Vanessa was best known for her appearances in Ivor Novello’s musicals in the immediate post-war years as well as appearing occasionally on television. During her career she had a little cosmetic surgery on her nose that enabled her to breath more easily. Her partnership with contralto Olive Gilbert in Novello’s hit shows was legendary. Her husband inherited an Irish peerage, when he became the 8th Baron Graves, but continued to act as Peter Graves.
In 1949 she acted in Ivor Novello’s musical, “King’s Rhapsody”, at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, England with Ivor Novello, Zena Dare, Phyllis Dare and Olive Gilbert in the cast. (1954) She acted in Noël Coward’s musical, “After the Ball”, at the Globe Theatre in London, England with Peter Graves, Mary Ellis and Graham Payn in the cast. Robert Helpmann was the director.
(Vanessa Lee was distantly related to Billy Wells)
Image ©National Portrait Gallery