Jill Ireland Biography (1941-1990)
Full name, Jill Dorothy Ireland; born April 24, 1941, in London, England; died of cancer, May 18, 1990, in Malibu, CA. Actress and dancer. An actress withextensive film and television credits, Jill Ireland was best known for her co-starring roles opposite her husband, actor Charles Bronson. Together they established a long film partnership that saw them appear together in many successful action-crime films. Trained as a dancer, Ireland began her career performing in London music halls at the age of fifteen. She also toured Europe with the Monte Carlo Ballet. Soon after, she began acting, joining the Rank Organization's acting ensemble. She made her film debut dancing in Oh Rosalinda!(1955), and subsequently she appeared in numerous Rank films, including There's Always a Thursday (1957), Hell Drivers (1957), Three Men in a Boat (1958), and The Big Money (1962). Among the group of actors in Rank's ensemble wasDavid McCallum, with whom Ireland made pictures and whom she married in 1957.To further their careers, in 1962 they both moved to Hollywood. Ireland continued to act in films, but she mainly performed on television, where she madeguest appearances on such shows as Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ben Casey, and Night Gallery. Ireland divorced McCallum in 1967 and married Charles Bronson the following year. Starting with Villa Rides (1968), the couple'sfilm successes encompassed fifteen movies, including The Valachi Papers (1972), Love and Bullets (1979), and Death Wish II (1982). In 1984, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Jill Ireland underwent a mastectomy. She receivedchemotherapy and radiation treatment, which put the cancer in remission. Inspite of the cancer, she continued to work and made the films Assassination (1987) and Caught (1987). She also wrote an autobiography entitled Life Wish (1987), which detailed her recovery from the mastectomy and her ongoing battlewith breast cancer. The book was widely praised for its inspirational and encouraging stance. In addition, Ireland toured the United States as a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Her lectures advised women with breastcancer to keep fighting and to live with dignity and self-respect. Ireland received the Medal of Courage from President Ronald Reagan in 1988 after she appeared before a Congressional Committee concerning cancer patients' medical expenses. Upon her death Jill Ireland was regarded as a symbol of courage forwomen fighting breast cancer.
- Birth Details
- April 24, 1941
- London, England
- Death Details
- May 18, 1990
- Malibu, California, United States
- Daily News, May 19, 1990.
- New York Times, May 19, 1990.
- Variety, May 23, 1990.