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Anne Stallybrass was born in December 1938 in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex where she grew up. Her parents were both involved in amateur dramatics and Anne wanted to become an actress from a very young age; she was encouraged in her ambition at the convent school she attended.  After three years training at the Royal Academy of Music, where she won the Drama Gold Medal, Anne began her professional acting career by spending several years in repertory, gaining experience in Folkestone, Kent, before moving to Nottingham and then Sheffield.

Her first appearance on television was in Emergency - Ward 10 in September 1964, which was followed in 1965 by two productions for the BBC’s Theatre 625 (Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Portraits from the North) and Love on the Dole for Granada in January 1967.  However, it was her role as Jane Seymour in The Six Wives of Henry VIII broadcast in January 1970 that really brought Anne to prominence, followed eighteen months later by Anne Onedin in The Onedin Line which made household names of both her and her co-star, Peter Gilmore.  Indeed, while the second series of Onedin was broadcast on BBC1, Anne could be seen simultaneously in another major drama - playing Anna Strauss in ATV’s popular The Strauss Family.  To the regret of her many fans, after two years playing the much loved wife of James Onedin, the actress decided to leave the series, mainly in order to return to the stage but also due to fears of becoming typecast.  Certainly, through her roles as Jane Seymour, Anne Onedin, Anna Strauss and later Susan Henchard, Anne gained somewhat of a reputation for playing long suffering wives.

During the late 1970s and 1980s Anne appeared frequently on British television.  Of particular note were Granada’s thirteen part This Year Next Year, the BBC children’s series The Peppermint Pig (both 1977), The Mayor of Casterbridge
(1978), Dark Secret for LWT’s Sunday Night Thriller (1981), two series of Flying Lady for Yorkshire TV (1987 and 1989), and the sci-fi series Knights of God (1987).  More recently, Anne’s TV appearances have been mainly guest and one-off roles such as The Queen in Diana:  Her True Story, as well, of course, as playing Eileen Reynolds in Heartbeat for 2 years.

In addition to her many television roles, Anne has made numerous theatre appearances, notably in the 1973 premiere of Glasstown, the My Fat Friend tour in 1976 with John Inman, Bodies (1978), The Aspern Papers British tour (1979), and Time & Time Again (1983).  Although she enjoys television work, the theatre is her favourite medium. Anne has also been in a few films though unfortunately none have been lead roles, and recorded many radio plays for the BBC.

Anne won the 1972 TV Times Best Actress on TV award for her role as Anna Strauss.  She was also nominated as Best Actress by the Society of Film & Television Arts (now the BAFTAs) for The Onedin Line and The Strauss Family.

On a personal note, Anne enjoys gardening, watching cricket and collecting antiques. She has been married twice and has no children.  She met her first husband, Roger Rowland, also an actor, in 1961 whilst working with the Arthur Brough Players and married him in 1963; they separated after nine years and later divorced.  Anne fell in love with Peter Gilmore and after ten years living together, the couple married in June 1987.  The Gilmores live in Barnes, west London and also have a small home in Dartmouth, Devon - where The Onedin Line was originally filmed.

Diana Rollings
January 2003
Last Updated July 2004


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