JOANNA DUNHAM 1936-2014
Joanna Dunham arriving at the Casino Cinerama theatre, London, in 1965 to see The Greatest Story Ever Told. Photograph: Trevor Humphries/Getty Images
Spotted while playing witch-girl Barbara Allen in a 1955 London University production of The Dark of the Moon, alongside a young Tom Courtenay, Joanna Dunham was good enough to win a RADA scholarship. While here, she was part of an active and dynamic group of students including fellow student and future Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
After completing her studies, Joanna immediately found work. Her career really took off when, having taken over the role of Juliet from Judi Dench in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1962 production for the Old Vic, she was recommended by Marilyn Monroe to George Stevens for the part of Mary Magdalen in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
With Max von Sydow as Jesus, Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, and Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards and Joanna’s career went from strength to strength. She appeared in numerous films, notably Peter Duffell's 1971 horror classic The House That Dripped Blood, opposite British actors Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and several British TV series including Van der Valk and Are You Being Served?