Joan became a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when she was 16 and after less than a year was signed to an exclusive film contract by the J. Arthur Rank Organization.
Under that British contract Joan made several films, such as I BELIEVE IN YOU with Laurence Harvey and Celia Johnson, DECAMERON NIGHTS with Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan, OUR GIRL FRIDAY with Kenneth More and George Cole, and also built a successful stage career. Her first major theatrical role was as Sabina in Thornton Wilder’s THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, and other leading roles included THE SEVENTH VEIL, THE PRAYING MANTIS, JASSY and CLAUDIA & DAVID. Shortly after she was put on contract to Twentieth Century Fox and went to Hollywood
Some of her more memorable early Hollywood films are THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING, RALLY ROUND THE FLAG BOYS THE VIRGIN QUEEN, THE OPPOSITE SEX, LAND OF THE PHARAOHS, ROAD TO HONG KONG and THE BIG SLEEP. She has worked with great movie legends including Richard Burton, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly, Bob Hope, Shirley Maclaine, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Edward G. Robinson, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Nigel Hawthorne.
In the last two decades she has starred notably in Steven Berkoff’s DECADENCE; Kenneth Branagh’s IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, a film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival to critical acclaim; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR DREAMCOAT, with Donny Osmond and Richard Attenborough; THE CLANDESTINE MARRIAGE, an 18th century period comedy with the late Nigel Hawthorne; the Flintstone’s prequel movie VIVA ROCK VEGAS, executive produced by Steven Speilberg; THESE OLD BROADS with Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley MacLaine and Debbie Reynolds. Her film FETISH garnered Joan the Best Actress awards at both LA Short Film Fest and the New York City International Film Festival. She released two more films in the last year: SAVING SANTA and MOLLY MOON: THE INCREDIBLE HYPNOTIST and she just filmed a cameo in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE. She is currently in development for her newest feature film, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, co-starring Pauline Collins – a story of two strangers who unite to unshackle their binds and pursue their dreams, continuing the story that “Thelma & Louise” could have left untold.
These are just some of the poster from Dame Joan’s career