Tributes paid to Ramsgate’s Joan Le Mesurier

Joan Le Mesurier

Tribute has been paid to former actress Joan Le Mesurier who passed away on July 9 aged 90.

Joan, widow of actor John Le Mesurier was brought up in Ramsgate, where her father owned a fish and chip shop. She was working as a dental nurse in Broadstairs when she met the actor Mark Eden, birth name Douglas Malin, who she married in 1953.

They had one son, David Malin who also became an actor. Joan and Eden divorced in 1959. David passed away in 2017.

Joan had worked as a barmaid and secretary before meeting John Le Mesurier at The Establishment, Peter Cook’s comedy club, where she was introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance, Johnny Heawood, in 1963.

She became Le Mesurier’s third wife in 1966. He had previously been married to June Melville and then Carry On actress Hattie Jacques.

She remained married to Le Mesurier  until his death in 1983 from cirrhosis of the liver and continued to live at the family home in Ramsgate.  John is buried at St George’s Churchyard in Ramsgate.

In the late 60s she and John had split up – but not divorced – when she had a relationship with comedian Tony Hancock. The title of her autobiography, “Lady Don’t Fall Backwards”, is the same as that of the fictional detective novel which features extensively in Hancock’s Half Hour: The Missing Page.

John returned to the family home after Hancock’s death in 1968.

Joan was also a writer, known for Hancock & Joan (2008), Public Eye (1989) and Heroes of Comedy (1995).

Friends and fellow actors have paid tribute to Joan via social media platforms.