Ethel Griffies
Griffies in Jane Eyre (1943)
Ethel Woods

(1878-04-26)26 April 1878
Died9 September 1975(1975-09-09) (aged 97)
London, England
Years active1881–1967
Walter Beaumont
(m. 1900; died 1910)
(m. 1917; died 1956)

Ethel Griffies (born Ethel Woods; 26 April 1878 – 9 September 1975) was an English actress of stage, screen, and television. She is remembered for portraying the ornithologist Mrs. Bundy in Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Birds (1963). She appeared in stage roles in her native England and in the United States, and had featured roles in around 100 motion pictures. Griffies was one of the oldest working actors in the English-speaking theatre at the time of her death at 97 years old. She acted alongside such stars as May Whitty, Ellen Terry, and Anna Neagle.


Griffies was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire,[1] the daughter of actor and manager Samuel Rupert Woods and actress Lillie Roberts. Taken onstage at the age of three, she continued to act for the next 86 years.[1]

Griffies married actor Walter Beaumont in 1900, and he died in 1910. In 1917, she married actor Edward Cooper,[1]: _72  who predeceased his wife by almost two decades.

On 9 September 1975, in London,[1]: 75  Griffies died of a stroke.[2]


Griffies appeared in numerous plays, making her theatre debut in London in 1899. Having made brief cameos in films since 1917, she started a full career in the industry by 1930 in the film version of the play Old English, and appeared in her more than 90 film and television roles in a career that lasted until her retirement in 1967. She played Grace Poole in two versions of Jane Eyre, the 1934 Monogram version and the better-known 1943 version. One of her last well-known roles was the elderly ornithologist Mrs. Bundy in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). She also performed in Billy Liar, the same year as The Birds.

Griffies in Jane Eyre in 1934
Griffies in Stranger on the Third Floor

Filmography (selected)


  1. ^ a b c d Nissen, Axel (2016). Accustomed to Her Face: Thirty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 71–75. ISBN 9781476626062. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  2. ^ Calta, Louis (12 September 1975). "Ethel Griffies, Who at 97 Was Oldest Working Actress, Dies" – via