Joan Hickson Joan Hickson OBE (August 5, 1906 - October 17, 1998) was an English actress of theatre, film and television, who achieved fame in her old age playing Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.
Born in Kingsthorpe, Northampton, she made her stage debut in 1927, and for several years worked throughout the United Kingdom and achieved success playing comedic, often eccentric characters in London's West End. She made her first film appearance in 1934, and the numerous supporting roles of her career included several Carry On films including Sister in Carry On Nurse.
In the 1940s she appeared on-stage in an Agatha Christie play, Appointment with Death, which was seen by Christie who wrote in a note to her, "I hope one day you might play my dear Miss Marple".
She also played the housekeeper in the Marple film Murder, She Said (1961), which starred Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple (known in the UK as 4.50 From Paddington).
Her stage career included roles in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit and Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, for which she won a Tony Award in 1979 for 'Best Featured Actress in a Play'.
In 1980 she appeared in yet another Agatha Christie production, as Mrs. Rivington in Why Didn't They Ask Evans.
The BBC began filming the works of Agatha Christie in the early 1980s, and were conscious of the criticism that had been levelled at the most famous portrayal of Miss Marple given by Margaret Rutherford.
Though admired, Rutherford's Marple bore little resemblance to the character as written, and the plots of the early Christie film versions varied sharply from the author's carefully constructed plotlines.
In making a new series, the makers determined to remain faithful to the plotlines and locales of Christie's stories, and most importantly to represent Miss Marple as written. Hickson played the role in all 12 adaptations of the novels produced from 1984 to 1992, and received a BAFTA nomination and an OBE from the British Government. Queen Elizabeth II, said to be a fan of both Miss Marple, and of Hickson, bestowed the latter award.
As well as portraying Miss Marple on television, Hickson also narrated a number of Miss Marple stories on audio books.
Ms. Hickson died in Colchester, England of natural causes at the age of 92.