Joan Greenwood, of the plummy feline voice, was born in the well-to-do London section of Chelsea, the daughter of renowned portrait painter Sidney H. Greenwood (1887-1949). Dancing from the age of eight, she took ballet lessons and later enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Graduating at age 18, Joan made her theatrical debut in Molière's "Malade Imaginaire" at the Apollo Theatre. Performing some time later in Clare Boothe Luce's "The Women", she was noticed by Leslie Howard, who cast the diminutive lass as his leading lady in his wartime flag waver The Gentle Sex. From this time onward, Joan began to alternate between stage and screen, comedy and drama. She worked during the London Blitz and toured with the Entertainment National Service Association (ENSA).
Joan Greenwood died of a heart attack on February 28, 1987, less than a week before her 66th birthday.