Anne Stallybrass dead at 82: A look at The Onedin Line actress
The Onedin Line star Anne Stallybrass has passed away aged 82 following her stellar TV career, which launched in the 1970s.
The actress, who was afraid of the sea, enjoyed fame playing Jane Seymour in The Six Wives Of Henry VIII and later in The Onedin Line as the long-suffering wife of shipping line founder James Onedin – in what was later life imitating art.
Anne, who was married to actor Roger Rowland in 1963 before later divorcing, tied the knot with her co-star Peter Gilmore in 1979 after 10 years as a couple and they lived in a cottage in Dartmouth. He passed away in 2013.
The star – full name Jacqueline Anne Stallybrass – was born on 4 December 1938 and died 3 July and is survived by nephew, Jeremy, and two nieces, Caroline and Nicola.
The happy couple: The Onedin Line star Anne Stallybrass has passed away aged 82 following her stellar TV career through the 1970s (Anne pictured with on and off-screen husband Peter Gilmour in The Onedin Line in 1971)
Anne was born in Rochford, Essex to Bank of England clerk Edward Stallybrass and his wife Annie, neé Peacock. She went to a local convent school, the same attended by Helen Mirren and Gemma Graven.
She got her first acting experience with the Arthur Brough Players, at Folkestone’s Leas Pavilion, where she debuted in Rookery Nook in 1960, in Westcliff.
Her first notable TV role was playing Jane Seymour in 1970’s The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, which went on to become a hit all over the world.
Speaking in 1989, she said of the part: ‘Not one of us thought we were involved in a success while we were making it.’
The happy couple: Anne tied the knot with her co-star Peter Gilmore in 1979 after 10 years as a couple and they lived in a cottage in Dartmouth. He passed away in 2013 (Peter and Anne in 1993)
On the ongoing acclaim of the show being aired around the world at the time, she said: ‘I had a cheque from Saudi Arabia the other day and that was for a piece of work I originally did nineteen years ago, I suppose. Amazing.’
It was 18 months after playing Jane that she went on to scoop her most renowned in BBC’s The Onedin Line, which aired in 70 countries.
She starred as Anne, wife of the shipping line founder James Onedin, played by her later-husband Peter, who was later described by one critic as ‘a working-class Horatio Hornblower’.
Starring role: The actress enjoyed huge fame playing Jane Seymour in The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (pictured) and later in The Onedin Line as the long-suffering wife of shipping line founder James Onedin – in what was later life imitating art
In the show, James invests his £25 inheritance from his chandlery owner father, in the Charlotte Rhodes, a square-rigged sailing ship, to start his own business and go into competition with his former shipping employer.
He is sold the ship by James Hayter’s character Captain Webster for a slashed price so long as he married his disapproving daughter Anne – played by Anne.
Her decision to star on the show was somewhat shocking due to her fear of the sea.
She revealed: ‘I had a dread of falling overboard. The costumes were so weighty that I was convinced I would drown, but everyone assured me that with all those petticoats, I’d have floated…
‘At least they kept me warm, but I took off the whalebone corset because it was so terribly uncomfortable when I walked up and down the deck. The clothes must have been hell for women in those days.’
Star: Anne starred in Heartbeat from 1995 to 1998 playing Eileen Reynolds (pictured)
She left the show after two series, having starred from 1971 to 1972, as she was worried she would be typecast, so was written out with the storyline seeing her die in childbirth before James honours her by naming a ship after her.
The show went on for nearly 10 years and was a roaring success, leading to Anne later reflecting on whether leaving was the right decision.
She said: ‘Looking back now, I suppose it was quite a courageous decision in a way. I’m not at all sure I’d do the same thing now, but that was sixteen years ago and so I was younger and I felt the need to do something different.’
Following her stint on The Onedin Line, she started a relationship with on-screen husband Peter and they married in 1987. They had a home named Onedin House in Dartmouth, Devon, where the show was filmed.
After 10 years in a partnership rather than married, they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in Richmond before just three friends – despite staunchly insisting they would not marry in previous times.
When asked what changed, Anne said: ‘Oh, I don’t know. For all sorts of enigmatic reasons. No, it was just a personal decision, nothing more than that. It just felt right…
Here she is! Anne is pictured in November 1974
‘And we did manage to do it incredibly secretly, incredibly privately. If you really want to keep it private, you can. I mean, people don’t go round every single board at every single register office looking to see who’s marrying who…
‘I think that most people who claim they want to keep it quiet and then it’s splashed all over the papers actually probably wanted just that in the first place…
‘It was just something totally private between us. Peter’s a very private person and has suffered in the past by pressure from the Press. He certainly didn’t want that to happen again.’
Anne was unable to have children but previously stated: ‘[That’s] something I have learnt to live with. I take great joy in my three godchildren and have kept in contact with all the ‘television children’ I have had.’
While The Onedin’s second season was being aired, in 1972 she played Anna Strauss in the Austrian music-dynasty drama The Strauss Family.
She’s a star! Anne is pictured in 1969
She scored BAFTA nominations for her role in the two popular series.
Anne starred in Heartbeat from 1995 to 1998 playing Eileen Reynolds.
Her final TV role was in 2015’s A Song For Jenny. The Frank McGuinness TV film was an adaptation of Julie Nicholson’s book detailing losing her daughter in the 7/7 London bombings. Anne played the author and Emily Watson her daughter Julie.
Anne previously said of her biggest roles: ‘I became well known for playing long-suffering ‘historical’ ladies – Jane Seymour, the Mayor of Casterbridge’s wife, Mrs James Onedin. I’ve been ill-used by my screen husbands – rotters to a man.’
Here they are! She is pictured alongside Jessica Benton in The Onedin Line
Her first love lay in the theatre and she aimed to return to the stage yet never lived her dream of working with the Royal Shakespeare or National companies.
She said she loved theatre thanks to the fact: ‘[It] brings a marvellous sense of belonging and working together as a team’.
Anne’s best known theatre role was playing Charlotte Brontë in in Noel Robinson’s Glasstown on a national tour, followed by a 1973 run at the Westminster Theatre.
In the same year, she gave a performance at The Old Vic as Maggie in Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice. She also toured with comedians including Eric Sykes in Alan Ayckbourn’s Time and Time Again from 1983 to 1984.
Appearance: While The Onedin’s second season was being aired, in 1972 she played Anna Strauss in the Austrian music-dynasty drama The Strauss Family (pictured)