Jean Ross

Jean Ross

Known for: Acting
Biography: 1911-05-07
Deathday: 1973-04-27 (61 years old)


Jean Iris Ross Cockburn ( KOH-bərn; 7 May 1911 – 27 April 1973) was a British journalist, political activist, and film critic. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), she was a war correspondent for the Daily Express and is alleged to have been a press agent for Joseph Stalin's Comintern. A skilled writer, Ross worked as a film critic for the Daily Worker and her criticisms of early Soviet cinema were later described by scholars as ingenious works of "dialectical sophistry". Throughout her life, she wrote political criticism, anti-fascist polemics, and socialist manifestos for a number of disparate organisations such as the British Workers' Film and Photo League. She was a devout Stalinist and a lifelong member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.During her itinerant youth in the Weimar Republic, Ross was a cabaret singer and aspiring film actress in Berlin. Her escapades inspired the heroine in Christopher Isherwood's 1937 novella Sally Bowles which was later collected in Goodbye to Berlin, a work cited by literary critics as deftly capturing the hedonistic nihilism of the Weimar era and later adapted into the stage musical Cabaret. In the 1937 novella, Sally is a British flapper who moonlights as a chanteuse during the twilight of the Jazz Age. After a series of failed romances, she becomes pregnant and has an abortion facilitated by the novella's narrator. Isherwood based many of the novella's details upon actual events in Ross' life, including her abortion. Fearing a libel suit, Isherwood delayed publication of the work until given Ross' explicit permission.For the remainder of her life, Ross believed the public association of herself with the naïve and apolitical character of Bowles occluded her lifelong work as a professional writer and political activist. Her daughter Sarah Caudwell, who shared this belief, later wrote a newspaper article in an attempt to correct the historical record and to dispel misconceptions about Ross. According to Caudwell, "in the transformations of the novel for stage and cinema the characterisation of Sally has become progressively cruder and less subtle and the stories about 'the original' correspondingly more high-coloured".In addition to inspiring the character Sally Bowles, Ross is credited by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and other sources as the muse for lyricist Eric Maschwitz's jazz standard "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)", one of the 20th century's most enduring love songs. Although Maschwitz's estranged wife Hermione Gingold later claimed the song was written for herself or actor Anna May Wong, Maschwitz contradicted these claims. Instead, Maschwitz cited memories of a "young love", and most scholars posit Maschwitz's youthful affair with Ross inspired the song.



Known For



1973-04-27 (61 years old)

Birth Place
Alexandria, Egypt


Sarah Caudwell

Charles Ross

Clara Caudwell

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom

Schöneberg, Germany

This article uses material from Wikipedia.
Image credit: Galcha, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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