Jill Ireland is an English-born actress known for her starring roles in a number of movies with her husband, actor Charles Bronson. Her movies include: Death Wish II (1982); The Mechanic (1972); Hard Times (1975); Breakheart Pass (1975); Breakout (1975).
Jill Ireland is the author of the best-selling autobiographical books Life Wish (1984) and Life Lines (1989). Jill Ireland experienced moderate popularity and fame and she worked on many major Hollywood studio pictures, but she was essentially a B-movie actress.
Jill Ireland was born and raised in London, England. From her autiobiography Life Lines, it appears that Jill Ireland was raised in a completely non-churchgoing home and was never a member of an organzied religious denomination or congregation. If Jill Ireland did have any kind of religious upbringing, she certainly does not mention it in Life Lines, nor is there any indication in her writing our outlook on life that she has had any religious upbringing.
Jill Ireland's family, as she describes it in Life Lines, could be described as quintessentially British. She describes her deep Celtic roots and her infatuation with the idea that she might have some "exotic" Italian ancestry. Ireland's description of her family's Christmas traditions (Life Lines, pages 49, 53-55, 85-89, 348) is indicative of a vaguely Christian background (probably Anglican). But even here Ireland's family background seems unusually secular.
Jill Ireland's first husband was actor David McCallum, with whom she had three children. That marriage lasted from May 1957 until their divorce was finalized in 1967. For many years before Ireland's marriage to McCallum was over, she was having an affair with actor Charles Bronson.
When Jill Ireland finally married her long-time lover Charles Bronson, it was with a simple civil ceremony. From: Jill Ireland, Life Lines (autobiography), Warner Books: New York (1989), page 72:
Three days later Charlie [Charles Bronson] and I went to Santa Monica City Hall with all five children and Marcia as a witness. After the ceremony, we returned to the mansion on Udine to paint the sitting room.
From the moment I married Charlie and was made the mistress of his house and mother of his children, I was forced to play grownup while most of me was still dying to be one of the children and have fun.
The mantle of motherhood in my new marriage was a heavy one.
Jill Ireland's marriage to actor Charles Bronson lasted from 5 October 1968 until her death on in 1990.
In the closing chapter (the Afterword) of Jill Ireland's autobiographical book Life Lines, she makes no mention of any belief (or disbelief) in God, or of any other traditionally religious concepts. Her silence on these subjects here matches their omission throughout the book. Most of her closing words in this book (published in the year prior to her death on 18 May 1990) are excerpted below. Her closing words suggest a certain increased degree of wisdom attained since her previous book, and also seem to reflect an uneasy feeling of hopelessness or fatalism. From: Jill Ireland, Life Lines, pages 355-358:
I should be enjoying, for the first time in my life, a lighthearted freedom from most of the worries of parenting. Now I cannot see that happeneing. Maybe one never attains that Nirvana, the cherished freedom from constant concern--a state of mind I had hoped one day to reach.
The situation with my elderly parents is one I face constantly...
My parents occupy at least half the portion of my brain allocated to worry. The other fifty percent is given over to Jason.
Jason, my middle son, is an alcoholic and a drug addict. Only now, after more than four years of living with this knowledge, somehow the pain is not as devastating as it once was...
My joys have been as intense as my tragedies. But I am learning to acknowledge that I'm not omnipotent, that life would go on without me. My loved ones cannot be protected, guided, and controlled by me all their lives. Nor do they want to be. Indeed, many of them have struggled in the fist of my determination for years...
Am I pondering the problem of all women of my generation, the historical, traditional destiny of womankind, I wonder. Or is it unique to the twentieth century? Thanks to the intervention of medical science people are living years longer. In my grandparents' time one rarely dealt with the question of elderly parents. Indeed, a woman was elderly herself at an age when today's woman is striving in her career and looking toward the future.
By prolonging the adolescence of our children and the longevity of our parents my generation finds itself caught like Peter Pan in Never-Never Land.
Making room for our own space in time is becoming increasingly difficult.
When is it our turn?
How do we fit into life as our future, past, and present tug at us desperately in different directions?
Where is our time for peace? Our time for us?
Maybe we are the true lost generation.
I always feel as if I know what's best for my aging parents and my robust offspring. And, on paper, I do.
But as I become older and wiser, I realize only one individual knows what is best. That someone is the person still traveling the journey of his or her life, and not an observer, no matter how loving or related.
My children are old enough to bear children, and yet I constantly worry for each and every one of them. My mother told me that this never will end. So I am caught up in a vortex of parental concern that continues foreer and ever and ever, spiraling down through the generations where it will eventually be taken up by the youngest member to spin it off to spiral yet again.
Webpage created 12 November 2005. Last modified 12 November 2005.
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