Mary Bell (Mary Bell)

Mary  Bell

Actress, Playwright and novelist. Widow of actor Sir John Mills. Mother of Juliet, Jonathon, and Hayley Mills. Best known for her 1958 novel “Whistle Down the Wind,” which would later become a stage production and a film starring her daughter Hayley. Mary Hayley Bell was born in Shanghai, China where her father was a customs official. She attended school in England and set out to become an actress, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She made her stage debut in 1932 in Shanghai, in “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” with an American touring company. She appeared on stage in England, Australia, and America. She met John Mills in the early 1930s. They would meet again after his first marriage ended and she had been jilted by her fiancĂ©. They married on January 16, 1941. In november daughter Juliet was born, Hayley came in 1946, and Jonathon in 1949. Her first focus was her family. She also kept a close eye on Hayley as she became a child star at age 14. Mary had time to write four plays in which John appeared: “Men in Shadow,” “Duet for Two Hands,” “Angel,” and “The Uninvited Guest.” In 1958 she wrote her famous novel. “Whistle Down the Wind,” which was the story of three children who mistake an escaped murderer for Jesus Christ. In 1961 it was turned into a film. Mary co-wrote the film “Sky West and Crooked.” The film once again starred Hayley and was directed by her husband, John. In 1968 she wrote her autobiography, “What Shall We Do Tomorrow?” In 1981 she wrote a book about the family dog entitled, “Mr Chips.” Her later years were not as productive. She lost her vision, suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, and was confined to a wheelchair. On January 16, 2001 she was able to walk up the aisle with John when they renewed their wedding vows on their 60th anniversary. Due to the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, she was unable to attend the funeral of her husband of 64 years, John, after he died on April 23, 2005.

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  • January, 22, 1911
  • China


  • December, 01, 2005


  • St Mary the Virgin Churchyard
  • England

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