Val Gielgud and the BBC

 

Val Gielgud's Private Life

 

Val Gielgud seems to have had a rather adventurous private life with 5 marriages and on the Internet there is a rather intriguing reference to his first marriage at Oxford University to an 18 year old schoolgirl called 'Tata' at Cheltenham Ladies College. Tata seems to have been the daughter of a family of Baltic White Russian exiles. It is understood that he is survived by his last wife who is still alive and in control of all his papers.

An autobiographical monograph mentioning Gielgud's early marriage

"One added problem with which she had to cope was as unexpected as it was distressing. Tata, barely turned eighteen, and still at school, had secretly married. Tata's husband was Val Gielgud, then an undergraduate at Oxford, later head of BBC radio drama.* In 1921 what mattered was that Tata was a schoolgirl, he a student, and both were far too young for marriage. Natasha, when she found out about it, was at first disbelieving and then enraged.

* The elder brother of the actor Sir John Gielgud

{ Mamon-tov died in December. 1939 - Natasha had met Val Gielgud earlier, when Tata introduced him to her at Percy Lodge. Natasha had not been impressed. She paralysed him by asking his intentions. When he told her that he wished to marry me, and she found out that he had no money, he was more or less shown the door, said Tata.

Natasha ordered Tata not to see him again, threatening to cut off her pocket-money. Determined to marry none the less, Tata wrote to her father Sergei Marnontov then working for an opera company in Tallin, Estonia; Mamon-tov had not seen Tata for some years, but he gave permission willingly, enclosing it as a wedding present.

The wedding took place on August 12, 1921, during the school holidays. Afterwards they celebrated with a lunch and an afternoon at the cinema. Tata then returned to Percy Lodge in time for dinner, her wedding ring strung around her neck on a chain. Natasha found out about the marriage just before Tata was due to return to Cheltenham Ladies College.

She was so furious that she ordered Tata out of the house. Tata, with her husband away in the country, ended up on the doorstep of a house in London's Primrose Hill, the home of her old governess Miss Rata. With Tata gone, Natasha moved again, this time to a fashionable apartment at 26 Bolton Gardens, in South Kensington.

By now, all hope had faded for Michael. There was no trace of him anywhere, and all that was reliably known was that on the night of June 12/13 he had been abducted from his hotel in Perm. The inescapable presumption was that he was dead, even if the circumstances of his death were as yet a mystery."

"Tata was an added cause for her distress. Her first marriage to Val Gielgud ended in 1923 her next husband was a distinguished writer and music critic, Cecil Gray, by whom she had a daughter, Pauline, in 1929; her third husband, Michael Majolier, had been a midshipman on the Agamemnon which had taken Natasha and Tata to Malta.

As in Natasha's case, Tatas third marriage to her Michael - by whom she would have another daughter, Alexandra - would last for the rest of her life, though Natasha would not know that.

* Thinking about Tata, Natasha had little reason for cheer; she rarely saw her, and because of that absurd gypsy life you lead she often did not even know where she was living. * Tata died in England, at Wanstead, Essex."