George's Leading Ladies
Star of Spare a Copper by Eleanor Dugan      "Oh, George, you're wonderful!" Few of George Formby's leading ladies delivered that requisite line more brightly or had less time on screen than Dorothy Hyson, daughter of musical comedy star Dorothy Dickson. Yet, elsewhere, Hyson made quite an impression. "She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen," said actor Anthony Quayle of his future wife. His first reaction precipitated one of the great love stories of the modern theatre -- and, not unusually, one in which both participants were already married. They first met in a 1936 West End dramatization of Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice. Hyson was the recent bride of actor Robert Douglas and Quayle was married to actress Hermione Hannen. Still married, they met again in 1939 when they appeared with Vivien Leigh in Tyrone Guthrie's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Vic. Quayle said he was again "transfixed with her beauty combined with a radiant lightness of heart. There and then I fell totally in love." But Quayle assumed that Hyson was happily married, and said nothing. Only after she was divorced in 1945 did he speak up. She rejected him at first, but he divorced his wife, and, eventually, they married on June 3, 1947. Hyson was born Dorothy Wardell Heisen on Dec. 24, 1914 in Chicago, only child of the American-born musical comedy star Dorothy Dickson and her husband, Carl Constantine Heisen, a noted ballroom dancer. Her acting debut was at age three, playing Dorothy Dickson's daughter in a 1917 silent film shot at New York's Paramount studios. Director George Fitzmaurice found that he could get Hyson to sob and cry on cue merely by speaking to her severely.  In 1921, Hyson's parents settled in Britain where they ultimately divorced. Dorothy Dickson scored a bit success as the star of Jerome Kern's Sally and became London's highest paid star. One result of this new affluence was that Hyson was sent to a series of schools in England and France, but "Little Dot" also managed several West End appearances in children's roles. James Agate hailed the young teenager as "the comedienne of the future," and Sybil Thorndike told her mother, "She's going to be a star." Hyson's made her adult debut at age eighteen in a 1932 Ivor Novello play. Her beauty quickly brought her film roles, and she continued to alternate between the screen and the theatres of London and New York, achieving her greatest success on the stage. As Lady Windemere in John Gielgud's 1945 production of Lady Windemere's Fan, Hyson was hailed as the quintessential Oscar Wilde heroine. After her 1947 marriage to Anthony Quayle, she devoted herself to his career and to their three children. She hated Hollywood -- why is uncertain -- and this dislike convinced Quayle not to accept an MGM contract in 1948. He went on to make more than sixty films and appeared on TV. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1952 and knighted in 1985. Quayle and Hyson were devoted for forty-two years until his death from cancer in 1989. Despite her increasing health problems, Hyson hosted a performance celebrating the life of Dame Peggy Ashcroft in 1993. The tribute was held at the Playhouse, the same West End theatre where Hyson had made her adult debut sixty-one years earlier while her mother, Dorothy Dickson, had watched her from the royal box. Dickson died in 1995 at the age of 102. Dorothy Hyson suffered a stroke and followed her mother on January 28, 1996, aged 81. The London Times reported that, "During a long and gruelling final illness, she displayed indomitable courage and never lost the charm that had endeared her to everyone who knew her." Films: 1917 - Money Mad (AKA Paying the Piper) 1933 - Soldiers of the King 1933 - The Ghoul 1933 - That's a Good Girl 1933 - Turkey Time 1934 - Happy 1934 - A Cup of Kindness 1934 - The Woman in Command 1940 - Spare a Copper 1940 - Now You're Talking 1940 - You Will Remember Stage appearances include: Quality Street - 1927 The Young Visitor - 1928 Flies in the Sun - 1932 Saturday's Children - 1933 That's a Good Girl - 1933 Turkey Time (with Tom Walls & Ralph Lynn) - 1933 Touch Wood (with Flora Robson) - 1934 The Ringmaster (with Laurence Olivier) 1934 Most of the Game - 1935 Pride and Prejudice (with Celia Johnson) - 1936 A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1939 Pink String and Sealing Wax - 194? Scandal at Barchester - 1944 Lady Windemere's Fan - 1944
Dorothy Hyson
