Joan Rice the 'new' Jean Simmons

Joan Rice (1930-1997)

Joan Rice passed away on January 1st 1997 - she was 66 years old. This blog is dedicated to her memory. So I thought I would begin this new year with an interesting piece about Joan from The Courier-Mail, an Australian newspaper based in Brisbane. It is dated Tuesday 6th February 1951. This was twelve days before it was formerly announced that Joan had been chosen to portray Maid Marian alongside Richard Todd as Robin Hood, in Walt Disney's second live-action feature The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952).

'The Courier-Mail', Brisbane

Below is a transcript of the article:

London February 5: Arthur Rank's experts acclaim a 21 year old waitress Joan Rice, as a future Jean Simmons. Joan last week received a two year Rank contract. It was an exciting coming-of-age for Joan was 21 last Saturday.  She heard the news after the West End preview of "Blackmailed," the film that established her.  She found her way to the screen by serving a coffee to a film extra. Joan plays an artists model on the run from a reform school. There is no glamour in the part. Until this opportunity came along she was earning £3.0.9d. and living in one room at Clapham. "Blackmailed" promoted her to £20 a week and a bachelor flat in St. James'.

Joan Rice taken by Charles Trigg on October 11th 1950

The back of the press picture (above) of Joan Rice taken by Charles Trigg on the 11th October 1950 reads:
“A new portrait of 19 year old Joan Rice who has the part of Alma, an artist’s model in ‘The Blackmailer’ [Blackmailed]. 'The Blackmailer', Harold Huth's independent production at Pinewood studios stars Fay Compton, Mai Zetterling, Dirk Bogarde, Robert Flemyng and Harold Huth with James Robertson Justice."

Also included on the back of the picture is a hand written note:

”Joan’s short ‘laffela ‘ evening dress the little cover-up ‘boleru’ was originally a jacket but Joan had it altered into a boleru as she felt that this looked more youthful.”


Dirk Bogarde and Joan Rice in 'Blackmailed' (1951)

I think you will agree that this is yet another fascinating insight into the start of 'our' Joan's film career.

There are now over 74 pages on this blog about her life and career, please click here to see them.


Clement Glen said...

Post a Comment On: Walt Disney's Story Of Robin Hood

If you have any memories of Joan Rice please get in touch.

"Joan Rice the 'new' Jean Simmons"

Neil said...

This is a brilliant find Clement and the write up gives us a little more detail on her - and in this case where she lived. She certainly went up market to St.James for her flat when she got the film contract. What we don't know - and never will know is - why she came to London in the first place. I have a belief that in life we are all led in certain directions and I am pretty sure this is the case here.

Clement Glen said...

Yes, it is interesting how she moved down the country. London has always drawn the young with its attractions and nightlife. Joan might have had dreams of entering show business and London was certainly the hub of all that.

Neil said...

Well perhaps you are right with her motive to seek stardom in London in Show Business - and if that is so, she certainly achieved this in double quick time.