Eileen Mary Ure
18 February 1933 – 3 April 1975
Eileen Mary Ure was a Scottish stage and film actress.
Born in Glasgow, Ure was the daughter of civil engineer Colin McGregor Ure and Edith Swinburne. She went to the independent Mount School in York, and trained for the stage at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Despite her first aspiration of wanting to return to Glasgow to teach drama, she was discovered by the impresario Hugh Beaumont whilst performing in Central School productions and in 1954 she made her professional stage debut in Manchester. Her London stage debut was to follow later that year when Mary was to star in Jean Anouilh’s ‘Time Remembered’.
She was first married to playwright John Osborne, and later to the actor Robert Shaw. In 1958, she was in the Broadway production of Look Back in Anger and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Dramatic Actress. In the 1959 film version of the play, Ure reprised her role with Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter. Ure had a turbulent love life married to her first husband playwright John Osborne. She married her second husband actor Robert Shaw, her co-star in The Changeling at London's Royal Court Theatre. The couple had four children.
She transferred her fragile, captivating portrayal of "Alison Porter" from stage to screen in the 1959 film adaptation of Look Back in Anger (1959), which also starred Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. In 1960 she appeared in the film Sons and Lovers as Clara Dawes, and was nominated for both the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In this period, she also performed a season at Stratford and, while pregnant, The Changeling at the Royal Court with Robert Shaw.
In 1963, after an absence of three years, she returned to cinema screens with a performance in The Mind Benders (1963) with Dirk Bogarde, a thought-provoking sci-fi drama. Then it was The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964) and the flawed Custer of the West (1967), both with Shaw. Neither of these productions made a significant impact, though Ure performed admirably. In 1968, she had a role in Where Eagles Dare (1968) with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. It was a box-office success, but it would be five years before Ure's next and last film appearance, in 1973's A Reflection of Fear (1973) co-starring her husband.
Ure continued to perform on stage during this time; however, her personal life had become difficult again and her growing alcoholism affected her careerto the point that she was fired from the 1974 pre-Broadway production of Love for Love and was replaced by her understudy,Glenn Close.
On 2 April 1975 she appeared on the London stage with Honor Blackman and Brian Blessed in The Exorcism, and after a disastrous opening night was found dead aged 42 from an overdose of alcohol and barbiturates by husband Robert Shaw in their London home.
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