Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Lynne Bretonn of Ystradgynlais, actress and performer

South Wales Voice, Saturday 20th December 1947

The radiant smile of a brown eyed blonde girl from Ystradgynlais may soon be causing splash headlines in American newspapers, for on Friday of this week, Miss Lynne Bretonn, daughter of Mr. W H Jones, Temperance Stores, Brecon Road Ystradgynlais, and Britain's Number One television star, sails on the Queen Mary to take up a radio and television appointment with one of America's leading radio networks. She will be staying with friends in Riverside Drive New York.
Miss Bretonn was in the midst of packing when interviewed last week by our representative, who was shown some of the lovely clothes - all in the new length - that she is taking with her to the United States. "Possibly", was the reply given to an enquiry about screen ambitions - at least, she has an introduction to Ray Milland, when she visits Hollywood.
How many people remember the young girl who played the part of a girl given a film test in a Welsh play, produced in the Welfare Hall Ystradgynlais, some 13 years ago? Her success in the part was not however the beginning of Lynne Bretonn's yearning for the stage, for she had cherished lifelong ambition to be an actress, but this success proved conclusively her talent.
Most people would have rested content on local laurels, but, beckoned by hopes of fame behind the foot lights, the ambitious but practical young Ystradgynlais girl left her native village for London and secured a part in pantomime. She was an instant success and has never looked back since. Miss Bretonn has appeared in repertory "straight" plays in Cambridge and on tour; in pantomime; in cabaret; and has played leading parts in London shows, including "A Breath of Fresh Air," "Beek a Boo" and "Good Night" She has also played the lead in the King's Theatre, Edinburgh and sang French songs in a Pathe-Pictorial film shown locally last August.

"Stopped the traffic in Bangkok"
During the war she entertained troops for eleven months in the Far East, touring India, Burma and Siam. In a recent issue of the "People" the well known columnist, Arthur Helliwell, describes how Miss Bretonn was the first white-woman to enter Bangkok after the Japanese left, and how she "stopped the traffic in the town". In the "Burma Re-union concert held at the Albert Hall early this year, she appeared with such artistes as Noel Coward and Tommy Handley; and was asked to sing one number at the special request of Lady (General) Slim.

A Dramatic Meeting
Miss Bretonn describes an interesting event which happened while she was in Singapore in November 1945. The show had opened on a Wednesday and she was attending a party to celebrate her birthday, when it was announced that a cousin wanted to see Miss Lynne Bretonn. "I thought this was the usual line but since it was a party, I decided to ask the cousin in," she said.
"My astonishment can be imagined when I saw it was really a cousin, namely Lieutenant Mel Watkins, from Ystalyfera, I nearly dropped to the floor!"

Miss Breton is versatile
But it is not only on the stage that this charming young lady has made a name for herself. She has written a few plays including "Welsh Week End" and the very sophisticated "This Love Today". On the radio she has appeared in many favourite programmes such as "Here's wishing you well again" and "Welsh Rarebit" and in several of the "Sensation" series of plays.
In television, she caused rather a sensation herself. Jonah Barrington of the "News Chronicle" describes her as "honey, blonde, petite and sings with a Welsh-French accent". And one enthusiastic reader of the "Television Magazine" wrote how her "close ups" are really captivating.
Having reached the highest grade in the country, Miss Bretonn now sets out to conquer the television, cabaret and maybe, the screen world of America. She arrives in New York on Christmas Eve and it is our sincerest hope that for her on the other side of the Atlantic, that the bells of New York ringing in the New Year, will herald a year of happiness crowned by success after success.

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