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Esma Cannon Made in Britain
©2015 Jabod Ltd & Stickleback Corporation, all rights reserved
PRESS RELEASE – JABOD & Stickleback Corporation
For Immediate Release, 17th February 2015
Esma Cannon – Maid In Britain
Esma Cannon was a supporting actress. The roles she played did exactly that. And yet, such was the presence of this diminutive actress; she would often steal the show with the briefest of appearances. Even though she often found herself typecast as a lowly servant or dotty old maid, these supporting characters still live long in the memory.
She was born in Australia in 1905, and following early successes as a child actress, she arrived in Britain in the early 1930’s to pursue her career. Esma made her London stage debut in ‘Luck of the Navy’ at the Playhouse Theatre London in 1930, and subsequently went on to appear in numerous stage plays, throughout the next twenty years. During this time, Esma also worked with future ‘Carry On’ stars Kenneth Connor (‘Wagonload Of Monkeys’, 1951), and Charles Hawtrey, (‘Husbands Don’t Count’, 1952).
With the growth of Cinema, Esma also built a formidable list of over sixty film credits, as she became an indispensable character actress. She was especially notable in Jassy (1947) alongside Margaret Lockwood and Sailor Beware with Peggy Mount, (1956). Esma Cannon was at her busiest in the early 1960’s. She made several notable appearances in the popular ‘Carry On’ Films, and appeared as Little Lil, in the critically acclaimed stage and television productions of ‘The Rag Trade’. She also continued her theatrical success too, appearing over 600 performances of ‘Watch it Sailor’.
At the very peak of her success, she disappeared totally from public view. She and her husband Ernst, retired to live a peaceful life in rural France. Her whereabouts remained a mystery until earlier this year, when a chance discovery was made in a lonely corner of a municipal French cemetery. The solitary headstone had sparked curiosity in the local community, and people began to wonder who this grave belonged to. Esma’s demise had gone largely unnoticed. She had died on 18th October 1972, and had lain there ever since. A distraught Ernst, had eventually moved back to London, and subsequently died soon after.
“When you start to look into the story of Esma, it becomes a fascinating journey. Against the backdrop of The Second World War, she just never stopped working. Eventually, she met the love of her life, Ernst, who was a German Jewish refugee serving in the British Army. They married, settled down to raise a family, and just as she was at the very height of success, stepped away from the limelight totally.”
From the very start of his research, Director Mark Reeson was enthralled with the project from the beginning.
“When we came up with the idea for a series on Supporting Cast, I knew where I wanted to start. Esma was such a prolific character, popping up in these strange little roles, yet somehow always leaving you spellbound.”
Karl Roberts has also been engrossed in bringing the story of Esma to modern audience.“It’s fascinating how what would appear to be an ordinary life is in fact a remarkable insight into world history and modernity. From playing the most minor roles to eventual recognition and final rejection of her celebrity Esma was perhaps the great known unknown”.
“Mark and I have become media archaeologists carefully peeling back 115 years of documentation to reveal the unknown story of a great unknown.”
“Esma Cannon – Maid In Britain”, is her amazing life dramatized for the first time. It’s the pilot film for the forthcoming series, ‘Supporting Cast’, jointly produced by JABOD and Stickleback Corporation. It is currently in production, and will be ready for release in early Summer 2015.
For More Details Contacts:
Karl Roberts, Producer, JABOD +44 (0) 7941 548 529
Mark Reeson, Director, Stickleback Corporation +44 (0) 7976 762 005