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June 27, 2021


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Teresa's son Tom Hepenstal added these interesting details about his mother in an e-mail:

"She was born in London in 1931 and gained a highly prized scholarship to study drama at RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in 1949. As a student she took part in a number of stage productions, and, of course, played a minor but memorable part in Scrooge (she also had another small film part, which I think you know about, in Robin Hood starring Richard Todd).

"She gave up her acting career to raise a family of five children (in Birmingham) and later gained a bachelors in Art History at London University. She taught art in a girls' highschool in Birmingham, and later gave history of art lectures for adult education groups in Birmingham. She continued with this teaching after she retired to Norfolk with my father in 1987. For twenty years she lectured to mature student groups, including with the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She led many field trips to parts of England (i.e. London) and Europe to visit art galleries and lectured about the paintings. She introduced many people to the joys of fine art, and a number of her students have described to me their gratitude for her having done this.

"Her love of paintings and fine art continued throughout her life, but she was always very modest and unassuming about her theatrical accomplishments which she seldom talked about. She was, however, critical of poor dramatic technique whenever she watched drama or films on the stage or the screen.

"My sisters, brother and I are very saddened by her passing and she is greatly missed. We are grateful that she had a long and interesting life and achieved much in her time. She was slightly puzzled by the interest shown in her film appearance, but pleased that people had enjoyed her work."

Thank you, Gina.

Condolences to the family on the passing of Teresa. I feel that all of us who loved her from our first viewing of her unforgettable performance are feeling quite bereft. The world was a better place for her sojourn here. Can you believe that the film was released SEVENTY years ago? And here we are, never met Teresa, never saw any other moment of her acting work, never even knew her name until a few years ago. But those few long-ago moments as Fred's maid had us all fall just a little bit in love with the gentle lady under the big cap. Rest in peace, dear Teresa. A life well lived. You will be remembered with affection by the many 'fans' you charmed so effortlessly and indelibly. Sweet dreams.

Its not Christmas till Ive seen this film. Ive always been intrigued by the lovely girl playing the maid, and thought I had seen her in other films. It seems I am wrong but it was lovely to find out about her.I agree its her kind encouraging smile that makes her so memorable. I hope this film remains part of Christmas for years to come

My condolences to the family for the passing of Teresa. Every time I watch the 1951 version of -A Christmas Carol - I can't wait to see Teresas part in the film. She looked so lovely and kind even if it was for just a few seconds. I will always hold that part of the film in my heart as the most pleasing part of the film. All of us are at a true loss and have a deep sorrow in our hearts.
Rest In Peace.

Wow! So happy for a chance to share my feelings about Teresa! From age 3, I watched both versions of a Christmas Carol and noticed her instantly even as a babe! It was love at first sight and how could it not be? Something very special in that wonderful face, and I formed a silent infatuation with her life long, renewed each year only on Christmas eve, which I watch religiously each year on that one evening! I hoped to write her and tell her and ask for an autograph...just to make more real and connect with this princess from another world. I will be watching again in 2 more days this Christmas eve, but now with a lonelier heart; But just imagine, soon we will all meet along with Sims and all we loved and lost! 'Til then, my princess!

Her version of A Christmas Carol has always been a staple in my family and she has always made everyone in my family Smiles so much. I know nothing about her but she must have had a heart of gold.

I noticed her from the first time viewing the movie. It is my favorite version . She showed so much expression in just so few seconds. Showing ol Scrooge encouragement to enter the party. It just jumped out to me. So sorry to hear she has passed.

Tom Bedell sent me! :-)

I always favored the Alastair Sim adaptation of A Christmas Carol, thanks in part to the small but powerful role played by Teresa. So glad to finally learn more about her.

According to a photo posted at Find-a-Grave, Derrington was born on April 10, 1931:

Fred, thanks for sharing that link!

It’s Christmas Eve and I just completed my annual viewing of Alastair Sim’s masterful Scrooge. Like clockwork, I break down when Teresa gives that nod of encouragement to the hesitant Scrooge..1 I’d read read your 2013 interview before, and thought I’d check on her. So sorry to hear of her passing.

It's nice to know I'm not the only who's heart has been captured by the brief but memorable appearance of Teresa as Fred's maid in Scrooge.
Her sweet smile will live with me forever, as I never tire of watching this classic film every Christmas.
Thank you Teresa.

This version of A Christmas Carol is by far the best yet I always wondered who the maid was. Allstate Sim might have been the star, yet Teresa’s face and that smile was the most memorable scene. Thank you for providing the answer. I’m so glad to read about her life. Thank you!

Yes she was just wounderful in that part as was the lady playing Freds wife both with qualities of acting snd a type of beauty in looks and emotion that is do nonchalant and timeless

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