Denis, Michaela Holdsworth 1914-2003

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DENIS, Michaela Holdsworth 1914-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 28, 1914, in London, England; died May 4, 2003. Filmmaker and author. Along with her first husband, Armand Denis, Denis became famous in the 1950s for her wildlife documentary television series. Originally trained as a fashion designer in Paris, she worked in France until the beginning of World War II, whereupon she returned to England. After the war she moved to New York City to work, and there met filmmaker Armand Denis. After he divorced his first wife, Armand married Michaela in 1948 and the two set out to make wildlife films together. Many of their films were made in Africa, though they also traveled to other exotic locales around the world. The results of these efforts were turned into several British television series, including Filming in Africa (1955), Michaela and Armand Denis (1955-58), On Safari (1957-59, 1961-65), and Safari to Asia (1959-61), as well as the films Below the Sahara (1954), Under the Southern Cross, On the Great Barrier Reef, and Amongst the Headhunters. Denis became particularly popular for her photogenic good looks, enhanced by her insistence on always bringing makeup with her no matter where the couple went. She also wrote several books about her experiences, including Leopard in My Lap (1955), Ride a Rhino (1959), and Voice of the Lark (1964). After Armand died in 1971, Denis remained in Kenya and ran a real-estate business in Nairobi. She married attorney Sir William O'Brien Lindsay in 1975, but he tragically died the same year. Believing she had psychic powers, she became known as a spiritual healer to the local people. She was also involved in conservation efforts and was a member of the executive committees for Men without Trees, the Kenya Society for Protection and Care of Animals, and the Junior Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as being a representative at the World Federation for the Protection of Animals in Geneva, Switzerland. Her last book was At Home with Michaela (1965).



Daily Telegraph (London, England), May 12, 2003.

Guardian (London, England), May 13, 2003, p. 25.

Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2003, p. B19.

Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), May 22, 2003, p. 20.

Times (London, England), May 22, 2003, p. 39.