Sophie Ward

Watching the Miss Marple episode described a few posts below made me want to see another, so last night I watched "A Caribbean Mystery," another BBC production, from 1989. It wasn't quite as good as At Bertram's Hotel. But it featured a stunningly beautiful woman:


(The picture doesn't do her justice; to get the full impact, you have to watch the show.)

I'm surprised that I'd never heard of Sophie Ward. She was just luminously (if borderline anorexically) beautiful, with the kind of elegant features which broadcast -- rightly or wrongly -- breeding and intelligence.

Whenever I see a woman this beautiful, I can't help but be curious: where is she from? What is her personal history? (Thank you Wikipedia.) What became of her?

I looked up a few more clips of Ward on Youtube; later, as she attained a more healthy weight, her face wasn't quite as ethereal, though she was still beautiful. (There, hope I've done my bit to encourage anorexia today.)

Every now and then I'll see a beauty who never really made the jump from starlet to star. And I always wonder why, since she is far more attractive than most of the women who did become big stars. Was she unwilling to submit to the indignities of the casting couch? Was she just not the type the casting directors wanted to promote? Did she have other priorities?

Ward has her own blog about acting: what it's like to film a kiss, the relationship between assistant directors and actors, and so on. (Somehow it makes me feel better to find that such a beauty would also have a blog, even if she obviously spends less time on hers.)

She writes well, though intelligence and acting ability seem to have surprisingly little correlation -- or at least that's the conclusion I've drawn after having seen a few great actors interviewed.

Ward was married for eight years, had two sons with her veterinarian husband, and left him for a woman. Hearing that, it's hard for a guy not to think: ah, too bad. Not that it would have made the slightest difference to any of us. (Note to guys: learn to be good in bed. If a woman starts off with guys then but then turns to a woman, it's not because her new lover has a bigger dick; it's because the lover is patient and skillful. Then again, maybe the woman is just more attracted to women.)

That may be partly why Ward never became a big star: a lesbian would be less amenable to the casting couch. (Come to think of it, there are a lot of movie stars whom it's easy to imagine as prostitutes, which is essentially what they are if they snagged their roles that way.) And coming out publicly can have a dampening effect on one's acting career, as the public is less willing to accept that actor in traditional heterosexual roles.

Ward, a former model, appeared in a few movies you probably haven't heard of, and did some television. She's also done a fair amount of theater work, for which she has evidently been lauded.

For me at least, Ward dominated A Caribbean Mystery. It's hard to focus on Joan Hickson's apparent intelligence -- or even Agatha Christie's indisputable genius -- when Sophie Ward's face is onscreen.