Karen Dotrice

Karen Dotrice

Infobox actor
name = Karen Dotrice

imagesize = 280px
caption = Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber
in a publicity photo for "Mary Poppins"
birthdate = Birth date and age|1955|11|9|df=yes
location = Guernsey, Channel Islands

Karen Dotrice (born 9 November 1955) is a British actress known primarily for her role as Jane Banks in Walt Disney's feature film adaptation of the "Mary Poppins" book series. Dotrice (pronEng|dəˈtriːs) was born in Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands) to two accomplished stage actors. Her career began on stage, expanded into film and television roles, and concluded with a short run as Desdemona in the 1981 pre-Broadway production of "Othello". In 1984, Dotrice retired from show business to focus on motherhood; she has three children from two marriages. She was named a Disney Legend in 2004.


Early life

Born into a theatre family, Dotrice is the daughter of Roy and Kay Dotrice, two Shakespearean actors who met and married while performing in repertory theatre productions in England.cite web | title=roydotrice.com | work=Roy Dotrice - Biography | url=http://www.roydotrice.com/bio.html | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006] She was born in the Channel Islands (where her father was also born). She has two sisters, Michele and Yvette, both of whom are actresses. Her godfather was actor Charles Laughton, who was married to Elsa Lanchester, one of the co-stars of "Mary Poppins".

Dotrice was a toddler when her father joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (later the Royal Shakespeare Company) in 1957. By age four, she was ready to perform, making her début in an RSC production of "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" by Bertold Brecht. There, a Disney scout saw Dotrice and brought her to Burbank, California, United States, to meet Walt Disney.cite web | title=legends.disney.go.com | work=Disney Legends - Karen Dotrice | url=http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Karen+Dotrice | accessdate=31 December | accessyear=2004]


At age eight, Dotrice was hired in 1964 to appear in "The Three Lives of Thomasina" as a girl whose relationship with her father is mended by the magical reappearance of her cat. While Dotrice was in California, her father stayed in England—where he was portraying "King Lear"—and Walt Disney personally took care of her family, often hosting them in his Palm Springs home. Dotrice took quickly to Disney as a father figure, calling him "Uncle Walt". She said the admiration was mutual: "I think he really liked English kids. He was tickled pink by the accent and the etiquette. And when I was being very English and polite, he would look proudly at this little charge who had such good manners."

Film historian Leonard Maltin said Dotrice "won over everyone" with her performance in "The Three Lives of Thomasina", and she was signed to play Jane Banks (along with "Thomasina" co-star Matthew Garber as her brother, Michael) in "Mary Poppins". Disney's part-live-action, part-animation musical adaptation of the "Poppins" children's books by P. L. Travers starred David Tomlinson as a workaholic father and Glynis Johns as a suffragette mother who are too busy to spend any time with their children. Instead, they hire a nanny (Julie Andrews) who takes Jane and Michael on magical adventures designed to teach them—and their parents—about the importance of family. "Poppins" was Disney's biggest commercial success at the timecite web | title=the-numbers.com | work=The Numbers: "Mary Poppins" Box Office Data | url=http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1964/0MAPO.html | accessdate=15 January | accessyear=2006] and won five Academy Awards, making its stars world-famous. Dotrice and Garber were praised for their natural screen presence; critic Bosley Crowther wrote, "the kids ... are just as they should be,"cite web | title=nytimes.com | work=New York Times: "Mary Poppins" Review, 25 September 1964 | url=http://movies2.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?title1=&title2=MARY%20POPPINS%20%28MOVIE%29&reviewer=Bosley%20Crowther&v_id=31639 | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006] while author Brian Sibley said, "these charming, delightful young people provided a wonderful centre for the film."cite visual | director=Stevenson, Robert | year=2004 | title=Walt Disney's Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition | medium=DVD rerelease | location=USA| distributor=Walt Disney Pictures]

Dotrice and Garber paired up again in "The Gnome-Mobile" (1967) as the grandchildren of a rich lumber mogul who stumble across a gnome forest and help keep the gnomes from dying off. Starring Walter Brennan in a dual role, "The Gnome-Mobile" failed to perform on a par with "Poppins" at the box office,cite web | title=boxofficereport.com | work=Box Office Report:" The Gnome-Mobile "(1967) | url=http://www.boxofficereport.com/database/1967.shtml | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006] and Dotrice did not make another film appearance as a child.

After "The Gnome-Mobile", "the kids" no longer kept in contact with each other. In an interview for the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD release of "Mary Poppins", Dotrice recalled how she learned of Garber's death (in 1977): "I remember his mum, Margot, calling ... to let us know that Matthew had died. That was— so unexpected. ... I wished I had picked up the phone over the years, I wished I had treated him more like a brother; but he's indelibly printed in all of our minds, he's eternal ... an amazing little soul."

