Jessica was born in London, England in 1909, the youngest of three. Her mother was a teacher, and her father died when she was twelve. Her older brothers were interested in the theatre and although she joined them for fun at first she absorbed their interest and eventually entered acting school. She wasn't considered a beauty, or at least didn't think of herself in that way. She thought her ordinary looks were accepted on stage cause of her acting ability. Maybe this is why she preferred stage to movies for most of her life.
Hume was one of a family of five children born in London, Canada. His father was a businessman and Member of Parliament and his mother was an heiress of the Labatt brewing company.
Each of them had a short-lived marriage before they met. Jessica had a daughter Susan from her first marriage.
They met in 1940. Hume was in New York to see a performance of a friend and fellow Londoner Alex Knox. Jessica was appearing in the same play. .' I won't say it was love at the first sight of her onstage, but I certainly was impressed.' said Hume.
They married after two years of dating and remained together until her death fifty-two years later. An interviewer once asked them the natural question-what made their marriage work? Jessica quipped "We're both perfect.." but Hume said "She's the reason it works." They were different in their approaches and temperaments. They worked together on many projects but Jessica said they never discussed their work at home.
They had two children, a daughter Tandy and a son Christopher.
Their lives together were happy but plagued with health problems. Jessica suffered from angina and glaucoma and fought ovarian cancer. Hume lost an eye due to cancer in 1962 and was plagued with bouts of depression.
Despite their problems they remained active in their careers to the end. Jessica suffered from stage fright which became worse as she aged. Yet she worked all her life at her craft, taking on roles both large and small. She said, "If you wait for the greatest part, you will wait a long time and your skills will decrease. You cannot be an actor without acting." They were honoured with many awards for their achievements including a Kennedy Centre lifetime achievement award and a National Medal of Art presented to them by President George Bush
They maintained a loving marriage for fifty-two years till Jessica's death in 1994.
Hume died of prostate cancer in 2003.