Sunday, 2 November 2014

1972, Deaths: British actress Janet Munro dies at 38

British actress Janet Munro, aged 38, died on 6 December 1972 after becoming ill while having tea with er two children in her flat in Kentish Town, London. The children's nannie, Elizabeth McGuiness, tried to reanimate her but she died on the way to hospital. Munro died from a heart attack caused by chronic ischaemic heart disease.

Janet Munro was born as Janet Neilson Horsburgh on 28 September 1934 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. Munro was the daughter of the Scottish comedian Alex Munro and his wife, Phyllis Robertshaw. Janet’s mother, Phyllis died when she was eight and she was raised by Lilias, Alex Munro’s second wife.
Janet Munro as Anne Pilgrim in "The Trollenberg Terror" (1958)
Janet Munro as Katie O'Gill in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" (1959)
Janet Munro with Sean Connery in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" (1959)
After a brief career in the theatre she was spotted and given her first film role as Effie the waitress in "Small Hotel"(1957), followed by "The Trollenberg Terror" (1957) and a starring role with Andrew Ray in "The Young and the Guilty" (1958). In 1959 she signed a five-picture deal with Walt Disney, with lively performances in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" (1959), "Third Man on the Mountain" (1959) and "Swiss Family Robinson" (1960). After her Disney contract she was given more dramatic roles in "Day The Earth Caught Fire" (1961), "Life for Ruth" (1962) and "Bitter Harvest" (1963). In 1958 Munro was voted "TV actress of the year" and in 1960 she won a Golden Globe as "Most Promising Newcomer - Female" together with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Stella Stevens.
Janet Munro as Lizbeth Hempel in "Third Man on the Mountain" (1959)
Janet Munro as Amanda in "Tommy the Toreador" (1959)
Janet Munro with James MacArthur in "Swiss Family Robinson" (1960)
Janet Munro married twice. In January 1956 she married Tony Wright, the marriage ended three years later in 1959. In 1963 she married former Avengers star Ian Hendry. The couple had two children Sally Hendry and Corrie Hendry. From 1964 to 1968 Munro retired from acting to raise her two children. Ian and Janet divorced in 1971.
Janet Munro with husband Ian Hendry and baby Sally (1964)
Janet Munro with daughter Sally and husband Ian Hendry (1966)
Janet Munro with husband Ian Hendry and daughters Sally and Corrie (1971)
Two failed marriages, two miscarriages, alcoholism, assorted medical problems, and depression… Munro collapsed and subsequently died on December 6th 1972 at the age of 38. She was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium.
Janet Munro as Jeannie Craig in "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" (1961)
Janet Munro with Patrick McGoohan in "Life for Ruth" (1962)
Janet Munro as Jennie Jones in "Bitter Harvest" (1963)


  1. I saw the movie bitter harvest and loved Janet Monro in it.I love british actresses

    1. Sad end to great little actress bitter harvet sums up her in a nutshell very moving film

  2. utterly beautiful lady who i saw in "Bitter Harvest" very sad end to her character in that film as well as to Janet in real life

  3. I've seen Swiss family Robinson loads of times and decided to Google it and was shocked to find out only one actor is still alive and it wasn't the one I thought it would be( the young boy). then I found out about Janet Munro died aged only 38! so sad she was a really good actress.

    1. Shouldn't be too shocking that only one actor is still alive. The movie is 57 years old as of 2017 and the youngest actor is maybe early teens, which would likely put him in his 70's. Regardless, Janet Munro's story and early demise are indeed sad.

  4. Just watching Janet Munro in Bitter Harvest on the Talking Pictures channel on Sky TV. She has a lot if screen prescence. Very tragic how she died so young. (Bill Sanderson)

  5. Nice article and comments about the one and only Janet Munro. She is still fresh and contemporary in all her work. Miss her.

  6. Cant believe Bitter Harvest isn't regarded as a classic.

  7. great understated and unfulfilled actress who was led down the wrong path in her second marriage, I wonder if Hendry rests easy in his grave.

  8. I loved Janet in Bitter Harvest and Ian Hendry in The Hill both great performances but I feel for her children especially Corrie.