Joan Rice with baby Michael

Joan Rice sadly passed away on January 1st 1997. This blog is dedicated to her memory. In Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood, Joan graced the silver screen as Maid Marian and over the last five years I have tried to piece together the life of this beautiful actress.

On February 3rd this year she would have been 82 and no doubt still proud to say how she was handpicked by Walt Disney himself to play the leading lady alongside Richard Todd as Robin Hood. Many of my blog readers and film critics believe she was the best and most influential Maid Marian of all time.

But although her life reads rather like a fairytale, like many it also had its fair share of tragedy. This week Neil has very kindly sent me a press photograph of her dated 7th February 1955. On the reverse side it reads:

“London: Film star Joan Rice is pictured leaving London Airport with her 13-month old son Michael en route to Dublin. She will appear in the play ‘Welcome Stranger’ at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Her husband, film actor Richard Greene saw her off.”

Pasted on the back of the photograph is probably the cutting that later appeared:

“Film actress Joan Rice and her 13-month-old son leave London airport for Dublin, where Miss Rice – Mrs David Green in private life – is appearing in a play.”

Interesting that she is wrongly linked with Richard Greene, the famous television Robin Hood of the 1950’s. Sadly Rank Organisation had dropped her contract by this time and her glamorous film career was declining as quickly as it had begun. Her latest movie ‘One Good Turn’ had been released in cinemas a month before she flew out to Dublin and in this she played Iris, alongside the rising comedy star Norman Wisdom.

I have been informed that her son Michael was born on Christmas Day 1953 which just about fits with the press article. Her family have also told me that he tragically committed suicide in the 1990’s.

To read more about the life of Joan Rice and how she went from being a Lyons ‘Nippy’ to a movie star please click on the 46 relevant links in the side bar and below. If you have any more information about her life, please get in touch at


Clement of the Glen said...

7th February 1955

Joan Rice with baby Michael

Special thanks to Neil

Trish said...

How sad. Was Joan Rice still alive when her son took his life?

Neil said...

That is a very good question that Trish asks here. Was she still alive at the time of this tragic event.If so it would have been a terrible blow for her but if she had just died then it could have been a factor in his death. Also Richard Todd's son committed suicide in 1996 I think. All so tragic for the two people who had featured in such a memorable film.
This photograph shows her setting off to try to become a successful stage actress no doubt with a view to restoring her film career but this too ended and she had to seek work away from acting. What a loss.

Anonymous said...

Hi Clement, have a prosperous and healthy 2012 and keep your wonderful blog going, please!

That is a very dear & special photo Joan and Michael, completely new to me and probably many others... incredible, beautiful picture of Mother and Son, sadly both passed away.

Now am I wrong but where you write "This week she would have been 81" I am confused. Joan's birthday is coming up on Feb. 4, isn't it? And she would have made 82, no?

IMDB says Feb. 3 1930 though so I may be wrong there and my calendar needs correcting.

Also Joan's Obituary here on the blog says Feb. 3 so this is convincing. Anyone?

Clement of the Glen said...

Many thanks for your responses to this post. It is always very gratifying to read your comments.

Trish: Great to hear from you. I was informed by one of Joan’s nephew that Michael was at his mother’s funeral and very sadly took his life a few years afterwards.

Neil: That is a wonderful photograph and thank you so much for sending it in. It is indeed a tragic coincidence that both Richard Todd and Joan Rice had children that took their own lives.

Maria: Firstly it’s lovely to hear from you again I hope you are keeping well. I have now edited my mistakes that you kindly noticed. Yes it was on February 3rd 1930 that she was born and she would have been 82 on that day. I blame all the New Year alcohol for my errors!

Happy 2012 to you all and please keep in touch!

Neil said...

Just a thought. Clement says, and he is correct, that Rank dropped her contract. Now how could that be if she had a 7 year agreement. In those days the studios could get away with anything but it seems odd in that they had loaned her out - very profitably no doubt to Walt Disney and then Warner Bros so you would have thought that Joan would be a prized asset for them. Maybe there is something we do not know.

paulalofting said...

Thanks for thesetitbits about Joan. I agree, she was a very neautiful and enchanting actress. Shame her career did not last long. what year did she die?