Happy 103rd Ida Lupino!

Hollywood legend Ida Lupino was born 103 years ago this week (4th February 1918, during the Spanish Flu epidemic!). Here are some photos of the Herne Hill house where she was born - as described by Southwark News, this is 33 Ardbeg Road, and is marked with two blue plaques - one for Ida and one for Ida’s father Stanley:

“The plaques pay tribute to actress Ida Lupino and her comedian father Stanley Lupino, who both lived at the Ardbeg Road home in the 1910s before embarking on a life of stardom.” (https://tinyurl.com/yymuxwr8)

Ida was an English-American actress, singer, director, and producer. She is widely regarded as one of the most prominent female filmmakers working during the 1950s in the Hollywood studio system. She first gained fame through her portrayals of strong, worldly-wise characters and then went on to become one of the first women to direct films in Hollywood.

Lupino was born into one of England’s most-celebrated theatrical families. As a child, she acted in a model theatre built by her father, and she entered RADA at age 13. After her film debut in Her First Affaire (1932), she appeared in several inconsequential roles before being cast as a vengeful prostitute in The Light That Failed (1939). That led to roles in such films as They Drive by Night (1940), in which the actress gave perhaps her best performance, playing an unstable wife who is in love with one of her husband’s employees; High Sierra (1941), a classic crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart; and The Sea Wolf (1941), an adaptation of a Jack London novel, with Lupino cast as a fugitive and Edward G. Robinson as a brutal sea captain.

With her second husband, Collier Young (her first husband was actor Louis Hayward), Lupino founded a production company in 1949 and began writing scripts, tackling such controversial topics as rape, illegitimacy, and bigamy. She made her official directing debut with Never Fear (1949; also known as The Young Lovers), a low-budget drama in which Not Wanted star Sally Forrest played a young dancer stricken with polio.

The Independent recalls Ida Lupino’s directorial masterpiece, The Hitch-Hiker (1953), the only true film noir directed by a woman. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/movies-you-might-have-missed-the-hitchhike-ida-lupino-film-noir-a8442521.html

You can read a great account of her filmography at: https://waldina.com/2021/02/04/happy-103rd-birthday-ida-lupino/, it includes a link to a Lupino documentary from Film Historian which calls her an “overlooked legend”.

Stanley Lupino was an English actor, dancer, singer, librettist, director and short story writer. During the 1930s, Lupino appeared in a successful series of musical comedy films, often based on his already popular stage shows. 

Stanley was a member of the dynastic theatrical Lupino family which has been connected with the English stage since emigrating from Italy in the 17th century - originally as actors, puppeteers, acrobats, and comedians. His father was the actor George Lupino. He was the brother of actor Barry Lupino and a cousin of music hall and film actors Lupino Lane and Wallace Lupino

A third plaque could well have been attached for Ida’s mother Constance Gladys O'Shea, known professionally as Connie Emerald, and who was a British stage and film actress.