Skip to content

See Mary Lennox From "The Secret Garden" Now at 40

Former child star Kate Maberly is working behind the camera these days.

Kate Maberly not only transfixed a generation who grew up watching her play Mary Lennox in the 1993 film version of The Secret Garden, she also got to star alongside Maggie Smith when she was just 12 years old. The former child actor told Vulture in 2020 of working with Smith, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role, "My very first day of filming, my very first scene, was the scene where she walks into the bedroom and I've just woken up, and I stand up on the bed, and I say, 'Who's going to dress me?' And we have that kind of face-off. It was obviously a hugely exciting thing, my first day on this incredible movie, to have that with her."

The adaptation of the 1911 novel was Maberly's first film credit, and she received glowing reviews for playing the closed-off orphan who's taken in by her uncle. The success of the family movie opened a number of doors for the British actor. Read on to learn what she's been working on since.

READ THIS NEXT: See Young Jenny From Forrest Gump Now at 37.

She went on to more roles.

Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse and Andrew Knott in The Secret Garden
Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Maberly hit the ground running after winning over audiences in The Secret Garden. She went on to appear in the TV miniseries The LangoliersGulliver's Travels, and Daniel Deronda, and the TV movies The Last of the Blonde Bombshells and Victoria & Albert. Maberly played Wendy Darling in 2004's Finding Neverland and played roles in a handful of horror movies and thrillers in the late 2000s and '10s. Her most recent acting credit is in the 2022 film 1066.

In addition to onscreen roles, Maberly has also performed voiceover work, done radio plays, and read audiobooks. One of her projects, the audiobook of Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, won an Audie Award in 1995.

She stepped behind the camera.

Kate Maberly in 2010
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Maberly's interest in movies goes beyond acting. She's also become a filmmaker herself. She wrote, produced, and directed a short film called Charlie's Supersonic Glider, which was shown at the Hollywood Film Festival in 2015. Since that same year, she's been attached to write and direct an adaptation of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, based on the popular young adult books by Carrie Ryan. According to a 2015 Yahoo! report, Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams was set to star, but recent updates on the movie are scarce.

For more celebrity updates sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

She's also a musician.

Kate Maberly in 2017
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Along with pursuing acting, Maberly began studying music when she was a child as well. When she was just 14 years old, she traveled internationally with the Dunottar Chamber Ensemble as a solo pianist. And, according to her biography on the school's website, "She achieved grade 8 in both Piano and Cello in school and went on to study at London's Trinity College of Music, graduating in 2004 with a joint honours degree in piano and cello performance." Maberly is also a songwriter and a singer, though it remains to be seen whether she'll release any music professionally.

She still gets recognized as Mary.

Maberly told Vulture that even now that she's all grown up, she's still most often recognized by fans for her Secret Garden role.

"Still now and again if I'm buying Starbucks. Which is nice," she said. "It's generally girls who were around the same age that you were when you saw it, and they say that it saved them. I love that. Because it's always a lovely recognition, like, 'That film meant a lot to me.' I always take it as a big compliment."

The movie changed her life too, she told the publication, in that it helped her understand at a young age that she "wanted to be behind the camera."

"I had a bit of fame very young, and there's stuff that comes with that that's not very fun," Maberly explained. "But you learn from it. From rejection, or that not everyone in the world is all that nice. And there's bullying. But I actually think getting some of that out of your system very young—I'm incredibly lucky. I have incredible parents and a great family, so I had great roots. Because otherwise it could have been really insane. But because I did, I think it was just a great education."

Karen Fratti
Karen Fratti is an entertainment and culture writer. She went to Temple University, where she received a B.A. in English and has an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School University. Read more
Filed Under