Rosemary Harris Biography

(English Actress Best Known for Her Film ‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’)

Birthday: September 19, 1927 (Virgo)

Born In: Ashby, United Kingdom

Rosemary Harris is an English actor, best recognized as ‘Aunt May Parker’ from the 'Spider-man' movie series. An associate member of RADA, she is an award-winning stage artist with an illustrious theatre career. In her career of around 70 years, Rosemary has not only entertained the audience in the UK but also made a mark in Hollywood. She is an 'American Theatre Hall of Fame' inductee. On television, she has delivered some award-winning performances in 'Holocaust' and 'Notorious Woman.' Rosemary is active in the theatre circuit and her last performance came in 2019.
Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In September

Also Known As: Rosemary Ann Harris

Age: 96 Years, 96 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: John Ehle (m. 1967), Ellis Rabb (m. 1959 - div. 1967)

father: Stafford Berkely Harris

mother: Enid Maude Frances Harris

children: Jennifer Ehle

Born Country: England

Actresses British Women

Height: 5'4" (163 cm), 5'4" Females

More Facts

education: Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art

Childhood & Early Life
Rosemary was born Rosemary Ann Harris on September 19, 1927, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, to Enid Maude Frances and Stafford Berkely Harris. She and her sister, Pam, were raised on the NW Frontier of India, on the border with Afghanistan.
Rosemary was educated in convent schools, and later attended the 'Royal Academy of Dramatic Art' from 1951 to 1952.
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Rosemary's initial acting career consisted of English repertory theatre productions. In 1948, she performed in 'Kiss and Tell' at Eastbourne and later in 'Black Chiffon' at Penzance.
She first appeared in New York in 'Climate of Eden.' She then moved back to Britain for her first West End performance in 'The Seven Year Itch' at the Aldwych.
Rosemary made her television debut in 1952 with the TV movie 'Tansy Clampett' and then portrayed the iconic Venetian beauty ‘Desdemona’ in the TV movie adaptation of 'Othello' (1955).
She made her big screen debut with the 1954 American-British historical film 'Beau Brummell,' playing ‘Mrs. Maria Anne Fitzherbert,’ the long-time companion of George IV of the United Kingdom.
In 1956, Rosemary played Cressida in Shakespeare's 'Troilus and Cressida,' while in the 1958 musical adaptation of 'A Tale of Two Cities' (based on Charles Dickens' novel), she played the character of ‘Lucie Manette.’
Rosemary won an 'Obie Award' in 1962 for her performance as ‘Lady Teazle’ in the stage adaptation of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy of manners 'The School for Scandal' (1962, 1966-67). She also performed as ‘Virginia’ in 'The Tavern' and appeared as ‘Nina’ in 'The Seagull,’ and won an 'Obie' for both.
Rosemary had a stint with the 'Bristol Old Vic.' and then the 'Old Vic,' for which she twice performed as ‘Ophelia’ from 'Hamlet,' in the opening productions of 'National Theatre Company's (1963) and the 'Royal National Theatre' (1964).
Rosemary has essayed ‘Helena Andreyevna Serebryakov’ (Yelena) in several adaptations of Anton Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya.' She first appeared as ‘Yelena’ in the 1963 British film adaptation, then in TV movie in 1967, and finally in the stage adaption in 1967.
She essayed the fictional character and the female protagonist ‘Cathy Earnshaw’ from Emily Brontë's novel 'Wuthering Heights' in its stage adaptation and as ‘Violet Robinson’ in the 1965 version of George Bernard Shaw's four-act drama 'Man and Superman,' for which she won an 'Obie.'
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She played the lead role in the 1965 adaptation of French dramatist Jean Giraudoux's 'Judith' and won an 'Obie.'
Rosemary won her next 'Obie' award for her portrayal of the central fictional character ‘Natasha Rostov’ of Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace.' She received her first 'Tony' award for playing ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’ in the 1966 original Broadway production of 'The Lion in Winter.' Both the productions were directed by her first husband.
