Phyllis Calvert, who topped British cinema in the 1940s with her niceness and good looks in Gainsborough Studio “regency romps” of costumers and customs, died in her sleep Tuesday Oct. 8 of natural causes in a London hospital. She was 87.
Born Phyllis Bickle in London, she began as a dancer and segued to acting after suffering an injury. She debuted onstage in 1925 and film two years later, but didn’t hit popularity until she made her mark in such Gainsborough pics as “Fanny by Gaslight,” “Kipps,” “Madonna of the Seven Moons,” “They Were Sisters” and “The Man in Grey.” Later films include “Mandy,” “Oh! What a Lovely War,” “Oscar Wilde” and “It’s Never Too Late.”
Considerable stage work included Peter Pan” (with her future husband, Peter Murray Hill, as Captain Hook), “Escapade,” Present Laughter,” “Blithe Spirit,” Death Of A Heart” and “The Cherry Orchard.” She made her final stage in 1989 in “The Heiress.”
TV work included “Kate” in the 1970s and “House of Eliot” in the 1990s.
She came out of retirement in 1997 to appear in the film adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway.”
She is survived by a son, daughter and a grandson.