Joan Rice : One in Five Thousand

Joan Rice 

This web site is dedicated to the memory of Joan Rice (1930-1997). Down the years I have researched her life and film career. She was personally chosen by Walt Disney to play the part of Maid Marian in his live-action film The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, which was filmed in England between April and July 1951. 

This interesting Daily Mirror article dated January 13th 1951 - right at the start of Joan Rice's career - reveals the confidence and expectation that Joan Rice would become the next 'Jean Simmons.' It was written by the renown British journalist Donald Zec:

Juggling with tea-trays gave Joan screen poise
'I say that Joan Rice, 20 ex waitress, will one day become the new Jean Simmons. We can't afford to lose her to Hollywood. 
And my judgement is based on the two performances I saw yesterday. The first was a film test made a year ago after she was "spotted" in a tea shop.
The second was an excerpt from Blackmailed a film she has completed with Dirk Bogarde.

Joan Rice in the Daily Mirror article

She has changed from a raw beginner to a near flawless, sensitive and intensely movie actress. There is a touch of Bergman in her brown eyes and gleaming smile.
Carrying heavily packed trays between cafe tables has giver her the poise and movement of a third-year drama school student.
But how did she become an actress?
Howard Huth the producer who gave her the part (he discovered Greer Garson) told me: "half of it was that she has the touch of magic possessed by perhaps one in five thousand-a vivid imagination, which projects her right into the part.
"For the rest, we bought her nice clothes and took her to smart restaurants. It was delightful to watch her pleasure as she was waited on-instead of being the waitress."'
 Daily Mirror January 13th 1951 
After this article was printed in the Daily Mirror, Joan's career did take-off and there are now 86 pages about her life and career on this blog. Just click here to read more.

If you have any memories of Joan Rice, or knew her personally, please get in touch.


Clement Glen said...

I am sure this article will be of interest to my blog readers.

Anonymous said...

What more can we say about Joan Rice ? We suffer exasperation and disappointment that her career at once so promising then came to a seemingly abrupt end. This article explains well that she possessed that rare quality that makes someone stand out from the crowd and it was something that Walt Disney picked up on straight away although both Ken Annakin and Richard Todd did not. That in my view underlines why they all did what they did with their own skills - something that is often confirmed when an actor turns to being a Director - sometimes it works but often it does not. Keep up the good work Clement - I speak as a regular reader - one among many I would think.

Neil said...

The last comment was from NEIL - but somehow it has been published as Anonymous which I don't like.

Clement Glen said...

Thanks for the encouragement Neil.