Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJanuary 31, 2006, Oxford, United Kingdom
SpouseLudovic Kennedy
FactHer father, a civil engineer, moved the family to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where she was pushed into dance lessons by her mother.
PaymentsEarned £2,000 for 6 days over 2 weeks from Peeping Tom (1960)

Moira Shearer, Lady O’Hagan (born 17 January 1926) is a retired Scottish ballet dancer and actress. She is widely considered to have been one of the greatest ballet dancers of her generation.

Born in Dunfermline, Fife, she was educated at the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London. She joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1943 and quickly rose to prominence, becoming the company’s leading ballerina. She appeared in a number of ballets choreographed by Frederick Ashton, including Sylvia (1952) and Marguerite and Armand (1963).

Shearer retired from ballet in 1966 but continued to appear in films and on television. Her most notable film roles were in The Red Shoes (1948) and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). She was married to the film director Anthony Asquith from 1952 until his death in 1968. They had two daughters.

Shearer was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000.

General Info

Full NameMoira Shearer
DiedJanuary 31, 2006, Oxford, United Kingdom
Height1.65 m
ProfessionActor, Ballet Dancer


SpouseLudovic Kennedy
ChildrenAlisa Kennedy, Rachel Kennedy, Alastair Kennedy, Fiona Kennedy
ParentsHarold V. King


MoviesBlack Tights, Peeping Tom, The Man Who Loved Redheads, The Story of Three Loves, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Red Shoes

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Peeping Tom (1960)£2,000 for 6 days over 2 weeks


1Isn't it strange that something you've never really wanted to do turns out to be the very thing that's given you a name and identity? . . . The Red Shoes (1948) ruined my career in the ballet. They [her peers] never trusted me again.
2What people cannot realize is that a ballet dancer just cannot afford to give up ballet for a moment. After a month without practising you are thrown back years.
3I have been asked to play [William Shakespeare. Other parts include a [George Bernard Shaw] play and a classic previously made by one of the screen's finest actresses. It would be ludicrous for me to try to play any of these parts. I am not an actress.
4If I am dubious about films and film people; the film industry has only itself to blame.


1She was little-known and only in her early 20s when Michael Powell approached her about starring in The Red Shoes (1948), and she had never been in a film; Powell offered her £1000, a considerable sum for most people in those days (many earned less than that in a year) and was surprised when she held out for £5000, which he did eventually pay her. He also directed her in her two other films, _Tales of Hoffman (1951) and _Peeping Tom (1955)_, but she had little affection or respect for him and usually spoke harshly of him in interviews both during his lifetime and after his death.
2At the time she was selected to star in The Red Shoes (1948) she was second only to the world renowned prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn at the famous Sadler's Wells Ballet.
3When Ludovic Kennedy saw her in The Red Shoes (1948), he said that he knew instantly that she was going to be the girl he would marry. He actively sought her out and married her two years later, in February 1950 in the Chapel Royal in London's Hampton Court Palace.
4Sister-in-law of Royce Ryton.
5Performed in Frederick Ashton's masterpiece "Symphonic Variations", her red hair providing vibrant contrast to blonde ballerina Pamela May and brunette Margot Fonteyn. In 1948 Shearer replaced an ailing Fonteyn in "Cinderella". Many prefer her version to that of Fonteyn's.
6Her father, a civil engineer, moved the family to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where she was pushed into dance lessons by her mother.
7Was performing at Covent Garden until 1953, when a combination of ill health, injury and her wish to make a name for herself as an actress made her decide to retire from the ballet stage at age 27.
8Later was a book reviewer for the "Daily Journal".
9Arthur Freed wanted her to play opposite Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951) but Astaire was reluctant to dance with a ballerina. Gene Kelly asked for her for Brigadoon (1954). She turned down both film opportunities, much preferring the classical stage in those years. She went on to play "Titania" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in her Broadway debut and the title role in "Major Barbara".
10Red-headed ballet star who literally danced her way to film fame with only one picture, The Red Shoes (1948). She has since made only a handful of others.
11She and husband Ludovic Kennedy had four children, Ailsa Margaret Kennedy (born August 11, 1952), Rachel Katherine Kennedy (born November 16, 1956), Fiona Jane Kennedy (born December 20, 1961) and Alastair Charles Coverley Kennedy (born February 10, 1963).
12A joint portrait of she and husband Ludovic Kennedy, by the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha, is now part of the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
13Toured the US, lecturing on the history of ballet and Sergei Diaghilev between 1977-82.
14Member of the BBC General Advisory Council 1970-77.
15Member of the Scottish Arts Council, 1971-73.
16Moira and Ludovic have one son and three daughters.
17She was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells in London.
18She married Ludovic Kennedy in February 1950 at the Chapel Royal in Hampton Court Palace, London.
19When her first daughter was born, the "Sydney Morning Herald" prefaced the article with the heading "Pink Booties for Red Shoes".




A Simple Man1987TV MovieMother
Black Tights1961Roxane
Peeping Tom1960Vivian
The Man Who Loved Redheads1955Sylvia / Daphne / Olga / ...
The Story of Three Loves1953Paula Woodward (segment "The Jealous Lover")
The Tales of Hoffmann1951Stella Olympia
The Red Shoes1948Victoria Page


That's Dancing!1985Documentary performer: "The Ballet of the Red Shoes"


Film '722006TV Series dedicatee - 1 episode


Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff2010DocumentaryHerself - Interviewee
The Eurovision Song Contest1972TV SpecialHerself - Host
The Dick Cavett Show1970TV SeriesHerself
The Election Results1959TV MovieHerself
Contact1957TV SeriesHerself - Interviewee
The Ed Sullivan Show1951TV SeriesHerself

Archive Footage

13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2007TV SpecialHerself - In Memoriam
The 78th Annual Academy Awards2006TV SpecialMemorial sequence
The Tales of Helpmann1990DocumentaryHerself
The Ed Sullivan Show1958TV SeriesHerself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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