Joyce Grenfell was born Joyce Phipps, daughter of the youngest of the beautiful American Langhorne sisters, of whom the most celebrated was Nancy, Lady Astor. Her girlhood, spent on the fringes of the famous Cliveden set among such men as George Bernard Shaw and Noël Coward, spanned the twenties, but it was not until 1938, at a dinner party, that she gave an impromptu imitation of a Women's Institute speaker and discovered her genius for dramatic monologue. She was an acclaimed actress and starred in many well-known films, including the St. Trinian's series. She was also a regular on television, radio and the stage and entertained the troops during the war with her usual wit, charm and humour. She died in 1979.