George's Leading Ladies
Star of Spare a Copper by Eleanor Dugan      "Oh, George, you're wonderful!" Few of George Formby's leading ladies delivered that requisite line more brightly or had less time on screen than Dorothy Hyson, daughter of musical comedy star Dorothy Dickson. Yet, elsewhere, Hyson made quite an impression. "She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen," said actor Anthony Quayle of his future wife. His first reaction precipitated one of the great love stories of the modern theatre -- and, not unusually, one in which both participants were already married. They first met in a 1936 West End dramatization of Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice. Hyson was the recent bride of actor Robert Douglas and Quayle was married to actress Hermione Hannen. Still married, they met again in 1939 when they appeared with Vivien Leigh in Tyrone Guthrie's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Old Vic. Quayle said he was again "transfixed with her beauty combined with a radiant lightness of heart. There and then I fell totally in love." But Quayle assumed that Hyson was happily married, and said nothing. Only after she was divorced in 1945 did he speak up. She rejected him at first, but he divorced his wife, and, eventually, they married on June 3, 1947. Hyson was born Dorothy Wardell Heisen on Dec. 24, 1914 in Chicago, only child of the American-born musical comedy star Dorothy Dickson and her husband, Carl Constantine Heisen, a noted ballroom dancer. Her acting debut was at age three, playing Dorothy Dickson's daughter in a 1917 silent film shot at New York's Paramount studios. Director George Fitzmaurice found that he could get Hyson to sob and cry on cue merely by speaking to her severely.  In 1921, Hyson's parents settled in Britain where they ultimately divorced. Dorothy Dickson scored a bit success as the star of Jerome Kern's Sally and became London's highest paid star. One result of this new affluence was that Hyson was sent to a series of schools in England and France, but "Little Dot" also managed several West End appearances in children's roles. James Agate hailed the young teenager as "the comedienne of the future," and Sybil Thorndike told her mother, "She's going to be a star." Hyson's made her adult debut at age eighteen in a 1932 Ivor Novello play. Her beauty quickly brought her film roles, and she continued to alternate between the screen and the theatres of London and New York, achieving her greatest success on the stage. As Lady Windemere in John Gielgud's 1945 production of Lady Windemere's Fan, Hyson was hailed as the quintessential Oscar Wilde heroine. After her 1947 marriage to Anthony Quayle, she devoted herself to his career and to their three children. She hated Hollywood -- why is uncertain -- and this dislike convinced Quayle not to accept an MGM contract in 1948. He went on to make more than sixty films and appeared on TV. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1952 and knighted in 1985. Quayle and Hyson were devoted for forty-two years until his death from cancer in 1989. Despite her increasing health problems, Hyson hosted a performance celebrating the life of Dame Peggy Ashcroft in 1993. The tribute was held at the Playhouse, the same West End theatre where Hyson had made her adult debut sixty-one years earlier while her mother, Dorothy Dickson, had watched her from the royal box. Dickson died in 1995 at the age of 102. Dorothy Hyson suffered a stroke and followed her mother on January 28, 1996, aged 81. The London Times reported that, "During a long and gruelling final illness, she displayed indomitable courage and never lost the charm that had endeared her to everyone who knew her." Films: 1917 - Money Mad (AKA Paying the Piper) 1933 - Soldiers of the King 1933 - The Ghoul 1933 - That's a Good Girl 1933 - Turkey Time 1934 - Happy 1934 - A Cup of Kindness 1934 - The Woman in Command 1940 - Spare a Copper 1940 - Now You're Talking 1940 - You Will Remember Stage appearances include: Quality Street - 1927 The Young Visitor - 1928 Flies in the Sun - 1932 Saturday's Children - 1933 That's a Good Girl - 1933 Turkey Time (with Tom Walls & Ralph Lynn) - 1933 Touch Wood (with Flora Robson) - 1934 The Ringmaster (with Laurence Olivier) 1934 Most of the Game - 1935 Pride and Prejudice (with Celia Johnson) - 1936 A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1939 Pink String and Sealing Wax - 194? Scandal at Barchester - 1944 Lady Windemere's Fan - 1944
Dorothy Hyson