Daphne du Maurier Daphne du Maurier

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Questions, answers, and snippets of information shared through the Daphne du Maurier website

We often get messages and questions sent to us by email via the Daphne du Maurier website.  Sometimes they are from the media or from people finding out how they can get permission to use Daphne du Maurier's words or images, or perhaps wanting to reproduce her work in play form.  Sometimes people send us a quote and ask if the words are Daphne's and, if so, from which piece of her writing.  We get questions about all sorts of things, and we always try to provide an answer if we possibly can.  The question we are asked more often than any other is about Rebecca because people still want to know what the second Mrs de Winter's first name is.  Of course, this is one question that we can never answer!

Sometimes people provide us with interesting facts or little snippets of information that we didn't know.  We are always pleased to learn something new and share it with everyone who uses the Daphne du Maurier website

4). A Question about the du Maurier Search for Stars talent competition.

du Maurier cigarettes, manufactured by the Canadian company that sponsored the talent competition.

The Daphne du Maurier website recently received a question from Dan in Montreal, Canada.  He took part in the du Maurier Search for Stars contest (also known as the du Maurier Search for Talent) when he was a student in 1979.  Dan is looking for as much information as possible about all aspects of this competition, particularly relating to 1979, the year he had his audition.  He was part of a trombone quartet, and they auditioned for the contest at an old CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) TV studios on Sumac Street in downtown Toronto.

Dan is particularly interested in any written documentation on the contest, including listings of all the people associated with this show and any recordings that aired during the run.

We have a tiny piece of information from someone else who took part.  They entered the competition in the mid-1970s as a piano student, and at that time, the competition was called the du Maurier Search for Talent.  It seems to have changed its name to Search for Stars for the last three years from 1979 to 1981.

The only information that I could contribute was that the talent competition's link to the du Maurier name was through the brand of cigarettes.  In the UK, in about 1929, the actor Gerald du Maurier, father of the writer Daphne du Maurier, gave his name to the brand of cigarettes.  According to his family, he did this for the income it would generate as he had a big tax bill to pay.  It was, however, a good deal that also provided an income for his wife Muriel, following Gerald's death until she passed away in 1957.  For more information, go to this link: https://www.dumaurier.org/dumauriercigarettes.php

The cigarettes have not been available in the UK for many years, but I understand they are still available in Canada.

I would suggest that the du Maurier Search for Talent/Search for Stars stopped because it was deemed inappropriate to have an event for young people sponsored by a cigarette company. 

If anyone has any information about this Canadian young people's talent competition, please email us at the Daphne du Maurier website – info@dumaurier.org.  We look forward to hearing from you.

3). Snippet number three is about the figurehead of the Jane Slade.

The beautiful figurehead of the Jane Slade

In the 1930s, Daphne du Maurier first found the wreck of the Jane Slade, a fruit schooner, laid up in Pont Pill after her long working life.  Daphne was fascinated by the ship and the figurehead, modelled on the real Jane Slade, owner of the shipyard where the schooner had been built.  While researching her first novel, The Loving Spirit, she got to know members of the Slade family and learned about the history of the ship and the woman after whom the ship was named.  Ernie Slade was working at Slade’s shipyard in Polruan when the Jane Slade was broken up.  He removed the figurehead and gave it to Daphne. 

The Jane Slade laid up in Pont Pill

From then on, the figurehead of the Jane Slade found a new home on the corner of Ferryside, the du Maurier Browning’s family home beside the River Fowey at Bodinnick.  She was mounted on the outside corner of the house, just by Daphne’s bedroom window, the room where she had written The Loving Spirit and some of her short stories and poetry.  The figurehead remained in situ from the 1930s onwards, facing the worst and the best of the weather that Cornwall could throw at her. 

The figurehead in situ at Ferryside - image copyright Jo Wing

From time to time, she needed and bit of restoration or a new coat of paint, until eventually she was so weather damaged that there was a danger that she would be lost.  A few years ago, Kits Browning, Daphne’s son, who currently owns Ferryside, had a fibreglass replica made.  You can now see this replica as you sail past or look across the River Fowey towards Ferryside.  The original has been restored, repainted, and is looking absolutely beautiful, and because she is now a very old lady, she is living inside Ferryside, where she is safe and sound.

I would like to thank Kits Browning for permitting me to include this article.

2). Our second snipped of du Maurier related information is a bit unusual and unexpected!  It has been sent to us by Chris Main, who writes for the website, and it is about Robert Maxwell.  


Maxwell on his yacht in 1991. Photograph: Rick Maiman

The famous publisher and swindler Robert Maxwell might have been called 'Du Maurier'. Born Ján Hoch in Czechoslovakia in 1923, when war broke out in 1939, he decided to escape to England with a band of Czech volunteers on account of his Jewish ancestry. When he arrived in England, he adopted the name Ivan Du Maurier - not directly inspired by Daphne's family - but by the cigarette brand to which Gerald had lent his name to help pay off his debts to the Inland Revenue. Later he amended this to Leslie Du Maurier before settling for 'Ian Robert Maxwell'. The reasons for the change or this subsequent choice are unclear - but I think that all in all, it can be considered a narrow escape!

The familiar red packet of du Maurier cigarettes, from which a young Robert Maxwell chose his name

If you have a snippet of du Maurier related information that you think others won't know, please send them to us.  You can contact us by email at info@dumauirer.org

1). Here is the first in what we hope will be a lovely long list of snippets of information:

Una rebeca means a cardigan in Spanish

We were recently asked if we knew that the name for a cardigan in Spanish is una rebeca. We didn't know this, but apparently, the name comes from the 1940 film of Rebecca and images of Joan Fonteyn wearing a cardigan.



If you speak Spanish and can confirm or refute this, we would be glad to hear from you. 

Also, if you have a snippet of du Maurier related information that you think others won't know, please send them to us.

You can contact us by email at info@dumauirer.org

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