This week our student of the week is Margaret Lacey b.1911 d. 1988.
A student of Miss Hammond’s, Margaret Lacey went onto to become a successful character actress as well as running a ballet school in Colwyn Bay.
Margaret had been ‘stage stuck’ from a young age after watching her Uncle Harry and ‘Miss Dollie’ performing locally. She attended Miss Hammond’s classes in Colwyn Bay in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Margaret moved to London and worked as assistant to magician Jasper Maskelyne.
Between 1957 and 1985 Margaret appeared in over 30 films. She mostly played a sweet old lady or motherly figure in minor roles. She is known internationally for starring in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever in which she played a seemingly innocent Christian school teacher who smuggled diamonds in her bible!
In 1966 Margaret wrote the following for Back to the Barre;
‘When I began training with beloved Ham many year ago, I had two wild ambitions – only those who taught me knew just how wild! The first was to teach at Colwyn Bay at the Metropole Hotel, and the second was to act on the screen. Both seemed almost impossible.
‘Yet today, thanks to many people and opportunities, I am doing both these things. My dancing connection at Colwyn Bay (still at the Metropole in the original ballroom where I had my first lesson with Ham), is a very good one, and I am slowly building a name as a small part character actress on the screen.
‘At present I am filming with Julie Christie in Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd”, playing Maryann Money, the servant at Bathsheba’s farmhouse. We are in Weymouth for thirteen weeks, and I do a mad rush backwards and forwards to North Wales at the weeks-ends. All the filming is on location. We are using an old 17th century mansion for the exterior and interior shots. One week we were using a helicopter, and all the horses took fright! I fear our expressions of happy wedding guests arriving in the farm cart was marred by the fact that we were clinging like grim death to our seats expecting any minute to be overturned in the mud!
‘Working with the stars, Alan Bates, Peter Finch and Terence Stamp is wonderful. Julie Christie’s stand-in and double for all her riding sequences is Bubbles Elliott, who was a student with Miss Hammond for about three years.
‘Many exciting incidents have happened since the day long ago when we students arrived with Ham to take our Elementary examination and found it was the wrong day!’
Films Margaret appeared in include:
Brothers in Law (1957) – Helper
Happy Is the Bride (1958) – Miss Dacres
Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959) – Onlooker
I’m All Right Jack (1959) – Empire Loyalist
A French Mistress (1960) – Kitchen Maid
Suspect (1960) – Prince’s Secretary
Dentist on the Job (1961) – Old Lady Contestant
Bomb in the High Street (1961) – Woman at barrier
Only Two Can Play (1962) – 1st Pianist (uncredited)
Heavens Above! (1963) – Molly (uncredited)
Billy Liar (1963) – Mrs. Matthieson (uncredited)
Ladies Who Do (1963) – 3rd Charlady (uncredited)
Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) – Woman at first Seance
Rotten to the Core (1965) – Miss Rossiter
Sky West and Crooked (1965) – Village Woman
The Deadly Affair (1966) – Mrs. Bird (uncredited)
Island of Terror (1966) – Old Woman
The Family Way (1966) – Mrs. Harris
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) – Maryann Money
There’s a Girl in My Soup (1970) – Autograph Hunter
Black Beauty (1971) – Anna Sewell
Mr. Forbush and the Penguins (1971) – Auntie
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – Mrs. Whistler
The Ruling Class (1972) – Midwife (uncredited)
Bless This House (1972) – Vicar’s Wife
Smokey Joe’s Revenge (1974) – Mrs. Williams
Yanks (1979) – Woman at Hotel
Richard’s Things (1980) – Miss Beale
Secret Places (1984) – Mrs. Burgess