An interview with Patricia Roc conducted in May 2000 by H Jaremko
© 2000, 2005 H.Jaremko /
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Part three has been created to celebrate what would've been Pat's 90th Birthday on 7th June 2005.
Initials are used to represent who is talking (PR = Patricia Roc, HJ = me).

(continued from part two)

HJ: Where did you live at different points in your career? I mean not just temporary places but those where you set up home for longer periods...

PR: Well, I lived in Paris for five years... and then through most of the thirties I lived in London, in St John's Wood with my family. In the forties I was still in London but I was married by then and we were living in Upper Grosvenor Street. My family had also moved away from St John's Wood because during the war a bomb came through the house next door! They cleared up and moved to Grosvenor House, just round the corner from me. After that, still in London, I got a flat in Hallam Street near the BBC. I went to Hollywood for a while around that time but when I came back I was still in Hallam Street - but after that it gets confusing as I was moving around a lot.

HJ: In the later nineteen fifties was there a particular place you stayed, because you were making a lot of European films at that time?

PR: Oh well yes, I lived in Paris at that time. My son (Michael) was born in Paris, and when I came back from Paris, I went to stay with my sister in Bray (Berkshire), while I was still looking for something. Then I got a house in Westminster, in Vincent Square, when Michael was about two or three. Then I moved into a house in Dorset Square, just off Baker Street. Dorset Square was the original cricket ground before they built Lord's. That's where they used to play cricket. I had a flat in Dorset House, which is right next to it. Then I went up to Hampstead after that, which is wonderful. I lived in the Vale of Health.

HJ: Hampstead is a nice area.

PR: Oh, I loved it, I didn't really want to come here to Switzerland. I didn't want to leave my apartment there. I had the top two floors.

HJ: What was the reason that made you go if you didn't want to?

PR: Well, my husband retired, and he wanted to come here.

HJ: Have you got used to it over there now?

PR: Oh yes, now I don't want to come back! It's beautiful. I'm right on the lake here, we've got mountains down to the lake. The flowers are out of this world. This is Camellia country, there's about three hundred different varieties of Camellias. At the moment the Lilac has already finished, but the Mimosa's are out of this world, you know. Now we've got the Azaleas going, and we've got those in all colours. All the Roses have started to come out. I tell you this is really a wonderful place to live, very healthy and I have so many friends here. I really have come to love Switzerland, I don't want to move again now, I don't think I could do it anyway! I am very settled. I've been here twenty nine years after all!

HJ: In the later nineteen fifties and sixties you didn't seem to be doing too much in films. Were you doing anything else in television, or was "The Saint" a one off?

PR: Well, I did a bit of television. I did the Saint episode, "The Talented Husband", with Roger Moore. And I did one thing ... a detective thing... Lockhart I think it was called? That was the name of the detective I think. But then I got married in nineteen sixty four. I sort of more or less gave it up then...

HJ: So nineteen sixty four is when you'd say you'd stopped really... stopped acting?

PR: I just kind of stopped. You know, it was one of those things. One thing leads to another, you do something without knowing what you're doing and how it's going to affect you. And then... well, I came and lived here. I must say I regretted it to start with, I missed acting. But, you know, when you get older ... I couldn't go back to it now, because I've been away from it too long. If you've gone on working all the time, then you can go on, if you know what I mean. But if you've had a long break away... I don't think I could remember the lines anymore. But I had a very good memory for lines in the old days.

HJ: Do you think there are actresses who you remember from the nineteen forties who you feel are neglected these days, who've been forgotten, but who we should look out for?

PR: Well, I suppose, like me, they've just got older...

HJ: It sometimes seems like Britain's forgotten it's historical accomplishments in cinema. It's almost as if people are embarressed to mention or think about all those great films and default to Americana only... as though only American films existed back then...

PR: Well, yes, Britain had a very respected, good film business at one point back then...

HJ: We don't often hear about British vintage films. It seems a shame really, because there are some very good ones!

