Saturday 24 February 2018

Obituary: Jean Kent

Sultry actress who played temptresses and trollops helping to spice up the dull era of post-war British movies

SMOULDERING: Jean Kent with Richard Attenborough in The Man from Within
SMOULDERING: Jean Kent with Richard Attenborough in The Man from Within

Jean Kent, who has died aged 92, was the "bad girl" of British films in the Forties, specialising in trollops, minxes and brazen hussies opposite such leading men as Michael Redgrave, Richard Attenborough, Dirk Bogarde and Stewart Granger.

It was all an act, for in real life she enjoyed a long and happy marriage. Yet she was loved as one of that stable of beauties, including Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Roc and Phylis Calvert, who made post-war British movies less drab than they might have been.

She was marked out, however, by a certain abrasiveness on screen that none of her rivals possessed, which meant she could take on tougher roles than they could play. With her red hair and hazel eyes, she also looked particularly fine in Technicolor, as The Man Within (1947) and Trottie True (1949) demonstrated. Sadly, many of her films were in black and white.

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