Sarah Millicent Hermione Tuchet-Jesson, Baroness Audley, usually known as Sarah Churchill (7 October 1914 – 24 September 1982), was a British actress and dancer.
Sarah Churchill was born in London, England, the second daughter of Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill; she was the third of the couple's five children and was named after Winston's ancestor, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. She was educated at Notting Hill High School as a day girl and later at North Foreland Lodge as a boarder.
Churchill married three times:
- Victor Oliver von Samek A comedian and musician known as Vic Oliver (1936–1945) (divorced)
- Anthony Beauchamp (1949–1957) (widowed)
- Thomas Percy Henry Touchet-Jesson, 23rd Baron Audley (1962–1963) (widowed)
It has been both stated and confirmed by multiple sources, including Sarah Churchill's own sister, Lady Mary Soames, that Winston and Clementine Churchill did not approve of Sarah's first two marriages at all, nor for that matter did they particularly like Vic Oliver or Anthony Beauchamp after they had been introduced to both of them. Only Sarah's third marriage to Baron Henry Audley (the love of her life, it was said) was greeted with warm approval from both parents. In multiple books about the Churchill family, it is said that Clementine (despite her disapproval) managed to come around and be politely gracious to both Vic Oliver and Anthony Beauchamp after Sarah had married each of them, but Winston Churchill remained rather cold and hostile toward both men, considering them to be self-centered, superficial types who ultimately did not make his beloved Sarah happy or fulfilled in the end. Sarah's marriage to Beauchamp, in particular, came as a disappointing shock to both of the elder Churchills in 1949 since they had neither been introduced to Beauchamp nor informed that the marriage was going to take place in America. Despite her stubborn rebellion against the expectations of both parents, Sarah reportedly felt terrible and guilty about this event for the rest of her life since she had always craved her father's approval in most matters.
In 1964 she became romantically involved with African-American émigré jazz singer and painter Lobo Nocho, and there were reports that the two might marry, though in the end this never came about. Her father was also believed to have disapproved of this relationship.
American author Christopher Ogden in his biography of Pamela Harriman has stated that American ambassador to UK during World War II John Gilbert Winant fell in love with Sarah Churchill but the relationship went nowhere.
World War II service
During World War II, Churchill joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). In her account of the work of photo reconnaissance Evidence in Camera Constance Babington Smith records that she was with them and worked closely on the interpretation of photographs for the 1942 invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch. Known by the name Sarah Oliver, Babington Smith says she was "a quick and versatile interpreter."
During the second world war she maintained an affair with (married) US Ambassador, John Gilbert Winant. The affair ended badly. Winant committed suicide shortly after their breakup in 1947. Her father, Winston Churchill, sent yellow roses to his funeral.
Churchill is known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951) as Anne Ashmond, starring opposite Fred Astaire. In the same year, she had her own television show. She also appeared in He Found a Star (1941), All Over the Town (1949), Fabian of the Yard (1954) and Serious Charge (1959).
She appeared on both the Jack Benny radio and television programs. On television, she appeared on the episode "How Jack Met Rochester."
In 1961, she appeared as Rosalind in Shakespeare's As You Like It at the Pembroke-in-the-round Theatre in West Croydon. Her parents were noted as paying a surprise visit to watch her performance.
Churchill appeared in a London revival of Shaw’s Pygmalion in the 1950s, but drink had become a problem. She was arrested for making a scene in the street on a number of occasions and even spent a short spell on remand in Holloway Prison. She is very frank about this in her 1981 autobiography Keep on Dancing.
Death and interment
Sarah Churchill died on 24 September 1982 at the age of 67. She is buried with her parents and siblings at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.