Star Archive

Moira Shearer (1926 - 2006)

There are two types of people: those who dream of being a film star, and those who really couldn't give a toss. Moira Shearer is a rare example of a film star who fell into the second category. She had better things to do.

She was born in Dunfermline and, like many little girls, was bitten by the urge to dance. By the age of 16 she was in the Sadler's Wells company. Her talent for dance coupled with her striking looks and gorgeous red hair meant she was soon attracting attention.

Her movie break came when Powell and Pressburger were looking for a dancer to cast in The Red Shoes. Shearer was reluctant. She wasn't keen on the script, wasn't particularly interested in acting and, most importantly, was just getting major roles in the ballet. She worried that she'd lose her rank in the company. It took a lot of persuasion to get her to accept the role, and even more to get her boss Ninette De Valois to give her permission.

The Red Shoes was, after a slow start, a smash hit. She had loads of offers to do films but had disliked the business and wasn't keen. Not only was she still infatuated with ballet, but she was also in love with journalist Ludovic Kennedy. Filming wasn't a priority, though she made a handful of movies.

When she retired from dancing in the early sixties she devoted herself to raising a family. She made the occasional acting appearance on stage and presented a television series on the history of dance. She died after a long illness.


1948 The Red Shoes
1951 The Tales of Hoffmann
1953 The Story of Three Loves (US)
1955 The Man Who Loved Redheads
1960 Peeping Tom
1960 Black Tights (Fr.)
1985 That's Dancing (US)

 Moira Shearer at Amazon UK

 Moira Shearer at Amazon US