Saturday 15 October 2016

From the Stacks to the Stage

Jean Alexander, the great character actress who played Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street for many years, has died, just three days after her 90th birthday. I was delighted to learn that, before she took up acting, Jean Alexander was a librarian, and she continued to be an active supporter of public libraries all her life. A librarian going into showbiz! That doesn't often happen, though I did once meet Caron Wheeler (later of Soul II Soul) when she was a Saturday library assistant. She didn't look like a career librarian to me...
 Plenty of writers were also librarians, of course - Philip Larkin, Anne Tyler, Angus Wilson, etc - but have there been any actors, other than Jean Alexander, who began as librarians? Don't say Elizabeth Taylor - it was the other one, the writer. Over to you, Dave Lull?


  1. Beats me, Nige.

    But a number of librarians gave birth to or fathered actors, and, of course, a number of actors have played librarians. See for examples:

    Persons with “librarian” in their IMDb biographical notes

    1. PS: I didn't take a look at all the entries brought up by this search, so I cant't say there isn't a former librarian among them.

  2. As I am still in Venice this caught my eye in Dave's list - Casanova was librarian for a while.

  3. Yes indeed Guy - and a credit to the profession.
    Thanks Dave, I'll scrutinise that...

  4. Such a shame Michael Richards was never a librarian...

  5. I've just read that John Betjeman was chairman of the British League for Hilda Ogden (president Laurence Olivier).