Rosalie Crutchley
Born(1920-01-04)4 January 1920
London, England
Died28 July 1997(1997-07-28) (aged 77)
Marylebone, London, England
Years active1947–1997
Spouse(s)Peter Ashmore (1946–?) (divorced) (2 children)
Dan Cunningham (1939–?) (divorced)
ChildrenJonathan Ashmore
Catherine Ashmore

Rosalie Sylvia Crutchley (4 January 1920 – 28 July 1997) was a British actress. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Crutchley was perhaps best known for her television performances, but had a long and successful career in theatre and films, making her stage debut as early as 1932,[1] and her screen debut in 1947.[2]

She had dark piercing eyes and often played foreign or rather sinister characters.[3] She also played many classical roles, including Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Hermione in The Winter's Tale, and Goneril in King Lear.

Crutchley died at The Harley Street Hospital in London in 1997.


Crutchley was born in London on 4 January 1920.[4] She trained at the Royal Academy of Music.[4]

Her screen debut was as a violinist who is murdered in Take My Life (1947).[3] She played Madame Defarge twice in adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities, in both the 1958 film, and in the 1965 television serialisation of the same story.[2]

She played Catherine Parr in the 1970 TV series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and played the same character in its sequel, Elizabeth R (1971).[4] She had previously portrayed Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon in the 1953 film The Sword and the Rose.[5]

Other roles included Mrs Sparsit in Hard Times (ITV, 1977), and Electra (1974).[6] She also starred in the 1979 BBC TV production of Testament of Youth, playing the role of the Principal of Somerville College, Oxford.[7] She was in the films Quo Vadis (1951), as Acte, the former mistress of the Emperor Nero (Peter Ustinov), and The Haunting (1963), as the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Dudley.[2]

Crutchley also appeared in film adaptations of two A.J. Cronin novels, The Spanish Gardener (1956) and Beyond This Place (1959), and played the flinty maiden aunt in the TV adaptation of Brendon Chase (1980–81).[2] She had two guest roles in Casualty, in 1992 and 1995. She also had a short, but memorable, appearance in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).[4]

She appeared in only one film musical, Man of La Mancha (1972), based on the successful stage production, as Don Quixote's housekeeper.[8] In the role, her less-than-good singing voice was used for intentionally comic effect in the song "I'm Only Thinking of Him".

Her last appearance was in the pilot episode of the TV detective series, Midsomer Murders, playing Lucy Bellringer.[2] This was shown in 1997, shortly before her death.[9]

Crutchley died in London on 28 July 1997.[4]

Personal life

She was married twice, first to actor Dan Cunningham in 1939 and secondly to actor Peter Ashmore in 1946.[10] Both marriages ended in divorce. She had two children, the physicist Jonathan Ashmore and Catherine Ashmore, the theatrical photographer. [11]



Year Title Role Notes
1947 Take My Life Elizabeth Rusman
1950 Prelude to Fame Carlotta Ferugia
1951 The Lady with a Lamp Mrs. Sidney Herbert
1951 Quo Vadis Claudia Acte
1953 Malta Story Carmella Gonzar
1953 The Sword and the Rose Queen Katherine
1954 Flame and the Flesh Francesca
1955 Make Me an Offer Bella
1956 The Gamma People Frau Bikstein
1956 The Spanish Gardener Magdalena
1957 Miracle in Soho Mafalda Gozzi
1957 Seven Thunders Therese Blanchard
1958 A Tale of Two Cities Madame Defarge
1959 Beyond This Place Ella Mathry
1959 The Nun's Story Sister Eleanor
1960 Sons and Lovers Mrs. Leivers
1961 No Love for Johnnie Alice Byrne
1962 Freud: The Secret Passion Amalia Freud
1963 The Haunting Mrs. Dudley
1963 The Model Girl Murder Case Maude Klein
1964 Behold a Pale Horse Teresa Viñolas
1970 Wuthering Heights Mrs. Earnshaw
1971 Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? Miss Henley
1971 Creatures the World Forgot The Old Crone
1971 Blood from the Mummy's Tomb Helen Dickerson
1972 Au Pair Girls Lady Tryke
1973 The House in Nightmare Park Jessica Henderson
1973 And Now the Screaming Starts! Mrs. Luke
1974 Mahler Marie Mahler
1976 The Message Somaya
1983 The Keep Josefa
1988 A World Apart Mrs. Harris
1990 The Fool Mrs. Harris
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Mrs. Beaumont
1994 A Pin for the Butterfly Anna


