The extremely talented British actress, Virginia McKenna, is best known for her film roles including The Cruel Sea (1953), Carve Her Name with Pride (1958) and A Town Like Alice (1956), for which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress. McKenna co-starred with her second husband, Bill Travers, in The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957), Ring of Bright Water (1969) and perhaps most memorably in Born Free (1966). Filmed in spectacular African settings the story of Born Free is based on the real adventures of the late Joy Adamson, her husband George, and Elsa the lioness.
Virginia McKenna was so inspired and emotionally moved by the filming of Born Free that she decided to devote her life to protecting wildlife. She and Bill Travers began campaigning immediately and eventually their projects became combined as the Born Free Foundation. Today the Born Free Foundation is a well-known and respected active campaigning charity that fights to prevent animal persecution and keep wildlife in the wild. Virginia McKenna is still actively involved and was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's New Year's Honours List for her services to wildlife and to the arts.