She could have been a studio starlet, but never a star.
She knew she wasn’t hard enough for that and that her heart wasn’t even really in it anyway.
So she packed up her suitcase and set off home for a life on the stage and not the screen after all.
In New York and then the Golden State in the years before the talkies, she could just about handle the harsh lights and heavy make up.
She even endured the chemical stench of celluloid from the vast labs on the next lot.
But when the big money came with the big men and their heavy grasping hands, she just wanted to hide.
She started to long for lamp posts, thick bitter London fogs, and near at hand damp forests with the wild hyacinths the British call bluebells.
She wanted to see small grassy meadows again.
She wanted to walk off the sound stage once and for all and into an auditorium with an audience of anything but cameras.
So she got on the steam ship and headed back home, arriving in Blue Riband time.
Back to a life of cramped soft-wood panelled dressing rooms, of repertory theatres and occasional small parts in funny films shot in studios above camera shops.
She swapped Max Factor for greasepaint smelling of tea roses and factory carnations.
Picture shows for three shows a day on rickety boards with fall down sets smelling feintly of stagehands’ cigarettes.
And she couldn’t have been happier with her small part in the world.
The delicate and delicious Givenchy III is a perfume that knows its place in the grand scheme of things and is perfectly content.
She is a spry and green take on the sharp floral chypre, with plenty of wit and hard-earned sophistication to soften what can be to some noses a slightly bitter opening manner.
She undoubtedly has a notable past and belongs to a stable of Europeans that have made their way in the wider world.
But shrewdly she decided to return to the stage before she was worn out.
She has been rewarded and re-invigorated by new applause and bouquets of hyacinths and roses.
Her later career marked by altogether richer, more fluid, better crafted performances that have deservedly won great reviews.
She may not be a scene steeler, but she is enjoying a longer and more varied career than some of those who shot to super stardom early on.
In her own way and on her own terms, she has become the star she never intended to be.
And as for the question of cross casting…
Can a woman play Hamlet? She’s all for the taking on the Prince herself.
The Perfumed Dandy.