Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning, DBE (13 May 1907 19 April 1989) was an English author and playwright. The daughter of two actors - Sir Gerald du Maurier and Muriel Beaumont - she was born in London but spent much of her life in Cornwall, where most of her works are set.
Although she's usually classed as a romantic novelist, her stories are actually almost Gothic, with overtones of the paranormal. Her works were bestsellers but weren't taken seriously by critics at first, although she's since earned an enduring reputation for narrative craft. Many of her novels and short stories have been successfully adapted into films, including three by Alfred Hitchcock.
Daphne was married to the British Army officer Frederick Browning, who commanded the Airborne Division at Arnhem. They actually met when he was visiting Cornwall on holiday, having been inspired to go there after reading her first novel, The Loving Spirit. After their marriage, Daphne continued to write under her maiden name. In later life she became somewhat reclusive, to the point of not telling anyone that she'd been made a Dame in 1969 (her children only found out about it from the newspapers) and trying to get out of going to the ceremony. That said, she was very vocal about the negative portrayal of her husband in the war film A Bridge Too Far, and appeared as a castaway on Desert Island Discs in 1977 (her chosen book being the collected works of Jane Austen).
Works by Daphne du Maurier include...
- The Loving Spirit (1931)
- I'll Never Be Young Again (1932)
- The Progress of Julius (1933) - later republished as Julius
- Jamaica Inn (1936) - adapted into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1939; later adapted into a TV series in 1983 and 2014
- Rebecca (1938) - adapted into a stage play by Daphne herself in 1939 (not to be confused with the later musical), and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940; subsequently adapted for TV in 1979, 1997 and 2020
- Frenchman's Creek (1941) - adapted into a film in 1944 starring Joan Fontaine, who'd previously played the second Mrs de Winter in Rebecca, and again in 1998 as a TV movie starring Tara Fitzgerald and marking the debut role of Anna Popplewell as her daughter.
- Hungry Hill (1943)
- The Years Between (1944) - stage play, adapted into a film in 1946
- The King's General (1946)
- September Tide (1948) - stage play
- The Parasites (1949)
- My Cousin Rachel (1951) - adapted into a film in 1952, and later again in 2017
- The Apple Tree (1952) - short stories, later republished as The Birds and Other Stories as a result of the Alfred Hitchcock film adaptation
- Mary Anne (1954)
- The Scapegoat (1957)
- The Breaking Point (1959) - short stories
- The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte (1960) - non-fiction
- The Glass-Blowers (1963)
- The Flight of the Falcon (1965)
- Vanishing Cornwall (1967) - non-fiction
- The House on the Strand (1969)
- Not After Midnight (1971) - short stories, published as Don't Look Now in the US and later the UK as a result of the film adaptation
- Rule Britannia (1972)