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Virginia McKenna
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Actress
    (June 7, 1931- )
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Best known for portraying Joy Adamson in 'Born Free' (1966)
    Also appeared in the films 'The Second Mrs. Tanqueray' (1952), 'Simba' (1955), 'A Town Like Alice' (1956), 'The Barretts of Wimpole Street' (1957), 'Carve Her Name with Pride' (1958), 'The Wreck of the Mary Deare' (1959), 'Ring of Bright Water' (1969), 'Waterloo' (1970), 'A Murder Is Announced' (2005) and 'Golden Years' (2016)
    Formed the Born Free Foundation with husband Bill Travers (1984)
    Named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to wildlife and the arts (2004)
    She said of her first husband, Denholm Elliott, ‘He was a fine actor and a delightful person, but I suppose I have to admit that, for both of us, our marriage was a mistake.’
    She recorded an album of easy-listening tunes in the mid-70s.
    She disliked watching herself on screen.
    She said about her activism, ‘The original Angelina Jolie? I guess I was.’
    Director Brian Desmond Hurst said, ‘She has all the qualities of a young Bergman and a young Katharine Hepburn.’
    During the filming of ‘Born Free,’ one lion knocked her down, fracturing her ankle, and another bit her.
    She and Travers costarred in seven films, portraying a married couple in four.
    She won the Olivier Award for best actress in a musical for ‘The King and I’ (1979).
    She helped create museums honoring Gavin Maxwell (a naturalist, whose book ‘Ring of Bright Water’ was adapted into a film starring McKenna and Travers) and Violette Szabo (a WWII spy she portrayed in ‘Carve in Her Name with Pride’).

Credit: C. Fishel


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