Famed British actress of the stage and screen Helena [Marie] Pickard was born on this day in Sheffield, England. Though she started her career on the stage, she quickly also found herself in motion pictures in her early 20's. Her work in silent film is confined to one film dating from 1924; she had a starring role in the comedic short The Clicking of Cuthbert produced by the UK company Stoll. She did not appear in another film until 1930 when she appeared in an uncredited role in the now lost early British talkie Lord Richard in the Pantry. Her first talking picture credit came in 1931 in the short comedy Cupboard Love. She would make her televised debut in the also lost BBC two and one-half hour When We Are Married in 1938 (the film was based on a J. B. Priestly play--his novel is responsible for the the James Whale horror comedy The Old Dark House). She made her television series debut in the 1950's ABC/ITV joint production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1956 (unfortunately also lost). She also worked in radio for the BBC as well. And since this is October, and Halloween is on the way, it is also worth noting that she made an appearance in John Brahm's 1944 remake of The Lodger, which starred her husband, famed British actor Cedric Hardwicke. Her marriage to Hardwicke ended in divorce in 1950 and she remarried a banking financier in 1956. She ended her own life, probably on purpose, by ingesting an over-dose of sleeping pills on the 27th of September just shy of her 59th birthday--at the time she had been living in the Oxfordshire area. She was buried in a non-cemetery burial somewhere in the region (possibly on the estate of her husband Herbert Rothbart or his family?). She was the mother of beloved British character actor Edward Hardwicke, who is best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Watson, to Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, on the Britain's Granada TV.
|In The Lodger|