Liverpool actress Anne Rogers cut quite a dash when she sashayed down London’s Oxford Street in the company of two models in March 1954.

Shoppers stopped and stared as Rogers had a real swagger in her step. She’d just become the West End’s youngest leading lady at the age of 20 – and was loving every minute.

She was playing Polly Browne in Sandy Wilson’s musical The Boyfriend at Wyndham’s Theatre and had taken time off to drop in on a fashion parade at Lilley and Skinners.

Liverpool actress Anne Rogers with husband Michael Hall, April 1958

Liverpool actress Anne Rogers with husband Michael Hall, April 1958

Rogers starred in The Boyfriend for four years, but never played the role on Broadway. That honour went to another aspiring English actress – Julie Andrews.

The two did get together to discuss the role and shoot a memorable set of photos in August 1954. Andrews looked very young; she was only 19 when she made her Broadway debut in the role.

Rogers went on to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in Hollywood and Chicago, winning the prestigious Sarah Siddons Award for her performances.

Julie Andrews, right, and Anne Rogers both played the lead in The Boyfriend, August 1954

Julie Andrews, right, and Anne Rogers both played the lead in The Boyfriend, August 1954

She also appeared in Half a Sixpence and 42nd Street on Broadway and returned to play My Fair Lady at London’s Theatre Royal for three years.

After appearing in a number of TV productions including Doctors, Hogan’s Heroes and Sparkling Cyanide, Rogers made a stage comeback as Jessie Matthews in the 2003 West End production of Over My Shoulder.

The Daily Telegraph described the Liverpool singer and dancer as a ‘marvellous old trouper.’

Stepping out: Liverpool Actress Anne Rogers, centre, and models Judy Simpson and Paula Young cause a stir in London’s Oxford Street, March 1954

Stepping out: Liverpool Actress Anne Rogers, centre, and models Judy Simpson and Paula Young cause a stir in London’s Oxford Street, March 1954

Another big hit of the 1950s and 60s was Liverpool actress and comedienne Betty Marsden.

Born in West Derby in February 1919, she is best known for playing all the female comic characters on the radio series Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne.

Her most famous radio catchphrase was ‘many, many, many times’ delivered in the reedy voice of aging actress Bea Clissold.

Singer and dancer Anne Rogers tunes up for stage role with a violin, February 1968

Singer and dancer Anne Rogers tunes up for stage role with a violin, February 1968

She was also well known for shouting out ‘Allo, cheeky face!’ in pure cockney as the gloriously named Londoner Buttercup Gruntfuttock!

Her stage work included the musical revue Airs on a Shoestring at London’s Royal Court Theatre in April 1953 and Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw at the same theatre in 1975.

Marsden appeared in two memorable Carry On films – Carry on Regardless in 1961 and Carry on Camping in 1969.

In the latter she played Terry Scott’s wife Harriet, who many will remember for her braying laugh and jolly hockey-sticks bossiness.

Portrait of Liverpool actress, singer and dancer Anne Rogers, December 1953

Portrait of Liverpool actress, singer and dancer Anne Rogers, December 1953

Marsden also played Princess Troubetskaya in the 1986 TV Movie Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna and Mrs Barnacle in the 1987 film version of the Dickens’ classic Little Dorrit.

She made many TV appearances, including Inspector Morse in 1990.

Marsden died in July 1998 in the company of friends at Denville Hall, the retirement home for actors in Northwood, London.

Liverpool comedienne Betty Marsden, right, with Moyra Fraser in the musical revue Airs on a Shoestring, April 1953

Liverpool comedienne Betty Marsden, right, with Moyra Fraser in the musical revue Airs on a Shoestring, April 1953

 

*Many more unmissable photos feature in Clive Hardy’s brilliant new book Around Liverpool and Merseyside in the 1960s.

Echo readers can order their copy at the special introductory price of £9.99 plus £1.99 P&P. Just go to our online shop or ring the order hotline on 01928 503777.

Don’t miss out on the remarkable story of an unforgettable decade!

 

Anne Rogers as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, August 1959

Anne Rogers as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, August 1959