Joyce Grenfell

British comedian, singer, actress (1910-1979)

Joyce Irene Grenfell (née Phipps) (10 February 191030 November 1979) was an English film and television actress and comedienne.

Joyce Grenfell in 1972


  • Stately as a galleon, I sail across the floor,
    Doing the military two-step, as in the days of yore.
  • They look quite promising in the shop, and not entirely without hope when I get them back into my wardrobe. But then, when I put them on they tend to deteriorate with a very strange rapidity and one feels sorry for them.
    • Stately as a Galleon (1978), "English Lit." (of new clothes)
  • Progress everywhere today does seem to come so very heavily disguised as chaos.
    • Stately as a Galleon (1978), "English Lit."
  • If I should go before the rest of you,
    Break not a flower, nor inscribe a stone,
    Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
    But be the usual selves That I have known.
    • Poem If I should go before the rest of you
  • I don't understand Ethel.
    I don't, I don't really.
    She's one of my very best friends,
    Just about the best, nearly.
    She's an awfully nice girl, Ethel is,
    Dainty and refined,
    I mean she'd never do or say
    Anything unkind.
    But get her inside a stadium
    And she seems to go out of her mind.
    • Poem Ethel
  • I was allowed to slave for them
    For ever and evermore.
    Oh, I was allowed to fetch and carry
    For my Three Brothers,
    Jim and Bob and Harry.
    • Poem Three Brothers
  • George - don't do that.
    • Catch phrase, used as the title of a book collecting her monologues, George - Don't Do That (1977)

About Grenfell

  • Nobody is safe. Deviate by a hair's-breadth from normal behaviour in her presence and you become a specimen in her collection. She has the ear to record every nuance of vour talk and the tongue to reproduce it.
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