Flora Robson

Dame Flora McKenzie Robson, DBE (28 March 1902 – 7 July 1984) was an English actress, renowned as a character actress, who played roles ranging from queens to villainesses. Robson was born in South Shields, County Durham of Scottish descent to a family of six siblings. Many of her forebears were engineers, mostly in shipping. Her father was a ship's engineer who moved from Wallsend to Palmers Green in 1907 and Southgate in 1910 and later Welwyn Garden City. She was educated at the Palmers Green High School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her father discovered that Flora had a talent for recitation and, from the age of five, she was taken around by horse and carriage to recite, and to compete in recitations. This established a pattern that remained with her. Robson made her stage debut in 1921, at aged 19. Standing 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m), but lacking the glamorous looks of a leading lady (with her high forehead, wide mouth and imposing nose), she specialised in character roles, notably that of Queen Elizabeth I in both Fire Over England (1937) and The Sea Hawk (1940). At the age of 32, Robson played the Empress Elizabeth in Alexander Korda's Catherine the Great (1934).


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