Margaret Rutherford, the daughter of William Benn and Florence Rutherford, was born in 1892. Her father was the brother of the politician John Benn. Before her birth, her father had murdered her grandfather, Julius Benn. As a result of this tragedy, Margaret took her mother's name. Margaret's mother died when she was three years old and she was brought up by her aunt.
At school Rutherford developed an interest in the theatre and her aunt paid for her to have private acting lessons. When her aunt died she left Margaret a small amount of money so she could pursue a career on the the stage. In 1925 Rutherford was accepted as a student at the Old Vic Theatre where she appeared in several small roles.
Rutherford made her first appearance in London's West End in 1933. Her talent was not recognised by the critics until her performance as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest (1939) by Oscar Wilde. This was followed by the role as Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, Blithe Spirit (1941) and the Happiest Days of Your Life (1948). In all three cases, she played the same role when they were made into feature films. Rutherford also made a series of films as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and in 1963 won an Oscar for her performance in The VIPs. Margaret Rutherford, who was married to the actor, Stringer Davis, died in 1972.