Pearl Newman, now in her 90s, was a professional actress from the 1940s and 50s. From her publicity photos, she was quite the looker in her day, billed as ‘the attractive girl with the attractive smile’.
Pearl was born in Central London but retired to Streatham some years ago. She now lives within a stone’s throw of the Beacon Bingo Hall, which she remembers as Streatham Hill Theatre. Pearl appeared in a number of roles there during the 1950s, including Principal Boy in the Christmas pantomime ‘Humpty Dumpty’, which played from Boxing Day through January in 1952-53 and 1954- 55.
Living in Marylebone, Pearl particularly remembers getting the 159 bus to just outside the stage door at the Streatham Hill Theatre, ready for rehearsals or the show. She finished so late there was just time to get the last bus back home each night.
Pearl took roles in Rep across the country including venues as far apart as Bournemouth and Scotland. She gave up acting to marry and have a family.
Adventurous into her 80s, Pearl spent some time in Corfu, where she lived with her daughter and Greek extended family before practicalities dictated that she return to London eventually to settle in a Jewish community sheltered housing scheme in Streatham.
When we met Pearl towards the end of last year she was very much hoping to pay a visit to the theatre and relive some old memories. Although a spell of ill-health has put this on hold for a while, we’re hoping this will happen in the warmer weather.
The photos show Pearl in her role as Principal Boy in ‘Humpty Dumpty’, at Streatham Hill Theatre, more publicity shots of Pearl in the 1950s and Pearl as she is today – still elegant.