Dotrice later appeared as Alex Mackenzie in "The Thirty-Nine Steps" (1978) with Robert Powell and John Mills. The third film based on the John Buchan novel, this was her only feature film as an adult. According to "All Movie Guide", Dotrice played "an imperiled heroine [who] was an invention of the Hitchcock version; the Buchan story is essentially 'boys only'."cite web | title=nytimes.com | work=All Movie Guide -" The Thirty-Nine Steps "(1978) | url=http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=49510 | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006]


Dotrice appeared as Desirée Clary in the Thames Television miniseries "Napoleon and Love". The nine-hour, dramatised account of the many loves of Napoleon I of France starred Ian Holm and Tim Curry.

In 1975, she played housemaid Lily Hawkins in six episodes of "Upstairs, Downstairs" during its fifth and final season. The series—a narrative of the upper-class Bellamy family and their servants in the early twentieth century—was one of the most popular programmes produced by London Weekend Television for ITV. It also proved popular when shown in the United States on "Masterpiece Theatre", and was "beloved throughout much of the world."cite web | title=museum.tv | work=Museum of Broadcast Communications -" Upstairs, Downstairs "(1975) | url=http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/U/htmlU/upstairsdow/upstairsdow.htm | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006]

Dotrice took on the role of Maria Beadnell in the miniseries "Dickens of London" (1976), starring her father as Charles Dickens. In 1977, she appeared with Ann-Margret in "Joseph Andrews", a German telefilm based on the Henry Fielding novel.

In 1978, Dotrice made her final screen appearance, playing Jenny in the BBC2 Play of the Week, "She Fell Among Thieves". Starring Malcolm McDowell and Eileen Atkins, "Thieves" made its U.S. début on 5 February 1980—the first film screened as part of the PBS "Mystery!" series.cite web | title=pbs.org | work=About MYSTERY! | url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/mystery/history.html | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006]

Later life

In 1981, Dotrice took the role of Desdemona in the Warner Theatre production of "Othello" opposite James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer. Reviewers were less than kind; calling her "the only serious let-down" in the cast, David Richards of "The Washington Post" wrote, "Dotrice is not Desdemona. She is a Desdemona doll, reciting her lines in a thin, reedy voice and moving through the tragedy with a rare somnolence." Dianne Wiest took the role in the 1982 Broadway production and received similar reviews.cite web | title=christopher-plummer.com | work= "Othello "(Broadway 1982) | url=http://www.christopher-plummer.com/othello.html | accessdate=23 January | accessyear=2006]

Dotrice virtually disappeared from public life following her retirement. She was married to English actor Alex Hyde-White from 1986 to 1992; they have a son, Garrick. In 1994, Dotrice married then-Universal Studios executive Edwin "Ned" Nalle and later gave birth to two children, Isabella and Griffin.

She provided spoken-word adaptations of Disney's "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Pocahontas"; in 2001, she lent her voice to a sing-along release of "Mary Poppins" and was interviewed for the ABC television special, "Walt: The Man Behind the Myth"; she was, however, done with acting. "I'll never go back," she told "Hello!" magazine in 1995, "because you don't have to put on any make-up."cite book | author=Russell, Sue | title=Karen Dotrice and Husband Ned Nalle Announce they're Expecting their Second Child | year=1995 | publisher=Hello! Magazine (pg. 66) | id= ]

Dotrice was coaxed back into the spotlight twice in 2004: She was named a Disney Legend at a ceremony in Burbank (at which Matthew Garber was honoured posthumously),cite web | title=mickeynews.com | work=The Walt Disney Company Names 2004 Disney Legends | url=http://www.mickeynews.com/News/DisplayPressRelease.asp_Q_id_E_9174Ledgends | accessdate=17 September | accessyear=2004] and she was interviewed and provided audio commentary for the 40th Anniversary Edition "Mary Poppins" DVD release.


Feature films



External links

*imdb name|id=0234538|name=Karen Dotrice
* [http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Karen+Dotrice Disney Legends profile]
* [http://www.reelclassics.com/Musicals/MaryPoppins/marypoppins-article.htm Reel Classics: "Whatever Happened to..."]

NAME=Dotrice, Karen
DATE OF BIRTH=9 November 1955
PLACE OF BIRTH=Guernsey, Channel Islands

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  • Karen Dotrice — est une actrice anglaise née en 1955, connue pour avoir joué petite le rôle de Jane dans le film Mary Poppins. Elle est née à Guernesey (îles anglo normandes), de deux acteurs de théâtre. Elle s est retirée du métier d acteur en 1984 pour se… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Dotrice — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Karen Dotrice (* 1955), britische Schauspielerin Kay Dotrice (Katherine „Kay“ Dotrice; * 1929 als Katherine Newman; † 2007), britische Schauspielerin Roy Dotrice (* 1923), britischer Schauspieler …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Roy Dotrice — OBE (* 26. Mai 1923 auf Guernsey) ist ein britischer Schauspieler. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Auszeichnungen 3 Theater Engagements …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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