Wendy Toye

1917 – 2010
Airing The Teckman Mystery (1954) on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 8:15 AM on TCM

A professional dancer at the age of three, Wendy Toye was a choreographer by nine, appearing at the palladium in her ballet, The Japanese Legend of the Rainbow. She made her film debut in 1931 in Anthony Asquith’s Dance Pretty Lady but preferred choreography and learning filmmaking to acting. After choreographing Peter Pan on Broadway in 1949, Toye met producer George K. Arthur who needed a director for a series of short stories he had purchased. Toye asked to direct “The Stranger Left No Card,” and Arthur gave her a budget of £3,000. The resulting 23-minute film impressed producer Alexander Korda enough to give her a contract to direct crime and mystery films, which were not her favorite genres. 

After Korda’s death, she joined the Rank Organization and was able to make films more to her taste. The short film The King’s Breakfast (1963) marked the end of her theatrical film career and she moved to television dramas. Toye took pride in the fact that she never went over budget and that she was responsible for influencing other women to become directors. Although she did not return to film, she continued to work as a theater director until her retirement in 1992. 

Select Filmography

The Stranger Left No Card (1952)
The Teckman Mystery (1954)
Three Cases of Murder (1955)
We Joined the Navy (1962)
The King’s Breakfast (1963)