Who was Jill Ireland?
The late British actress Jill Dorothy Ireland was born in London, England, on April 24, 1936, meaning Taurus was her zodiac sign. She appeared in 54 TV series and movies before her death in 1990, and she just might be still best remembered for Playing Lucy Simpson, one of the main characters in the 1975 crime sports movie “Hard Times” written and directed by Walter Hill, and also starring Charles Bronson and James Coburn; it follows a drifter turned prizefighter in the Depression era.
Education and early life
Jill grew up alongside her brother John Ireland in London, by their mother Dorothy and father Jack, but she rarely spoke publicly about her family as she respected their privacy.
She became interested in acting when she attended a local secondary school in London, and starred in a few school plays alongside her peers; Jill was also passionate about dancing and singing, and these skills later helped her acting career.
She registered in 1954and then focused on acting, rather than getting a college degree.
Roles in movies
Jill’s debut film role was playing The Other Woman in the 1955 comedy “No Love for Judy”, and in the same year she appeared in both the musical “Oh…Rosalinda!!” and the comedy “Simon and Laura”.
She gained recognition in 1957 when she was cast to play Jean in the crime drama ‘Hell Drivers’, written and directed by Cy Endfield, and starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom and Peggy Cummins. It follows the life of a budding lorry driver and the film was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best British Screenplay.
Jill only had a few movie roles in the ’60s – the 1962 comedy “The Battleaxe”, another 1962 comedy “Twice Round the Daffodils”, and the 1968 war western “Villa Rides”.
In 1970, she played Nicole in the crime mystery “Rider on the Train”, directed by Rene Clement, and also starring Charles Bronson and Marlene Jobert. It follows a sex maniac who has escaped prison in France, and a US Army colonel who tries to capture him; the film won two of its four award nominations. Jill appeared in three other films in 1970: the romantic comedy “London Affair”, the action-crime thriller “Violent City”, and the crime action “Cold Sweat”.
In 1973 she starred as Catherine in the action adventure “Chino”, directed by John Sturges and Duilio Coletti, and also starring Charles Bronson and Marcel Bozzuffi. It tells the story of a teenage runaway who befriends a mixed breed horse breeder. A few of Jill’s next roles were in the 1975 action adventure “Breakout”, the 1976 romantic western “From Noon Till Three”, and the 1979 crime action “Love and Bullets”.
She played Charia O’Rourke in the 1980 science fiction comedy ‘The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything’ directed by William Wiard and starred Robert Hays, Pam Dawber and Zohra Lampert; it follows a man who has inherited a watch from his millionaire uncle that can stop time.
Jill’s last three roles were in the 1982 crime action “Death Wish II”, and in the 1987 action thriller “Assassination” and crime action “Caught”.
Roles in TV series
Jill appeared in only a few TV series as she spent her career winning movie roles. Her TV series debut was playing Sybil Vane in the 1961 episode ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ of the drama ‘Armchair Theatre’, and she was subsequently cast to appear in an episode of the drama ‘Probation Officer ‘, the crime drama ‘Ghost Squad’, and the mystery ‘The Cheaters’.
To remind #Jill Ireland (RIP), who starred as “Marian Starett” in the ABC western series #Shaneand had a memorable role in the #StarTrek episode “This Side Of Paradise” as Leila Kalomi, btd 1936. pic.twitter.com/naqKCrGdtS
— Silver Age Television 📺 (@SilverAgeTV) April 24, 2019
The year 1966 saw her star as Marian Starett in all 17 episodes of the western “Shane”, which also starred David Carradine and Tom Tully, and follows Shane working for the Starett family, protecting them from farmer Ryker and others who want to. harm them. Jill next made a cameo appearance in the 1967 episode “This Side of Paradise” of the action science fiction adventure “Star Trek”, and throughout the rest of the 1960s she appeared in an episode of the action crime adventure “The Man of UNCLE”, the crime action “Mannix” and the adventure western “Daniel Boone”.
She had only one other role in the TV series, playing Ann Loring in the 1972 episode “The Ghost of Sorworth Place” of the fantasy horror “Night Gallery”.
Jill co-produced the popular 1984 action thriller film “The Evil That Men Do” and the 1986 crime action film “Murphy’s Law”, while the 1991 biographical film “Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story” was based on her book “Lifelines”.
She received special thanks (posthumously) for the 2010 documentary film “1 a Minute”.
Some of Jill’s last talk show appearances were on “The New Hollywood Squares”, “Wogan” and “Today”.
Awards and honors
Jill received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 20, 1989.
Love life and marriages
Jill was married twice and had five children. She and her first husband, British actor David McCallum Jr. met on March 28, 1957 during the shooting of the movie “Hell Drivers” and got married on May 11 of the same year. She gave birth to their first son Paul McCallum in the late 1950s, and their second son Valentine followed on October 10, 1963; Jill and David also adopted a third son, Jason David McCallum, born in 1963, but he died in 1989 of an accidental drug overdose.
The two divorced in 1967, and Jill married the late American actor Charles Bronson the following year; they met while shooting together for the 1963 war adventure film “The Great Escape”. Jill gave birth to their daughter Zuleika Bronson on August 4, 1971, while they subsequently adopted their second daughter Katrina Holden Bronson.
Jill and Charles were together until her death. Charles died in 2003
Jill Ireland and Charles Bronson were married from 1968 until her death in 1990. See her on SHANE – 10a ET on gettvWhat’s your favorite role in Jill Ireland?
Interesting facts and hobbies
Both of Jill’s husbands starred in the 1963 movie “The Great Escape.”
The last movie she starred in with her husband was 1987’s “Assassination” where she played the wife of the US president and was protected by the character of her husband Charles, who was a Secret Service agent.
Just three months before her death, Jill and her son Valentine co-wrote the song “Deal With It”.
Jill was a huge animal lover and owned a horse ranch in both California and Vermont.
She was a philanthropist and worked with many charitable organizations.
Jill loved to travel the US, especially to shoot for her movies and TV series.
Death and wealth
In 1984 Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer and this motivated her to write two books about her fight against the disease; she was writing her third book when she died on May 18, 1990, aged 54. Jill was a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and received their Courage Award from the late US President Ronald Reagan.
Jill’s net worth at the time of her death was estimated at more than $10 million.