|Born||Helena Winifred Carroll
13 November 1928
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
|Died||31 March 2013
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Helena Winifred Carroll (13 November 1928 – 31 March 2013) was a veteran film, television and stage actress. Born to clothing designer Helena Reilly and Abbey Theatre playwright Paul Vincent Carroll, she was the youngest of three sisters. Her elder sisters were Theresa Elizabeth Perez (1924-2001), a classically trained musician and the producer/founder of the People's Pops Concerts in Phoenix, Arizona, and journalist Kathleen Moira Carroll (1927-2007).
Miss Carroll attended Clerkhill Notre Dame High School, a Roman Catholic convent school in Dumbarton. She received her training at the Central School which later became the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art London, appearing in three plays in London's West End and a film, Midnight Episode, by age 20. She made her Broadway debut in Separate Tables by Terence Rattigan. She moved to the U.S. during the 1950s, touring and performing on Broadway and co-founded, with Dermot McNamara,[who?] The Irish Players, a repertory theater company in Manhattan.
At the dawn of television, Miss Carroll played the leading role of Nora, in a television production of her father's play, The White Steed (1959 Play of the Week Series), directed by Joe Gisterak. Gisterak directed a 1980 commissioned opera of her father's play, Beauty is Fled, as part of the "Children's Opera Series", which her sister, Theresa Perez founded. The opera was performed at the Phoenix Symphony Hall.
Helena split her stage work between Dublin, London and New York, appearing on Broadway in, among other productions the original production of Oliver! as Mrs. Sowerberry, as well as Pickwick, Design for Living, Waiting in the Wings, and the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton revivals of Private Lives (New York and Los Angeles).
Prompted by friends who had preceded her to Los Angeles, producer Al Simon and casting director Caro Jones (the latter of whom gave Les Moonves, now president of CBS, his first job in the biz), Carroll moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s and appeared in numerous films and television programs, including John Huston's Academy Award nominated film The Dead, The Friends of Eddie Coyle starring Robert Mitchum, The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin, The Mambo Kings, the Warren Beatty remake of Love Affair, and such television programs as General Hospital, Edge of Night, Loving Couples, Laverne and Shirley, Murder She Wrote, etc.
Carroll resided in Los Angeles, and died in Marina del Rey, California from heart failure on 31 March 2013 at the age of 84. Her last stage performance was in 2007 at the age of 78. She is survived by a half brother, Brian Carroll; a niece, Helena Perez Reilly; and a great-nephew, Paul Vincent Reilly.