Resident Marc De Henrie shares his life history as a Photographer in the Golden Age of Hollywood

The dedicated Wellbeing team at Lyle House Care Home in Roehampton, London, has collaborated with the ‘Who Cares?’ intergenerational oral life history initiative. This exciting project, backed by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to spotlight and preserve the unique life history of residents.

At Lyle House, the Wellbeing Team prioritises a person-centred approach by delving into the life stories of each resident. When approached by the ‘Who Cares?’ team, Marc’s narrative immediately stood out as one that would resonate.


"My love for photography began at the age of eight."

Born in 1927, the 96-year-old photographer reminisced about his humble beginnings, “My love for photography began at the age of eight. Starting with photographs of neighbourhood pets, it soon translated into the opportunities that led me to photograph A-list film stars.”

Henrie’s journey began at Finsbury Park Film Studio, where he developed still films.

“You go into a dark room, develop the film in the dark, and then you put it in a thing called a fix, which fixes that image so it can be used. Then it went into a wash, what we call a wash, and then you pegged it up, you then hung it up, and afterwards you developed with an enlarger.”

“My favourite person I have photographed was Marilyn Monroe"

By 1954 his talent took him to RKO Pictures in Culver City, California where he photographed Hollywood Stars like Doris Day, David Niven, Robert Taylor and many more. He continued to work as a Hollywood union stills photographer for R.K.O., Warner Brothers, MGM and Universal until 1959.

However, it was his return to the UK and his collaboration with Tony Tenser at Miracle Films, based in Wardour Street, which at the time was the centre of the British film industry and the popular music scene, which led to Marc’s most memorable portraits and moments including the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Simone Signoret and Jane Mansfield.

Yet one memory stands out.

“My favourite person I have photographed was Marilyn Monroe I always looked depressed; you see. When I was small, I used to be on the bus and Mrs Jones used to say, Now listen sonny, I want you to smile a bit now. I said, I’m sorry but I’m like this always. Marilyn Monroe was coming along, and she said, Hello honey, why are you looking so bad? I said, I’m not, Miss Monroe. This is how they are. She said, well you’re coming to lunch with me. Of course, when I went into the canteen they said, ah she’s got a new boyfriend. So that’s my first meeting with Marilyn Monroe. Lovely, and quite intelligent.”


"In 1964, Marc tied the knot with his wife Fiona"

In 1964, Marc tied the knot with his wife Fiona, a dancer from the Royal Ballet. Their romance began over a photography session and blossomed in a quaint coffee shop in Piccadilly. Their life together has been filled with travelling, socialising with friends and the unexpected birth of their daughter Fleur.

Marc explained. “One day, she said, oh I think I’m expecting a little one. I said, my God, that’s a bit of a shock.”

Fiona said. “It was quite a surprise. Marc is quite a joker. He said to one of our neighbours, he said, oh Well you know Fiona’s having a baby. They said, oh go on, don’t be ridiculous. Stop telling silly stories [laughs]. They didn’t believe him. Of course, it was true!"

Get in touch

For more information about life at Lyle House Care Home in Roehampton, please get in touch call Katelyn Escoto Coello on 07872 860 093 or email katelyn.coello@countrycourtcare.com

You can listen to Marc’s full life story as part of the Who Cares Project podcast alongside others who have shared theirs by clicking here.

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