PR: Well, you know there are quite a lot of these films being shown outside of England. I mean I get quite a lot of fan mail from Germany for example. I also get fan mail from France and from Italy. I think they must see dubbed versions! Even for something like that Saint episode - "The Talented Husband"! I got fan mail for that performance from Italy! Incredible! I was so surprised... But Britain had a wonderful film business at one time, I mean, "In Which We Serve" and all those wonderful films. All the Korda films. "Henry the Eighth" was terrific, "Rembrandt" was terrific. Both were Charles Laughton. And my first film appearance was with Merle Oberon called "The Divorce of Lady X" I used to ride an awful lot, and I was an extra in the background on horseback! That was the first thing that gave me the idea to act...

HJ: So if we look really carefully we might spot you in "Divorce of Lady X"?

PR: Oh, I doubt it, you wouldn't recognise me. You might recognise the horse, but I'm sure you wouldn't recognise me... (laughs)

HJ: Do you have any good memories, or particular memories which stand out about any of the famous ladies at that time? Margret Lockwood, Phyllis Calvert,or Jean Kent...?

PR: Well Maggie and I were very, very good friends...

HJ: You were the biggest stars along with Phyllis Calvert...

PR: Yes, we three were the three girls. Phyllis is still alive.

HJ: Are you still in touch with Phyllis?

PR: I have been, yes, around about Christmas time, the usual Christmas cards you know. But I kept in touch very close to Maggie. I remember when she was having her baby, Toots. They were shooting and they had to shoot round her a little bit because she was pregnant and it was starting to show. They all said it was the "Battle of the Bulge". It was at the same time of the actual Battle of the Bulge in the war. So we had our private "Battle of the Bulge". I remember that. We were all knitting like mad, we had the Gainsborough knitting party, I remember that very well. We had some wonderful moments. And Phyllis and I got along very, very well too. As for Jean Kent - I was at her wedding... Her husband has died since then, but she was married a long, long, long time. I don't know what she does now... One of my best friends was Michael Wilding. I adored Michael Wilding. I remember during the war I had a party, about ten of us, and Noel Coward was there. And we started to play strip poker. Noel Coward, was wonderful, he came out with all sorts of things, just on the spur of the moment! Michael Wilding was there too... It was in my flat in Upper Grosvenor Street... I can remember that as though it were yesterday, it was a wonderful evening, I don't think I've played poker since ... I don't think I know how to play cards, I think that's why I lost! (laughs)

HJ: One of my friends is a big fan of Nova Pilbeam's and wondered if you remembered anything about her?

PR: Ah yes, well now I did know her, when I lived up in Hampstead. I had two dogs and I went walking in Hampstead, and she lived in Highgate. And we corresponded and saw her two or three times, then. I don't know, I haven't seen Nova since twenty nine years ago. But at that time, I did see her, yes. She was a delightful girl. I can also remember dear old Kenny Moore very well... He was such a nice actor, such a charming person. I remember when I came back to do something with "A Hundred Stars" or something, you know we all did something on stage, a parody. And I saw Kenny Moore and I hadn't seen him for quite a long time, and he said, "Oh, Pat, how nice to see you! I thought you were dead!"...But it was sweet. "I thought you were dead!" (laughs)

HJ: Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans now, who will come and read this on the website. There are still many of them around you know. Is there a message you'd like to give them?

PR: Just to say hello to them and I'm very grateful that they still remember me and like the films. Yes, I think its all very flattering. Give them my best wishes, you know and tell them Pat's still there... Every day's a bonus!

HJ: Thank you so very much for taking time to talk to me. It's been a wonderful experience.

PR: That's very nice of you, I've enjoyed it... God bless!

That was the end of my interview with Pat in May 2000. I did speak with her again briefly, in 2002. However, that was mainly to clear up a few minor points rather then anything substantial. As reported elsewhere on the website, sadly she died on December the 30th 2003. I am just deeply thankful I was given the opportunity to have this interview with my favourite film star - not all are as lucky and I never dreamed I would be. I am sure many, like myself will continue to remember her fondly and enjoy her marvellous legacy of films.

H Jaremko - June 2005

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