Published By: Daphne Brasell
Wellington, New Zealand 1989
The book was launched in September at "The Women's Book Festival" week.
Alexander Turnbull Library - Molesworth Street - Wellington, New Zealand
The "Jug of Memories" tells the story about a young girl who, at the tender age of 17, in her home town of Waterloo, Canada started out as a budding young actress at the Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre and then moved on to the Hart House Theatre in Toronto.
Ellinore Age 18
At the Toronto Town Hall in 1932, when she played the lead in: 'The Valiant' she won the 'Silver Cup' for Best Actress, and received a bursary for Drama study in Great Britain. The play had lasted an hour, and when the adjudicator came to her afterwards - and they drank from the 'Silver Cup' together, he said: "You tore my heart apart, little girl".
The book tells of the struggles she overcame in London, the success of being an Actress, her acceptance into RADA, a contract with the BBC, making films at Al Parker and Pinewood Studios, her life as an Ambulance driver in WW2 and arriving in New Zealand with husband Russel. She then Founded Porirua Little Theatre in 1950, Acted and Directed for many years and went on to make her name as a Fantasy Artist where she taught art, exhibited widely - and formed 'The Red Cottage Gallery' first in Wellington and then Waikanae, to help struggling young artists exhibit their works. She is survived by five daughters.
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Lorne Greene phoned to say that he would like me to be part of a production which would welcome Queen Elizabeth and King George V1 on their tour of Canada. It would be a lengthy broadcast and to be recorded. I suffered a crashing disappointment when at the end of our conversation Lorne told me, "We can't use you, darling. Your voice is exactly like the Queen's". That will teach me to put on airs.
St John's during one raid, I drove with such panic and in such an uncontrolled state that my co-driver made me stop and we dived for a ditch. The Germans were machine-gunning us.
I was asked to drive my supervisor to the station for the night train. We wondered together why my ambulance was moving so slowly. She suggested I arrange for a complete overhaul. When she departed, I noticed the handbrake was still on. She didn't know and I didn't ever tell her.
At Heatherleys Iain McNab asked me to paint a still life . "Paint it", he said. I slathered the paint on with my palette knife and it fell in great majestic streams of different colours. Talk about impasto, It looked like the ridges of hell to me. I crashed into it again and flattened it in such a way that it looked like red iced blocks of rock - then I outlined it in brilliant cerulean blue and brilliant cadmium yellow. A few pupils gathered around my 'mess' as Whiting said to them all, "Beautiful colour", I was pleased.
My wedding took place in my home-town and all the friends of the family attended. A dressmaker came up to the house and surrounded me with pure white taffeta to give a picture of small-town demureness. My mother, who always liked a bit of swank, had a special houseman, a young transient called Harold, who got fired the day after the wedding for spilling cocktails. My twin sister and a friend were my bridesmaids and we made a pretty trio of taffeta-dressed girls sporting newly-marcelled heads, and wearing the mantle of virginity and good breeding.
When the movie A Quiet Man was shown in our town of Titahi Bay, the impression that Maureen O'Hara made upon me was tremendous. I immediately dyed my brown hair a bright red and ran down the hill barefoot and carefree, stopping in to see my friends in my new "character". When I reached home there was a priest at the door. I told him I had just seen an Irish film and it had stirred my heart. Being an Irishman himself, he blessed me and left. Did I imagine that he backed slowly away from me?
Porirua Little Theatre put on Gaslight. I believed that no other actress but myself could play the part of Bella with enough poignancy. So with a little help from make-up and hair pieces, I felt I was right for the part. It served me right that during my 'crescendo' speech - while I was accusing my husband of duplicity - the curtain caught fire.
My friend Rita Angus was painting my picture one day - and when I saw it I said, "Oh my God, Rita. You've given me three chins", I said with Canadian candour, "I liked it better before". The coldness in Rita's voice made me know that I had blundered verbally, "Allow me to paint this as I see it", she said. It took several evenings of creamed fish and quite a few glasses of sherry before dear Rita would smile at me again.
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"I was captivated by this story of a passionate innocent abroad, who time and again, was offered the golden apples of fame and success, only to be tossed by the fates onward to another experience."
"I met Ellinore in her early days in New Zealand. With an enchanting voice, slightly harried manner and a rapidly enlarged family, I felt she was about to become a 'might have been', swamped by reluctant domesticity. Not a bit of it! Years later, I read with pleasure how she rose cream-like to the top again, in another and obviously her dearest art form, and now delights us with her 'visual fantasies'."
Former Gallery Owner
"A moment of magic - that is Ellinore Ginn. Ellinore's words, like her paintings, evoke adjectives such as volatile, whimsical, ethereal, joyous. But, the enigma of antithesis also applies - like sad, poignant, heart-rending, and intense. The contradictions make for powerful impressions....happy/sad, bitter/sweet. Whichever medium, words or paint, the kaleidoscope of colour, drama, passion....reveals a life vibrating with intensity. With the words as gospel and the painting as testament, the autobiography of Ellinore Ginn evinces a full and colourful life."
Potter and Sculptor
"I have always known Ellinore as an actress of great skill; in fact, a unique artist - imitating no one and with no imitators. I now find she is also a gifted storyteller. She has handled the very serious matter of her autobiography with considerable skill. There is a mature vision, a warmth and richness about her writing - particularly the way she tells, with emotional candour, of the difficult times she faced as a beautiful girl in the bad bad world of World War 2. Ellinore has made her past almost as interesting for us as it must have been for her. It will be difficult to put this autobiography down until you have finished it."
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Please email me for information about Ellinore's Autobiography.