Tags: Celebrities. Historical people. Famous people. Jenny Agutter
At 65, the eclectic and beautiful JENNY AGUTTER OBE, is still beautiful, as you’ve seen her on TV in May 2018, when she is a presenter at Her Royal Majesty’s, Queen Elizabeth II, 92nd birthday celebration, screened worldwide from London’s Albert Hall.
Discovered by Walt Disney at 11, starring in classic movies including THE RAILWAY CHILDREN, WALKABOUT, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (a favourite of mine I still keep watching decades later), THE EAGLE HAS LANDED and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, endears Jenny to a worldwide audience with her hard work and dedication. And, of course, currently we still see her every week in TV’s CALL THE MIDWIFE. The wandering star born in Taunton, Somerset, with Jenny‘s father a Tank Corps Captain, Jenny’s first home at the age of two is Germany: at three Singapore; at eight Cypress; in her teens and early twenties, England; in her thirties and for a long time, Hollywood; but finally back to London.
Married to Swedish hotelier, Johan Tham, they have a 28-year-old son called Jonathan. I first meet Jenny when she is 33, living in West Hollywood and there has never been a more caring, unassuming and gentle woman. Everything about Jenny glows. Yet when she speaks, there is a firmness and positivity in everything she says. “Wherever I live, I must have space and light. And when I can get away with not using blinds and curtains, I do,” insists Jenny.
“If I have to use blinds, I prefer the big, wide shutter ones which you can angle, so that no one can see inside, but which don’t shut out the light.” The light touch is echoed in the colour schemes. “I just love light walls, especially when they’re done with Mediterranean paints, which are more like washes. I prefer paint to wallpaper and do most of the painting myself.” Jenny finds wallpaper gives her a hard time. “It’s such a fashion thing – suitable one minute and not the next.
With paint I can just go over it and change it all whenever I feel like it.” And her talents don’t stop at painting. “I’m quite good at things like stripping window frames down, sanding, lacquering, re-painting, framing pictures and making curtains. But I never touch upholstery. That has to look professional.” And how it does: a white cool and very comfortable sofa as well as armchairs.
“I love natural fibres and handcrafted materials. But in contrast with the white walls and furniture, I use a lot of earthy and brilliantly coloured cushions and carpets, as well as a selection of bright Indian, Caucasian and Persian rugs.” Jenny’s furniture is an interesting mixture of the modern and the ancient. Etchings, drawings, and watercolours – mostly seas scapes – blend with the odd oil painting here and there.
But she also has a passion for old English furniture. “My best pieces are my dining room suite and two oak dowry chests, which are early 18th century and have the original names and dates carved into their fronts.” She pauses for a while and there is a little sadness in her eyes. “Life in California is great. You live outdoors so much and it has a very relaxed and casual atmosphere. But I miss my family, England and the atmosphere of a real city like London.
Here you are close to your friends, but in a way you are uninvolved in society. “It’s like being permanently on holiday. Although it’s your home, you are not very attached to the place in a real social sense.” And 32 years on back in the U.K., there is no sadness in her eyes when she introduces concert acts for the Queen’s birthday at the Albert Hall in May. Her homes all over the globe, her adventures and the never-ending creative decades in the theatre, on TV and in the movies have left a soothing and tranquil effect on Jenny, with much of her inspiration having come from Ancient Rome.
But her heart has always been in London and. So she has truly settled now.