rutherford, Stringer Davis, Robert Morley, Flora Robson, Charles Tingwell, Gordon Harris, Robert Urquhart, Katya Douglas, James Villiers.

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950)

The Happiest Days of Your Life

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 7.2

Chaos erupts when a bureaucratic blunder merges a proper girls’ school with a rowdy boys’ school. Heads clash, pranks fly and hormones rage as students and staff navigate the sudden co-ed situation. Amidst the mayhem, an unlikely romance blossoms, challenging traditions and proving that sometimes, the happiest days are the most unexpected.

Top cast: Top cast: Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell, Richard Wattis, Guy Middleton, George Cole, Terry-Thomas, Lionel Jeffries.

Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


Margaret Rutherford Gallery


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