We are sad to report the passing of Renée Asherson, aged 99, on 30 October.
Renée was Robert Donat’s second wife. They married in 1953 and remained married, though separated, until he died in 1958. Renée never re-married.
Renée was born in London during the First World War (19 May, 1915), and studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Her first stage role was a walk on in John Gielgud’s Romeo and Juliet in 1935.
In 1945, she appeared as Millie Southern opposite Robert Donat in Walter Greenwood’s northern comedy, The Cure for Love. In 1947, RD and Renée appeared as Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and in 1949 in RD’s film version of The Cure for Love. By now, they were a couple. Renée and RD worked together only once more, in The Magic Box in 1951.
In 1953, after RD’s triumph on stage in Murder in the Cathedral, he and Renée were married.
After RD’s death in 1958, Renée continued to work both on stage and screen. Her last film appearance was in The Others in 2001.
Renée Asherson is perhaps best known for her exquisite performance as Princess Katherine in Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film of Henry V.
A stand-out in her later career came in Memento Mori in 1992, opposite Maggie Smith, Michael Hordern, Thora Hird, Cyril Cusack and Maurice Denham.
We send our deepest sympathies to all who are mourning Renée.