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Emma du Maurier

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Julie Christie as Emma du Maurier in Finding Neverland
Julie Christie as Emma du Maurier in Finding Neverland

Emma du Maurier was the mother of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and grandmother of the boys who inspired the creation of Peter Pan. Her husband was the famous cartoonist and novelist George du Maurier, and her son Gerald du Maurier was a noted stage actor (including the original Captain Hook).

She appeared as a supporting character in the 2004 film Finding Neverland, played by Julie Christie. Her role in this story – as a proper English lady distrustful of Barrie and with little indulgence for the frivolity of imaginary play – is an unlikely one. The du Maurier family were immigrants to Britain (George was French, Emma was German), and included a cartoonist and an actor, professions inclined to indulge creativity. Furthermore, the family had been lukewarm in its embrace of Arthur Llewelyn Davies, and presumably would have at least taken a little comfort to see their formerly Bohemian beauty Sylvia getting involved with someone as interesting and inventive as Barrie... especially if he had looked like Johnny Depp (which he did not). Aside from her social class, the role seems to have been based more heavily on the Davies' family nurse, Mary Hodgson.

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