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.


  1. In the 1980s I worked at Ramsgate Hospital where John was a patient and sadly passed away. Joan I always remember with a smile would visit John always dressed in bright coloured flamboyant clothing. Joan was always so lovely to all the hospital staff.
    Many years later I was sitting in a hairdressers next to Joan when Joan must have been in her 60s. We had a long chat about those Ramsgate Hospital days and reminisced. That was the last time I saw Joan.
    It’s very sad to hear Joan has now passed away but I will remember her always as a lively, happy, flamboyant lady who would light up anyone’s life. RIP Joan a lovely lady x

  2. I worked as a taxi driver years ago and regularly picked up Joan she was absolutely lovely , so sad to hear she’s passed .

  3. Lovely lady with a wicked sense of humour. I looked after her mum Lass in a Ramsgate care home and she was so caring. Years later we frequented the same hairdresser where I was able to give her photos I had of her mum – we shared memories and shed a tear together and a few laughs. RIP Joan

  4. RIP Joan back with John and David so lots to catch up with along with so many friends and other comedians and actors your family made so many tv memories for us to cherish.God bless.

  5. My son and i helped joan unveil the blue plaque to john. Running the ramsgate home guard we were in uniform. i also served her in waitrose she always called me Mr mainwearing.
    You were a good friend

  6. RIP Joan .We met when I employed your dad Fred to work as my store man at the Regency Hotel
    Fred and his wife and I used to go to London and watch the filming with John and Joan.
    Lovely times , lots of lovely memories.

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