Born Janet Horsburgh in Lancashire, England, on September 28, 1934, actress Janet Munro was the daughter of stage comedian Alex Munro who, during World War II, was in charge of the RAF entertainment unit. As a child, Munro sometimes appeared onstage with her father. After the death of her mother in 1942, Munro's father remarried, and she was raised by a stepmother. Munro trained for the theater in her teens, and by the age of 20 she was appearing on British television and was voted Miss Television of 1958. Her first marriage was to British actor Tony Wright, whom she married in 1956. When her career kicked into high gear in 1959 upon signing a five-picture deal with Walt Disney Productions, she divorced Wright. Munro starred in Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959; with Sean Connery), Third Man on the Mountain (1959; with Michael Rennie and James MacArthur), Swiss Family Robinson (1960; with Tommy Kirk and James MacArthur), and The Horsemasters (1961; with Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, and Donald Pleasence).

Janet MunroJanet MunroIan Hendry

LEFT: Cute photo of Janet Munro with puppies from the late 1950s. CENTER: Late 1950s cheesecake photo. RIGHT: Actor Ian Hendry was Munro's second husband

After leaving Disney Munro tried to radically change her wholesome screen image. She appeared as Jeanie in Val Guest's The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961; with Leo McKern) and was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) best actress award for her role in Basil Dearden's Walk in the Shadow (1962; with Patrick McGoohan). Upon her marriage to British actor Ian Hendry in 1963, Munro acted little until 1968, when she attempted a career revival. One of her final film roles was as the declining alcoholic pop star in Sebastian (1968; with Dirk Bogarde). Ironically, her private life had become similarly unhappy, as her marriage to Ian Hendry was failing, her career was fading, and she struggled with an alcohol problem.

the films of janet munro

The Crawling Eye (1958)

Janet Munro

From the British science fiction effort The Crawling Eye

Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

Sean Connery and Janet Munro

From the Disney fantasy Darby O'Gill and the Little People with Sean Connery

Tommy the Toreador (1959)

Tommy Steele and Janet Munro

With pop singer Tommy Steele in the Warner musical Tommy the Toreador

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, and Janet MunroJames MacArthur and Janet Munro

LEFT: With James MacArthur and Tommy Kirk in the Disney adventure Swiss Family Robinson. RIGHT: With James MacArthur

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Edward Judd and Janet Munro

With Edward Judd in the British Lion science fiction flick The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Walk in the Shadow (1962)

Janet Munro and Patrick McGoohanJanet Munro and Patrick McGoohan

From the Rank drama Walk in the Shadow

Hide and Seek (1964)

Janet Munro

Munro as Maggie in the British Lion thriller Hide and Seek

A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964)

Janet Munro and Leo McKern

With Leo McKern in the British Lion black comedy A Jolly Bad Fellow

Sebastian (1968)

Janet Munro and Dirk Bogarde

With Dirk Bogarde in the Paramount drama Sebastian

later years

Janet Munro's final years were beset by sadness and tragedy. Her marriage to Ian Hendry ended in divorce in December 1971, and she publicly admitted that she was an alcoholic and sought treatment for her dependency. She had also suffered a nervous breakdown in the late 1960s. While trying to rebuild her acting career, this time on television, in January 1972 Munro blacked out behind the wheel of her car and was seriously injured in a wreck. leaving her with facial scars and temporary blindness in one eye. After recovering from her accident, Janet Munro died suddenly on December 6, 1972, of a heart ailment at the age of 38. (Some sources claim she choked to death on tea.) She was survived by daughters Sally and Alexandra, whom she had with second husband Ian Hendry (1931-1984).

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Cry Wolf (1969) with Judy Cornwell
Sebastian (1968) with Dirk Bogarde, Susannah York, Lilli Palmer, and John Gielgud
Daylight Robbery (1964)
A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964) with Leo McKern and Dennis Price
Hide and Seek (1964) with Curd Jurgens, Kieron Moore, and Hugh Griffith
Bitter Harvest (1963) with John Stride
Life for Ruth (1962) with Michael Craig and Patrick McGoohan
The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) with Leo McKern, Edward Judd, and Michael Goodliffe
The Horsemasters: Tally Ho (1961) with Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, and Donald Pleasence
The Horsemasters: Follow Your Heart (1961) with Annette Funicello, Tommy Kirk, and Donald Pleasence
Swiss Family Robinson (1960) with John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran
Tommy the Toreador (1959) with Tommy Steele
Third Man on the Mountain (1959) with Michael Rennie, James MacArthur, Herbert Lom, Laurence Naismith, and Lee Patterson
Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) with Albert Sharpe, Sean Connery, Kieron Moore, and Estelle Winwood
The Crawling Eye (1958) with Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, and Jennifer Jayne
The Young and the Guilty (1958) with Phyllis Calvert
Small Hotel (1957) with Gordon Harker

Adam Smith, 1972-1973 ITV series. Munro portrayed Elizabeth Crichton
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1968-1969 BBC TV series. Munro portrayed Helen Huntingdon

Play for Today, episode The Piano, originally aired January 28, 1971
Hallmark Hall of Fame, episode The Admirable Crichton, originally aired May 2, 1968
Thirty-Minute Theatre, episode Turn Off If You Know the Ending, originally aired February 15, 1967
Armchair Theatre, episode Afternoon of a Nymph, originally aired September 30, 1962
Armchair Theatre, episode Girl in a Bird Cage, originally aired May 13, 1962
Hallmark Hall of Fame, episode Time Remembered, originally aired February 2, 1961
Hallmark Hall of Fame, episode Berkeley Square, originally aired February 5, 1959
Armchair Theatre, episode The Deaf Heart, originally aired January 21, 1959
Armchair Theatre, episode Trial by Candlelight, originally aired June 22, 1958
ITV Television Playhouse, episode Pickup Girl, originally aired December 6, 1957

janet munro links

The Janet Munro Website
Visit this fansite for biographical information and photos of actress Janet Munro.

Janet Munro at Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen
Visit Glamour Girls for an interesting bulleted biography of Janet Munro.

janet munro film now showing

Watch Janet Munro's 1961 sci-fi flick The Day the Earth Caught Fire
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