Wynona Cheyney

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Wynona Cheyney (b. 04/05/1934) was an actress. Also credited as Wynona Cheney.


Prior to becoming a beauty queen, Wynona Millicent Cheney was an accomplished dancer. As a young girl she came first in her category at the National Eisteddfod and later obtained a certificate from the Royal Academy of Dancing. In 1949 she became the third Miss South Africa in an unofficial beauty pageant, keeping the title until 1951. After that she appeared in two revues, namely The Craziest Show on Earth, staged by Hugo Keleti, and Wet Paint, staged by Ken Noyle, both produced at the Reps Theatre towards the end of 1953.

Her first film was Alles Sal Regkom! (Hyman Kirstein/1951) with Al Debbo and Frederik Burgers, followed by Vadertjie Langbeen (Pierre de Wet/1955), Matieland! (Pierre de Wet/1955), Rip van Wyk (Emil Nofal/1960) and Hans en die Rooinek / Sidney and the Boer (Jamie Uys/1961). She also spent some time in England, appearing in an episode of the television series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956) credited as Nona Cheyney. In February 1962 it was reported that she and champion bodybuilder Roy Hilligenn were working on a film to be called Kalahari and that she would also be making a short for the Eye-Bank. Kalahari was never completed and there is no evidence that the other one was. In between films she concentrated on her modelling career. She was married and divorced at least three times, including to Nigel Steggall, who had a role in the Al Debbo film Gevaarlike Spel (1962).

In 1968 her apparent unfortunate choice of men in her life led to a court case, in which she and her alleged fourth husband were accused of leaving the country without valid papers, instead using stolen passports. She received a three-month suspended sentence and after four years in Great Britain she returned to South Africa in 1977, professing to be looking for another husband. After that she disappeared from sight.

(Trivia: In March 1956, several regional American newspapers reported that that she and another beauty contest entrant hoping to obtain a modeling job in London refused to parade in swimming suits at a frog jumping contest. “I can’t see what parading in bathing suits in front of a crowd at a frog jumping contest has got to do with modeling in London,” Miss Cheyney said.


Terre Haute Tribune, Terre Haute, Indiana, 27 March 1956

Sunday Times, 7 October 1956

Sunday Times, 10 December 1961

Sunday Times, 27 March 1977

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)



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