Valerie Hobson

Valerie Hobson bigraphy, stories - Actor

Valerie Hobson : biography

14 April 1917 – 13 November 1998

Valerie Hobson (14 April 1917 – 13 November 1998GRO Register of Deaths: NOV 1998 D42C 217 WESTMINSTER – Babette Valerie L Profumo, DoB = 14 Apr 1917, aged 81) was a British actress who appeared in a number of British films during the 1940s and 1950s. She was born Babette Valerie Louise Hobson in Larne, County Antrim, Ireland, UK. Her second husband was a Government Minister, John Profumo, who was the subject of a sensational sex scandal in 1963.

Life and career

She appeared as Baroness Frankenstein in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with Boris Karloff and Colin Clive, taking over the role from Mae Clarke, who had played it in the original Frankenstein (1931). Hobson also played opposite Henry Hull that same year in Werewolf of London, the first Hollywood werewolf film, predating The Wolf Man by six years.

The latter half of the 1940s saw Hobson in perhaps her two most memorable roles: as the adult Estella in David Lean’s 1946 adaptation of Great Expectations, and as the refined and virtuous Edith D’Ascoyne in the 1949 black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets.

In 1952 she divorced her first husband, film producer Sir Anthony Havelock-Allan (1904–2003), and married MP, John Profumo (1915–2006) in 1954, giving up acting shortly afterwards.

Valerie Hobson’s last starring role was in the original London production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical play The King and I which opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 8 October 1953. She played Mrs. Anna Leonowens opposite Herbert Lom’s King. The show ran for 926 performances.Stanley Green, Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, (New York, 1976: Dodd, Mead & Company, rpt. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 1980), p. 233.

After Profumo’s ministerial career ended in disgrace in 1963, following revelations he had lied to the House of Commons about his affair with Christine Keeler, she stood by him, and they worked together for charity for the remainder of her life, though she did miss their more public life.

Hobson’s eldest son, Simon Anthony Clerveaux Havelock-Allan, was born in May 1944 with Down syndrome. Her middle child, Mark Havelock-Allan, was born on 4 April 1951 and became a judge. Her youngest child is author David Profumo (b. 16 October 1955), who wrote Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir (2006) about the scandal. In it he writes his parents told him nothing of the scandal and that he learned of it from another boy at school.

After her death, Valerie Hobson’s body was cremated in accordance with her wishes, with half her ashes to be interred in the family vault in Hersham. The rest was scattered on 1 January 1999 by her sons David Profumo and Mark Havelock-Allan near the family’s farm in Scotland.


  • His Lordship (1932)
  • For Love of You (1933)
  • Eyes of Fate (1933)
  • The Path of Glory (1934)
  • Two Hearts in Waltz Time (1934)
  • Badger’s Green (1934)
  • Strange Wives (1934)
  • The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934)
  • Life Returns (1935)
  • Rendezvous at Midnight (1935)
  • Oh, What a Night (1935)
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Werewolf of London (1935)
  • Chinatown Squad (1935)
  • The Great Impersonation (1935)
  • Secret of Stamboul (1936)
  • August Weekend (1936)
  • Tugboat Princess (1936)
  • No Escape (1936)
  • Jump for Glory (1937)
  • The Drum (1938)
  • This Man Is News (1938)
  • Q Planes (1939)
  • The Silent Battle (1939)
  • The Spy in Black (1939)
  • This Man in Paris (1939)
  • Contraband (1940)
  • Atlantic Ferry (1941)
  • Unpublished Story (1942)
  • The Adventures of Tartu (1943)
  • The Years Between (1946)
  • Great Expectations (1946) (Hobson had also acted in the 1934 version, in the role of Biddy, but her scenes were cut.)
  • The Small Voice (1947)
  • Blanche Fury (1948)
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  • Train of Events (1949)
  • The Interrupted Journey (1949)
  • The Rocking Horse Winner (1950)
  • The Card (1952)
  • Who Goes There! (1952)
  • Meet Me Tonight (1952)
  • The Voice of Merrill (1952)
  • Background (1953)
  • Knave of Hearts (1954)