Sally Gray (Constance Vera Stevens)

Sally Gray

Sally Gray’s mother was a ballet dancer and her grandmother was a “principal boy” in the 1870s. Born Constance Vera Stevens in Holloway, London, Gray made her stage debut at the age of twelve in All God’s Chillun at the Globe Theatre in London, playing a black boy. She then went back to school for two years, training at Fay Compton’s School of Dramatic Art and then became well established in the theatre before embarking on a series of light comedies, musicals and thrillers in the 1930s. Sally Gray began in films in her teens with a bit part in School for Scandal (1930) and returned in 1935, making nearly twenty films, culminating in her sensitive role in Brian Desmond Hurst’s romantic melodrama Dangerous Moonlight (1941). The same year she appeared in the West End musical Lady Behave which had been written by her co-star Stanley Lupino. She was off the screen for several years owing to an alleged nervous breakdown and then returned in 1946 to make her strongest bid for stardom. This latter involved a series of melodramas. They include the hospital thriller Green for Danger (1946), Carnival (1946), and The Mark of Cain (1948). She made two films that, in different ways, capture some of the essence of postwar Britain: Alberto Cavalcanti’s They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) (as a gangster’s moll) and the stagebound Silent Dust (1948). She also appeared in Edward Dmytryk’s film noir piece Obsession (1949), in which she plays Robert Newton’s faithless wife. Her final film was the spy yarn Escape Route (1952).

RKO executives, impressed with Sally Gray, authorised producer William Sistrom to offer her a long-term contract if she would move to the United States. John Paddy Carstairs, director of The Saint in London, also thought she could be a star. However, she declined the offer and instead retired in 1952 after secretly marrying The 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, an Anglo-Irish peer, and lived in County Mayo, Ireland. In the early 1960s, they returned to England and settled in a flat in Eaton Place, Belgravia, London. They had no children. Lady Oranmore and Browne died in September 2006. Sally Gray is buried at Ashbrittle, Somerset. There is a plaque erected in the chancel of St John the Baptist parish church there to her memory.

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Born

  • February, 14, 1916
  • United Kingdom
  • Holloway, London, England

Died

  • September, 24, 2006
  • United Kingdom
  • London, England

Cemetery

  • Saint John the Baptist Churchyard
  • Ashbrittle, Somerset, England
  • United Kingdom

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