Year Title Role Notes
1947 The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Juliet Capulet TV film
1947 The Infernal Machine The Sphinx TV film
1948 The Tragedy of King Lear Goneril TV film
1949 Crime Passionel Olga TV film
1949 Ladies in Waiting Janet Garner TV film
1955 The Messenger Mary TV film
1955 Madeleine Madeleine TV film
1955 London Playhouse Tina Bordereau Episode: "A Garden in the Sea"
1956 Colonel March of Scotland Yard Annette Episode: "Death in Inner Space"
1956 Romney Margaret Vaughn TV film
1956 The Gambler Polina Alexandrovna TV film
1956 Nom-de-Plume Elisa Episode: "The Ten Strangers"
1956 Assignment Foreign Legion Lucette Episode: "The Outcast"
1956, 1964 Armchair Theatre Mary Charrington, Miriam Episodes: "Black Limelight", "Cradle Song"
1957 Eye Witness Ruth TV film
1958 Television World Theatre Andromache Episode: "Women of Troy"
1959 The Hill Mary Magdalene TV film
1959 The Flying Doctors Jean Dawson Episode: "The Shock"
1959 Play of the Week Elsa Episode: "The Last Hours"
1960 The Soldier and the Woman Rachel TV film
1961 BBC Sunday-Night Play Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez Episode: "Charley's Aunt"
1961 The Complaisant Lover Mary Rhodes TV film
1961 The Pursuers Vi Webber Episode: "The George Webber Story"
1962 The Winter's Tale Hermione TV film
1962 The Franchise Affair Marion Sharpe 6
1962 Maigret Aimee Malik Episode: "The Dirty House"
1963 Suspense Anna Blake Episode: "Thunder on Sycamore Street"
1963 The Human Jungle Naomi Leigh Brooke Episode: "A Woman with Scars"
1963 Sergeant Cork Victoria Melrose Episode: "The Case of the Sleeping Coachman"
1964 The Full Man Lady MacBeth Episode: "Tragedy"
1964 Festival Mrs. Sarti Episode: "The Life of Galileo"
1964 The Count of Monte Cristo Hermine Danglars Regular role
1965 Hit and Run Georgina Prestley Episodes: "Accident", "Enquiry", "Arrest", "Trial"
1965 A Tale of Two Cities Madame Defarge TV series
1965 Armchair Mystery Theatre Anna Episode: "The Madam"
1965 The Mask of Janus Madame Navachine Episode: "Rendezvous"
1965–1966 The Wednesday Play Mrs. Liddel, Pauline Tenterden, Caridad Mercader Episodes: "Alice", "The Connoisseur", "The Executioner"
1967 The Paradise Makers Inga Swynnerton Episodes: "1.1", "1.2", "1.4", "1.6"
1967 Sanctuary Sister Euphrasia Episode: "The Face of Hunger"
1967 The Prisoner Queen Episode: "Checkmate"
1967–1968 Theatre 625 Maria, Madame Calas Episodes: "The Single Passion", "The Fanatics"
1968 City '68 Enid Somerset Episode: "The Visitors"
1968 Cold Comfort Farm Judith Starkadder TV miniseries
1969 The Possessed Varvara Stavrogin TV miniseries
1969 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Hannah Pritchard Episode: "The Wicked Stage"
1969 Parkin's Patch Miss Craig Episode: "The Deserter"
1970 Manhunt Hortense Episode: "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?"
1970 The Six Wives of Henry VIII Catherine Parr Episode: "Catherine Parr"
1970 Crime of Passion Helene Jeygu Episode: "Helene"
1970–1971 Jackanory Storyteller TV series
1971 Elizabeth R Catherine Parr Episode: "The Lion's Cub"
1973 Country Matters Mrs. Sadgrove Episode: "The Higgler"
1973 Hadleigh Kate Episode: "The Goddaughter"
1973 The Return Mrs. Park TV series
1974 Carrie's War Hepzibah Green Main role
1974 Fall of Eagles Miehen Episode: "Tell the King the Sky Is Falling"
1974, 1976 Play of the Month Clytaemnestra, Mrs. Bagot Episodes: "Electra", "Trilby"
1975 Churchill's People Hildis Episode: "The Conquerors"
1975 Affairs of the Heart Mrs. Costello Episode: "Daisy"
1975 North & South Mrs. Thornton TV miniseries
1976 Bill Brand Mrs. Martin Episode: "Tranquility of the Realm"
