Helena Carroll
Helena Carroll Publicity Photo.jpg
Helena Carroll Publicity Photo
Helena Winifred Carroll

(1928-11-13)13 November 1928
Died31 March 2013(2013-03-31) (aged 84)
Years active1950-2013

Helena Winifred Carroll (13 November 1928 – 31 March 2013) was a veteran film, television and stage actress.

Early life

Born to clothing designer Helena Reilly and Abbey Theatre playwright Paul Vincent Carroll,[1] she was the youngest of three sisters. Her elder sisters were Theresa Elizabeth Perez (1924–2001), a classically trained musician and the producer/founder of the People's Pops Concerts in Phoenix, Arizona, and journalist Kathleen Moira Carroll (1927–2007).[2]

Carroll attended Clerkhill Notre Dame High School, a Roman Catholic convent school in Dumbarton.

Stage career

Carroll received her acting training at the Central School which later became the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art London, appearing in three plays in London's West End and a film, Midnight Episode, by age 20. She made her Broadway debut in Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan. She moved to the U.S. during the 1950s, touring and performing on Broadway and co-founded, with Dermot McNamara,[who?] The Irish Players, a repertory theater company in Manhattan.[3][4]

Helena split her stage work between Dublin, London and New York,[5] appearing on Broadway in, among other productions the original production of Oliver! as Mrs. Sowerberry, as well as Pickwick, Design for Living, Waiting in the Wings, and the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton revivals of Private Lives (New York and Los Angeles).[6] Her last stage performance was in 2007 at the age of 78.

Film and television

At the dawn of television, Miss Carroll played the leading role of Nora, in a television production of her father's play, The White Steed (1959 Play of the Week Series), directed by Joe Gisterak. Gisterak directed a 1980 commissioned opera of her father's play, Beauty is Fled, as part of the "Children's Opera Series", which her sister, Theresa Perez founded. The opera was performed at the Phoenix Symphony Hall.

Prompted by friends who had preceded her to Los Angeles, producer Al Simon and casting director Caro Jones (the latter of whom gave Les Moonves, now president of CBS, his first job in the biz), Carroll moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s and appeared in numerous films and television programs, including the lively Aunt Kate in John Huston's Academy Award-nominated film The Dead. Other works in Hollywood included The Friends of Eddie Coyle starring Robert Mitchum, The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin, The Mambo Kings, the Warren Beatty remake of Love Affair, the 1979 NBC mini-series Backstairs at the White House,[7] and such television programs as Kojak, General Hospital, The Edge of Night, Loving Couples, Laverne and Shirley, Murder She Wrote, etc.[8]


Carroll resided in Los Angeles, and died in Marina del Rey, California from heart failure on 31 March 2013 at the age of 84. She is survived by a half brother, Brian Carroll; a niece, Helena Perez Reilly; and a great-nephew, Paul Vincent Reilly.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Midnight Episode Nurse
1973 The Friends of Eddie Coyle Sheila Coyle
1979 The Jerk Hester
1980 Loving Couples Prudence
1981 Ghost Story Mrs. Meredith
1982 The Clairvoyant Bag Lady
1986 Bad Guys Elsie
1987 The Dead Aunt Kate
1989 Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat Madge
1990 Rocky V Woman Drinker
1992 The Mambo Kings Mrs. Shannon
1994 Love Affair Dorothy


  1. ^ “Obituary Notices: Carroll, Helena Winifred.” Los Angeles Times, 5 April 2013
  2. ^ “Death Notices: Carroll, Kathleen M.” Daily News, 17 January 2007
  3. ^ Bolton, Whitney. “Best of Broadway.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 October 1958
  4. ^ Obituary for Helena Carroll, New York Times, 11 April 2013.
  5. ^ Lebherz, Richard. “People in Profile: Helena Carroll.” The News, 14 October 1970
  6. ^ Helena Carroll's IBDb profile; accessed 13 April 2014.
  7. ^ O’Haire, Pat. “Check ‘em at the door.” Daily News, 26 May 1978
  8. ^ Helena Carroll's IMDb profile; accessed 13 April 2014.
  9. ^ Obituary for Helena Carroll in Variety; accessed 13 April 2014.