Thursday, July 18, 2013

Who Are Those Gals? - Clemence Bettany

Clemence Bettany was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1936. Her father was a shipping clerk, her mother a pianist. As a young girl she took ballerina lessons joining the Borovansky Ballet at 16. This led to a part as Giselle in a stage production of “Paint Your Wagon” which played for a year in Melbourne.

It was during this production that she met British-born actor John Bonney while he was working in the theatre in Australia. The couple was married in 1955 and soon after moved to England, where she joined the Roland Petit Ballet Company. Dancing in several West End Reviews (including Fine Fettle with Benny Hill) she was injured and had to give up dancing. She remained with the company for only a short six month period and then joined the British Bristol Old Vic in 1956. She gave up the theater becoming a fashion model and a favorite of the British fashion photographers and was seen on the covers of Vogue with Tony Armstrong Jones and Brian Duffy and on television.

Her first TV appearance was as Miss Lovejoy on ‘Don’t Do It Dempsey’ starring Brian Reece in 1960. This was followed by several more guest appearances in British television series such as ‘ITV Play of the Week’ (1961) followed in 1962 with ‘Tales of Mystery’, ‘The Saint’, ‘Man of the World’ and then ‘The Plane Makers’ in 1963. She then became a regular on the TV series “The Sentimental Agents” where she played Miss Carter the secretary of Carlos Thompson. This was followed in 1964 with guest appearances on ‘Marriage Lines’ and in 1965 ‘Armchair Theatre’.

Bettany and Bonney apparently were divorced by 1964 and Clemence was living in Glasgow, Scotland and was running a beauty salon and modeling school on Hope Street. In 1967, Clemence married John Watt in Lambeth and they became residents of London. John is a Scot and in the 1960s was a publicity manager for the Alhambra Theatre in Glasgow.

Her only film appearance was in the Euro-western “Custer of the West” in 1967.

Bettany retired from acting and became an author. She wrote a book about the D'Oyley Carte Opera Company in 1975. She also wrote The Thinking Body, published in 1989 about physical exercise. In the 1990s we find that she was working as a lecturer in physical education at a college in London at the Adult Education College.

Clemence continued teaching physical education until about 10 years ago, when she presumably retired. She now lives in southwest England her husband, John Watt died in Bristol.

BETTANY, Clemence [1936, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia -     ] – dancer, TV actress, writer, author, married to actor John Bonney [1934-1993] (1955-1964), John Watt [19??-2009] (1967-2009).
Custer of the West – 1967


  1. Clemence was born in Brisbane, her father was not a doctor but a shipping manager, her mother a pianist. She trained as a ballet dancer, joined the Borovansky Ballet at 16, then Paint Your Wagon. When she came back from Paris, she danced in several West End Revues (including Fine Fettle with Benny Hill). Was injured and had to give up dancing, became an actress - starting at Canterbury, graduating to Nottingham, Coventry, Bristol Old Vic and finishing at Glasgow Citizens when she gave up the theatre. During her acting career, she alternated theatre with photographic modelling (covers for Vogue with Tony Armstrong Jones and Brian Duffy) and television. She did run a school in Glasgow but also wrote a column for the Glasgow Herald on Fashion. Married John Watt. Wrote D'Oyly Carte Centenary Book on the Company, BA at Laban and after that wrote The Thinking Body and taught at London Adult Education College, initiating a variety of courses. Author of 2 novels (under pseudonym). John Watt. John Watt died in Bristol.

  2. Thanking you much for the corrections and additional information on Clemence which most has been added to my original post. Thank you again for enlightening us on Ms. Bettany.

    1. Does Clemence still live in Bristol and how can I contact her - we worked together at Morley College - where she inspired legions of students with her knowledge of the human body and movement......

    2. Hi, I can ask her to email you if you wanted?

  3. I have no idea where she resides today. Check with the Brit Movie website and see if someone can give you an answer.