Zena Dare

Picture Zena Dare

1887 - 1975

The actress Zane Dare was born as Florence Hariette Zena Dones in London. Similar to her younger sister Phyllis Dare she became established as a successful stage actress who only appeared seldom in front of the camera.

She made her stage debut at the age of 12 together with her sister in the play "Babes in the Wood" (1899). From 1902 she went on tour with Seymour Hicks and the plays "An English Daisy" and "Cinderella" (03).

She impersonated her first mature role in 1904 in Seymour Hicks' "The Catch of the Season" at the Vaudeville Theatre. When she got an engagement in the play "The Sleeping Beauty" in 1905, she was later replaced by her sister Phyllis Dare because she accepted other engagements.

Zena Dare got offered many demanding roles in the next years, often together with Seymour Hicks. She reached the heigt of her career in the 10's but with her marriage with Hon. Maurice Brett she retired from the theater and dedicated to her family.

She kept abstinent from the stage for about 15 years, only in 1921 she took part in her first movie "No. 5 John Street" (21).
Only in 1926 she returned to the stage with the play "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney". She soon got a foothold again and appeared in England as well as in South Africa. In 1929 she took over the management of the Haymarket Theatre and performed the play "The First Mrs. Fraser" in which she also impersonated the leading role.

In the 30's she was especially successful with Ivor Novello and they played together in several productions, among them "Proscenium" (33), "Careless Rapture" (36) and "Spring Meeting" (38).

After more than 40 years she and her sister played together again on the stage in the play "Full House" (40).
The following decades offered other other rewarding rolesa and Zena Dare acted regularly on stage till her retirement in 1965. One of her last roles was as the mother of Rex Harrsion in the play "My Fair Lady".

She only had two more appearences in front of the camera. First she took part in her second silent movie called "A Knight in London" (28). And in the new era of the talkies she acted in "The Return of Carol Deane" (38), "Spring Meeting" (38), "Over the Moon" (39), "The Burning Glass" (56) and "An Ideal Husband" (69).