1977 Drama Jocasta Episode: "Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles"
1977 The Peppermint Pig Aunt Sarah TV series
1977 Hard Times Mrs. Sparsit TV miniseries
1978, 1984 Play for Today Mrs. Howard, Laura Episodes: "Destiny", "Moving on the Edge"
1979 Horse in the House Gwen Davis Episodes: "Right of Way: Parts 1 & 2"
1979 Testament of Youth Miss Penrose TV miniseries
1980, 1982 BBC2 Playhouse Miss Snell, Beth Episodes: "Gentle Folk", "Passing Through"
1980–1981 Brendon Chase Aunt Ellen TV series
1981 Cribb Mrs. Innocent Episode: "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"
1982 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Simone TV film
1982 Smiley's People Mother Felicity Episodes: "1.5", "1.6"
1982 The Agatha Christie Hour Mrs. Thompson Episode: "The Red Signal"
1983 Chessgame Mary Jenkins Episodes: "Enter Hassan", "The Alamut Ambush"
1983–1985 By the Sword Divided Margaret Main role
1983–1984 Crown Court Eloise Hunter Episodes: "Mother's Boy: Part 1", "The Son of His Father: Part 1"
1984 The Testament of John Mary TV film
1985 Sherlock Holmes Mrs. Lexington Episode: "The Norwood Builder"
1986 The Theban Plays by Sophocles Eurydice Episode: "Theban Plays: Antigone"
1986 Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage Mrs. Price-Ridley TV film
1986 The Alamut Ambush Mary Jenkins TV film
1987 Worlds Beyond Mrs. Pringle Episode: "The Black Tomb"
1987 Great Performers Teresa Episode: "Monsignor Quixote"
1987 Dramarama Miss Brady Episode: "Badger on the Barge"
1988 Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun Mrs. Markham TV film
1988 The Franchise Affair Mrs. Sharpe TV series
1989 Mystery!: Campion Lisa Episodes: "Death of a Ghost: Parts 1 & 2"
1989 Screen One Gladys Episode: "She's Been Away"
1990 God on the Rocks Rosalie Frayling TV film
1991 Dark Season Mrs. Polzinski Episodes: "1.1", "1.2", "1.3"
1992 Anglo Saxon Attitudes Stephanie Houdet TV miniseries
1992, 1995 Casualty Dodie Mitchell, Frances Newton Episodes: "Cascade", "Sacrifice"
1993 Screen Two Mrs. Birt Episode: "Femme Fatale"
1993 Agatha Christie's Poirot Madame Deroulard Episode: "The Chocolate Box"
1993 Lovejoy Evie Smyton Episode: "Taking the Pledge"
1993 Heartbeat Florence Stockwell Episode: "Endangered Species"
1994 Under the Hammer Olga Krupenskya Episode: "The Virgin of Vitebsk"
1994 A Skirt Through History Florence Nightingale Episode: "An Experiment"
1994 Cadfael Juliana Aurifaber Episode: "The Sanctuary Sparrow"
1995 A Village Affair Lettice Deverel TV film
1995 Wycliffe Agnes Currow Episode: "Wild Oats"
1997 Midsomer Murders Lucy Bellringer Episode: "The Killings at Badger's Drift"


  1. ^ The Times, 29 November 1932
  2. ^ a b c d e "Rosalie Crutchley". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Rosalie Crutchley | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  4. ^ a b c d e Vallance, Tom (1 August 1997). "Obituary: Rosalie Crutchley". The Independent. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  5. ^ "The Sword and the Rose (1952) – Ken Annakin | Cast and Crew | AllMovie". AllMovie.
  6. ^ "Rosalie Crutchley".
  7. ^ "Testament of Youth: 1: Buxton 1913". BBC Genome. 4 November 1979. p. 41.
  8. ^ "Man of La Mancha (1972) – Arthur Hiller, Arthur Miller | Cast and Crew | AllMovie". AllMovie.
  9. ^ McCaw, Neil (20 January 2011). Adapting Detective Fiction: Crime, Englishness and the TV Detectives. A&C Black. ISBN 9781847063076 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Obituary: Rosalie Crutchley". The Independent. 18 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Photo Coverage: NT50 – the National Theatre's Birthday Celebrations, with Dench, Mirren, and More!".