Rosemary appeared as Rex Harrison's on-screen wife, ‘Gabrielle Chandebisse,’ in the 1968 'DeLuxe Color 20th Century Fox' production 'A Flea in Her Ear,' and also reprised the role in the stage adaptation by Georges Feydeau.
She won her second 'Tony' and a 'Drama Desk' award for the 1972 Broadway adaptation of Harold Pinter's 'Old Times' as ‘Anna,’ a character she had originated in 1971 at the 'Aldwych' (a 'Royal Shakespeare Company' production).
In 1973, Rosemary won 'Drama Desk' awards for playing ‘Blanche DuBois’ in the adaptation of Tennessee Williams' 'Pulitzer Prize'-winning play, 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' (staged at Lincoln Center, New York, 1973) and ‘Portia’ in 'The Merchant of Venice.'
Rosemary won a 'Drama Desk Award' and a 'Tony' nomination for her performance as ‘Julie Cavendish’ in the comedy (revival) of 'The Royal Family' on Broadway (1975-1976). She starred as ‘Fanny’ in another revival (September to December 2009) at the 'Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.'
Rosemary portrayed the lead role of the French author ‘George Sand’ in seven episodes of the 1974 'BBC' miniseries 'Notorious Woman' and won a 'Emmy Award' and a 'Golden Globe' nomination.
Rosemary won a 'Golden Globe Award' and an 'Emmy' nomination for her role as ‘Berta Palitz Weiss,’ a talented pianist, in the 1978 'NBC' miniseries 'Holocaust,' starring Meryl Streep. She appeared as ‘Minerva Chisholm’ in the 'CBS' western miniseries 'The Chisholms' (1979-80, 13 episodes).
She played the supporting role of Norfolk –based prominent left-wing historian, ‘Ann Barrington (Harris)’ and the wife of advertising film director ‘Matthew Fox’ (Frank Finlay) in the 1983 British drama film 'The Ploughman's Lunch' that earned her a ‘BAFTA’ nomination.
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Rosemary won a 'Drama Desk Award' and 'Tony' nomination for her performance as ‘Barbara Jackson’ in the 1985 Broadway revival of Hugh Whitemore's 'Pack of Lies.' The following year, she was inducted into the 'American Theatre Hall of Fame.'
Rosemary played the older version of ‘Calypso’ whose younger version was portrayed by her daughter in the 'Channel 4' adaptation of Mary Wesley's novel 'The Camomile Lawn' (1992). They again played young and elderly incarnations of ‘Valerie Sors’ in the 1999 historical drama film 'Sunshine.'
Rosemary earned an 'Oscar' nomination and a 'National Board of Review' award for her supporting role of ‘Rose Robinson Haigh-Wood’ in the 1994 period drama film 'Tom & Viv.' Thereafter she played one of her most famous characters ‘Aunt May Parker’ in 'Spider-Man' (2002) and reprised it subsequently in the second and third sequels as well (2004 and 2007).
Rosemary appeared as the mother of the lead character (by Annette Bening) in the 2004 comedy-drama film 'Being Julia.'
In 2007, she shared the 'Gotham Award' with the cast of the 2007 crime drama thriller feature 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead' in which she essayed the character ‘Nanette.’ That year, Rosemary was felicitated with the 'North Carolina Award' for fine arts.
Rosemary lent her voice to ‘VALIS’ for the film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's dystopian novel 'Radio Free Ablemuth’ (2010). She portrayed ‘Agathe von Trapp,’ the eldest daughter of Georg von Trapp of the ''Trapp Family Singers'' in 'The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music.'
Rosemary was honored with a 'Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre' in 2019.
Family & Personal Life
Rosemary's father had served in the 'Royal Air Force' in NW Frontier of India and won his first 'Distinguished Flying Cross' in 1924.
Rosemary was married to director Ellis Rabb from 4 December 1959 until their divorce in 1967.
She got married to American writer John Ehle had a daughter, Jennifer, in 1969, who is now a prominent film, television, and Broadway actor. John died in 2018.
Rosemary was nominated for a ‘Tony’ award for 'Waiting in the Wings' in 2000. She lost to her daughter.
Despite her 'Tony'-winning performance in 'The Lion in Winter,' the producers, however, thought Katharine Hepburn a better and more popular choice for the role in the film adaptation. Katharine later won an 'Oscar' for her performance.


Golden Globe Awards
1979 Best Actress in a Television Series - Drama Holocaust (1978)
Primetime Emmy Awards
1976 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series Notorious Woman (1974)

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