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Virginia McKenna

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Years active  1952–Present
Children  Bill Travers Jr.
Role  Actress
Name  Virginia McKenna

Virginia McKenna Virginia McKenna Pictures Photos amp Images Zimbio

Born  7 June 1931 (age 84) (1931-06-07) Marylebone, London, England
Spouse  Bill Travers (m. 1957–1994), Denholm Elliott (m. 1954–1957)
Books  The Life in My Years, Some of My Friends Have Tails
Movies  Born Free, The Smallest Show on, Carve Her Name with Pride, A Town Like Alice, Ring of Bright Water
Similar People  Bill Travers, Joy Adamson, George Adamson, Denholm Elliott, Basil Dearden

Organizations founded  Born Free Foundation

British actress virginia mckenna turns 83

Virginia Anne McKenna OBE (born 7 June 1931) is a British stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner.


Virginia McKenna Virginia McKenna Pictures Photos amp Images Zimbio

Virginia McKenna receives British Animal Honour from Brian May & Anita Dobson 11 Apr 2013

Early life

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McKenna was born in Marylebone to a theatrical family and was educated at Heron's Ghyll School, a former independent boarding school near the market town of Horsham in Sussex. She spent six years in South Africa before returning to the School at the age of fourteen, after which she attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London.


Virginia McKenna Virginia McKenna Wikipedia

McKenna worked on stage in London's West End theatres before making her film debut in 1952. She continued to appear in both films and on stage. From 1954–55 she was a member of the Old Vic theatre company and was married for a few months in 1954 to bisexual actor Denholm Elliott, whom she met on the set of The Cruel Sea. Their marriage ended, owing to his affairs with men. Her second husband was actor Bill Travers, with whom she had four children and to whom she was married until his death in 1994.

Virginia McKenna Born Free actress Virginia McKenna reveals how 30 years on shes

In 1956, McKenna won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film A Town Like Alice and two years later was nominated for Best Actress again, for her role as the Second World War SOE agent Violette Szabo, in 1958's Carve Her Name with Pride.

Virginia McKenna BBC Blogs The Archers Remembering Grace and Welcoming Virginia

However, McKenna is best remembered for her 1966 role as Joy Adamson in the true-life film Born Free for which she received a nomination for a Golden Globe. Her husband Bill Travers co-starred with her, portraying conservationist George Adamson, and the experience led them to become active supporters for wild animal rights as well as the protection of their natural habitat. McKenna appeared in An Elephant Called Slowly, a travelogue of what it was like years ago in Kenya. The film features her close friend conservationist George Adamson and also elephants Eleanor (brought up by conservationist Daphne Sheldrick) and young Pole Pole. The subsequent premature death of Pole Pole in London Zoo was to lead to McKenna and her husband launching the Zoo Check Campaign in 1984 and to their establishing the "Born Free Foundation" in 1991. In 1984 McKenna was involved with a protest against the poor conditions at Southampton Zoo which was closed a year later.

Virginia McKenna My Romance with Movies Virginia McKenna Bill Travers

On the stage, in 1979 she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a British musical for her performance opposite Yul Brynner in The King and I. Over the years she appeared in more films but was also very active with television roles and on stage where she continues to make occasional appearances.

McKenna has also been responsible for helping create and furnish the Gavin Maxwell Museum on Eilean Bàn, the last island home of Maxwell, an author and naturalist, most famous for his book Ring of Bright Water. McKenna and husband Bill Travers starred in the 1969 film adaptation of the book.

Other interests

In 2004, McKenna was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to wildlife and to the arts. Her autobiography, The Life in My Years, was published by Oberon Books in March 2009.

In 1975 she released an album of twelve songs called Two Faces of Love, which included two of her own compositions and a sung version of the poem "The Life That I Have" from the film Carve Her Name with Pride. The record was released on the Gold Star label with two line drawings of McKenna by her sister-in-law Linden Travers, but these were replaced by a photograph when the album was reissued on the Rim label in 1979.

Her audiobook work includes The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and narration of The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright.

Non-fiction films

  • The Lions are Free is the real life continuation of Born Free. This film tells about what happened to the lions that were in the film Born Free. Bill Travers, who had starred with McKenna, wrote, produced and directed the film, along with James Hill, the director of Born Free. Travers and Hill went to a remote area in Kenya to visit with the noted conservationist George Adamson. The film has amazing scenes of George and Bill interacting with lions who are living free.
  • Christian: The Lion at World's End is a documentary (with a reenaction sequence at the beginning) about the now-famous lion's journey from a London store to George Adamson's reserve in Kenya. Virginia McKenna and her husband, Bill Travers, had a chance meeting with Christian and his owners Ace Bourke and John Rendall. Through McKenna and Travers' connection with George Adamson, the lion was successfully brought to Africa and taught how to fend for himself.
  • Discography

  • Two Faces of Love LP, Gold Star 15-030, 1975. Reissued as Rim RIM 5001, 1979.
  • The Love That I Have (Violette)/Homage to Renoir 45 rpm single, Sovereign SOV 125, 1974.
  • The Love That I Have/Send In the Clowns 45 rpm single, RIM 002, 1979.
  • References

    Virginia McKenna Wikipedia