" Oh, I've had such a curious dream! "
said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember, all
those Strange Adventures of hers ... And when she had finished, her
sister kissed her, and said, " It was a curious dream, dear,
certainly; but now run in to your tea; it's getting late." So Alice
got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a
wonderful dream it had been.-- Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, by Lewis
NEW YORK, Monday - By Leonard Coulter (July 3, 1951)
has certainly been a wonderful dream for Kathryn Beaumont up to now.
her 13 years this
silver-tongued English girl with the fair hair,
freckled complexion and blue-grey eyes has had more Strange
Adventures than befall most people in a lifetime.
Now, as the voice of Alice in Walt Disney's film
version of Carroll's classic fairy tale, shortly to have its world
premiere in London, Kathryn has both fame and fortune (a seven-year film
contract running up to £350 a week). She arrives in England in the
Queen Mary on Thursday.
The fictional Alice started her dream by falling
down a rabbit-hole. Little Miss Beaumont began hers by bumping into two
strange men while on her way home from school in Richmond, Surrey.
She didn't know them, nor they her, but they were
M-G-M talent scouts.
That afternoon, when Kathryn got to her home in Old
Oak-road, Acton, her mother scolded her for
talking to strangers.
A few weeks later, her eight-year-old daughter,
thanks to those two men, had a successful audition for films.
The Beaumonts had never seriously considered such a
thing. Kathryn's father was a vocalist and musician, now leader of the
B.B.C.'s Ken Beaumont Sextet. Her mother, Evelyn, had for a short time
been a professional dancer.
Kathryn was born on June 27, 1938. When the blitz
began and a section of the B.B.C. moved to North Wales, Ken and Evelyn
Beaumont took their daughter out of Sheen Gate School and went there,
Kathryn, who is now a slender 4 ft.10 in. and
weighs just 5st. 10lb., can't remember much about London. She has only a
dim recollection of bombs and sirens.
She laughs merrily when she talks about her
schooldays in North Wales. "They sent me to a Welsh school, and I
couldn't understand a word they said. So I didn't learn
much." Later the Sheen Gate School evacuated to Wales and
Kathryn rejoined her old class.
Her performances in school plays were exceptional,
and friends of the
Beaumonts suggested she ought to be trained as an actress. But the idea
was ignored. Then, after the war, when they returned to London, Kathy
met the M-G-M men. She was signed to a contract, sent to Hollywood with
her mother, coached for dramatic juvenile roles and given a minor part
in "On An Island With You."
More than two years ago, when Mrs. Beaumont heard
that Disney was hunting for a suitable voice for Alice -" not too
English, not American " she had a recording made by Kathryn. From
thousands of such recordings Disney's experts chose hers.
He put her under contract for two years and has
since extended that to seven years. For many months she has been working
in the Disney studios as Wendy in "Peter Pan," her next
Vivacious, alert. and not at all spoilt by her
early success, 13-year-old Kathy spends every morning from nine to
twelve at school in the studio. She earns good marks, but is worried
because she knows so little
about English history.
"First thing I'm going to buy in London,"
she told me in New York before boarding the Queen Mary, " Is a
really good history book. I love America, but I'm awfully proud of being
There is not the slightest trace of Americanism in
her accent; although Kathryn has lived in the United States for the past
five years without a visit to England, she seems typically English.
She has absorbed none of the teen-age habits of
American girls, doesn't wear lipstick ("of course, I have to in the
studio, but don't you think I'm too young to use it outside? ") is
an ardent stamp collector ("I'm awfully short of Indian
stamps") and wants more than anything else to learn to play the
A self-possessed young lady, with nice manners and
a ready smile, Kathryn Beaumont would never have been allowed to become
a film star had she stayed in England. Her mother frankly admits that
the British law against employment of children is highly desirable, but
claims her daughter has not suffered because of her film work.
She does not allow Kathy to work after five o'clock
in the afternoon, tries to keep her interested in normal things, and
gave her a typewriter as a Christmas present last year. Kathy uses it to
write short stories of her own. She can do 55 words a minute, and can
drive a car.
Kathryn has one big hope for 1951: that her Daddy
will give up working in England, and settle down with the family in
California. Mrs. Beaumont, too, has that idea strongly in mind.