Vivien Merchant

Vivien Merchant


Vivien Merchant was born on Jul 22, 1929 in UK. Vivien Merchant's big-screen debut came with Alfie directed by Lewis Gilbert in 1966. Vivien Merchant is known for Breakaway directed by Michael E. Briant, Martin Jarvis stars as Detective Inspector Sam Harvey and Judy Geeson as Becky Royce. Vivien Merchant has got 2 awards and 4 nominations so far. The most recent award Vivien Merchant achieved is BAFTA Awards. The upcoming new tvshow Vivien Merchant plays is A Tale of Two Cities - Season 1 which will be released on Oct 05, 1980.

Vivien Merchant was an English actress, primarily known for dramatic roles on stage and on film. She was born in Manchester, Lancashire in 1929 as Ada Brand Thomson. Her stage name 'Vivien Merchant' was chosen by Ada herself. "Vivien" in reference to actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), and "Merchant" reportedly in reference to her brother who was a seaman. She started her acting career in 1942, as an adolescent. She appeared regularly on repertory theatre in the 1940s, and had progressed to appearing in leading roles by the early 1950s. She had a romantic relationship with fellow actor Harold Pinter (1930-2008), and they were married in 1956. In 1958, she gave birth to their only child, Daniel Pinter.As Pinter became a celebrated playwright, Merchant was regularly cast in productions of his plays. She made her film debut in the comedy-drama "Alfie" (1966), an adaptation of a play by Bill Naughton. For her role as "Lily Clamacraft", she received a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress but lost to Sandy Dennis. While continuing her successful theatrical career, Merchant appeared in few subsequent films. Among the best remembered of them is the thriller "Frenzy" (1972), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She essentially appeared in a comic relief role, as the wife of Chief Inspector Oxford. Her final film role was as the Madame in "The Maids" (1975). In the film, two housemaids constantly fantasize about killing their employer (the Madame), but are reluctant to perform the actual murder.While Merchant's career was relatively successful, her marriage was not. Pinter was an unfaithful husband. From 1962 to 1969, Pinter maintained a long-term relationship with fellow writer and journalist Joan Bakewell (1933-). In 1975, Pinter started a new affair with historian and novelist Antonia Fraser (1932-). He told his wife about the affair, and Merchant started verbally attacking Fraser both in private and in public. Pinter divorced Merchant in 1977, and married Fraser in 1980.Merchant was left depressed by her divorce, and started heavily drinking in an attempt to drown her sorrows. Her alcoholism caused a decline in her health, and eventually led to her death in 1982. She was only 53-years-old at the time of her death.

  • Birthday

    Jul 22, 1929
  • Place of Birth

    Manchester, England, UK

Known For


2 wins & 4 nominations

BAFTA Awards
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Winner - BAFTA Film Award
National Board of Review, USA
Best Supporting Actress
Winner - NBR Award

Movies & TV Shows

TV Shows