Thursday, July 26, 2018

Yvonne Mitchell, Author & Playright

At some point in their career, most actresses feel the need to write an autobiography, but while there are many actresses who penned one of these personal books of praise, there are very few who put a quill in hand to write something more than an autobiography - to write a book. Lilli Palmer, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and Julie Andrews are several actresses that come to mind who have made a name for themselves as authors.....another is Yvonne Mitchell. 

Did you know that this striking English actress was quite an accomplished writer? One of her early works, a play entitled The Same Sky, won an Arts Council playwriting competition in 1951 and was performed at the Nottingham Playhouse that same year. Her writing may have possibly came about from her desire to address her feelings about being Jewish, which was a bit uncommon in the English stage scene. This play is set in London during the Blitz and deals with a romance between a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man and the reaction of their families to this arrangement. 

Mitchell in "Woman in a Dressing Gown" ( 1957 )
Mitchell's husband, Derek Monsey, was a theater critic, journalist, and novelist himself, so they shared a passion for writing as well as for the theater. In 1957, at the height of her career, she wrote her autobiography entitled "Actress". That same year, she penned "Colette", one of the best biographies of the famous French author. Even while she was busy throughout the late-1950s and 1960s making films such as Passionate Summer, Tiger Bay, Sapphire, Conspiracy of Hearts, and The Trials of Oscar Wilde, she didn't put her writing on the backburner. It was during this time that she wrote "The Bed-Sitter" ( 1959 ), "A Year in Time "( 1964 ), "Cathy Away" ( 1964 ), and "The Family" ( 1967 ).

In the 1970s, Mitchell eased away from films and focused more on theater work, nonetheless, she also wrote novels such as: "Martha on Sunday" ( 1970 ), "But Wednesday Cried" ( 1974 ), "God is Inexperienced" ( 1974 ), "Fables" ( 1977 ), and "But Answer Came There None" ( 1977 ). 

There are so many reasons why fans and critics adore Yvonne Mitchell and it is wonderful that she was able to take her writing, which was a creative outlet for her, and build a reputation for herself as an author as well.

This entry is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!


  1. I was not aware of Ms. Mitchell's literary career and am now quite excited to explore her work. Thank you so much.

  2. I'm not very familiar with Yvonne Mitchell, though I do remember her from SAPPHIRE. It's always interesting to learn more about films stars who encountered success in other occupations.