I hope I'm an individual. I suppose an eccentric is a super individual
Comic actor Margaret Rutherford will always be the definitive Miss Marple for many.
In the 1960s, she appeared in four films as the much-loved Agatha Christie detective.
A slightly dotty character with an expressive bottom lip and quivering chin, she would majestically sweep her shawl over her shoulder before mounting her bicycle, or climbing a ladder in search of clues.
Agatha Christie herself was not a fan of the films, which did not always follow her plots too closely, but liked Rutherford enough to dedicate one of her books to her.
Margaret (or Dame Margaret, as she became in 1967) came to the professional stage at the comparatively late age of 33.
The actor’s first major film success came as the medium Madame Arcati in David Lean’s Blithe Spirit, while she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the V.I.P.s in 1964. As Miss Marple in films including Murder Most Foul, she starred alongside her real-life husband Stringer Davis, whom she married at the age of 53, after a 15-year courtship.
She had overcome early years of great sadness. Before she was born, her father had killed his own father and made an attempt on his own life, before he was diagnosed as insane and committed to Broadmoor Hospital, where he remained for seven years. When Margaret was three, her mother took her own life. It wasn’t until she was 12, that Margaret learned that the father she had been told died of a broken heart had been re-admitted to Broadmoor, unable to cope with his overwhelming mental health issues.
“You never have a comedian who hasn't got a very deep strain of sadness within him or her. Every great clown has been very near to tragedy,” Dame Margaret later said.