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Barbara Windsor Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (52)  | Personal Quotes (16)  | Salary (12)

Overview (4)

Born in Shoreditch, London, England, UK
Birth NameBarbara-Ann Deeks
Nicknames The Queen of Carry On
Barb
Little Bird
One-take Windsor
Babs
Height 4' 10" (1.47 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Barbara Windsor got a glimpse of theatrical life at an early age when her grandmother took her backstage at a theatre and she decided that was what she wanted to do. She attended several professional schools before making her stage debut at age 12. At 15 she got a job in the chorus line of a London musical and stayed with the show for the next two years, although she took some minor roles in films during that time. She did become well known in the London theatrical scene, but it was the series of "Carry On" comedies that made her a star. Although she appeared in only nine films in the long-running series (she left because she thought they were getting too risqué), she made such an impression as the basically goodhearted but dizzy sexpot that many of the series' fans believe she was in many more than she actually was. She almost didn't get the part originally, as she and series regular Kenneth Williams took an instant dislike to each other, but that was soon overcome and they became lifelong friends.

After she left the series she continued her stage and film work, and became a regular in a long-running British soap opera, EastEnders (1985) as the matriarch of "The Queen Vic" - "Peggy Mitchell".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Her father was a bus conductor and her mother a dressmaker. She was a bright pupil at school and her parents wanted her to go to university but her first taste of show business, which was an appearance in a dance school show, convinced her to think that her future was on the stage. She was invited to take part in a local pantomime but the school authorities disapproved of the time off that was needed for rehearsals so she was asked to leave. Her mother spent all her savings on a place at the Aida Foster Acting School where she made her stage debut in Aida's 1950's pantomime at the Golders Green Hippodrome. Aida's tutors tried to iron out her Cockney accent but luckily they didn't succeed. In 1952 she was cast as one of the orphans in the musical 'Love From Judy' which opened at London's Saville Theatre. With the show's star, Johnny Brandon, she made her television debut in 'Variety Parade'. Two years later in 1954 she made her film debut as a school girl extra in 'The Belles of St Trinians and by 1957 she was performing at London's Winston's Club with Amanda Barrie. The producer Joan Littlewood, who was committed to working class theatre spotted her at an audition and in 1960 gave her the role which changed her life - Rose in 'Fings Ain't What They Used To Be' at London's Garrick Theatre where it ran for 2 and a 1/2 years during which she appeared in the TV sit com The Rag Trade (1961). As a result of the success of 'Fings' Joan cast her in the film Sparrows Can't Sing (1963) which which was seen by producer Peter Rogers who offered her roles in 'Carry on' films, the first of which was Carry On Spying (1964). In 1964/6 She appeared in Joan's stage version of 'Oh! What a Lovely War' on Broadway and toured America with it. On her return she was cast in the West End production of Lionel Bart's ill fated musical, 'Twang', which closed after a short run allowing her to take a part in 'Come Spy With Me' with Danny La Rue at London's Whitehall Theatre. During the run she had a complete change in playing one of the Rippers victims in the film A Study in Terror (1965) then it was back to light hearted roles in such films as Carry On Doctor (1967) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and in 1968 a British tour with Frankie Howerd in 'The Wind in the Sasafras Tree. In late '69, Ned Sherrin cast her as the music hall legend Marie Lloyd in 'Sing a Rude Song' which opened at the Greenwich Theatre before transferring to the West End's Garrick Theatre. Despite all her comedy roles on stage, and in film she is probably now better known for her part of Peggy Mitchell which she played in over 1,500 episodes of EastEnders (1985). She has written two autobiographies, 'Barbara - the Laughter and Tears of a Cockney Sparrow' and 'All of Me - My Extraordinary Life'

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Spouse (3)

Scott Mitchell (8 April 2000 - present)
Stephen Hollings (12 April 1986 - 1995) ( divorced)
Ronnie Knight (2 March 1964 - 1985) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

Her bubbly laugh (which must be heard to be appreciated)
Platinum blonde hair
Sparkling blue eyes
Voluptuous figure
Deep sultry voice
Petite frame

Trivia (52)

She was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's New Year's Honours List for her services to entertainment.
Nominated for a 1965 Featured Actress in a Musical Tony Award for her performance in "Oh, What a Lovely War!" directed by her mentor Joan Littlewood.
First husband, Ronnie Knight, fled to Spain after bank robbery charges were filed against him.
A debilitating case of the Epstein-Barr virus forced a two-year long absence from EastEnders (1985) from 2003 to 2005.
In her autobiography "All of Me", Windsor candidly talks about her affair with her "Carry On" co-star Sidney James. She was also romantically linked to the gangster Reggie Kray in the 1960s as well as "Bee Gee" Maurice Gibb. She also discusses her five abortions, the first three taking place before age 21, and the last occurring when she was 42; her cosmetic surgeries; and numerous nervous breakdowns and hospitalizations. She also freely admits her penchant for younger men (present husband Scott Mitchell is 26 years younger than she).
The only child of John Deeks, a costermonger (fruit/vegetable street seller), and wife Rose Deeks, a dressmaker, who eventually divorced. She was trained in dance at age 6 and also took elocution lessons while young.
In a 1987 TV-AM interview, she stated her favourite Carry On film is Carry on Henry VIII (1971).
She married her third husband, Scott Mitchell, at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England.
Is a close friend of EastEnders (1985) co-star Patsy Palmer, referring to her as "the daughter she never had".
Was in attendance at the funeral of her former EastEnders (1985) co-star Wendy Richard (9 March 2009).
Was a very close friend of "Carry On" co-star Kenneth Williams.
First "Carry On" was Carry On Spying (1964).
Was in attendance at the wedding of her EastEnders (1985) co-star Samantha Womack to Mark Womack (17 May 2009).
Her paternal great-grandmother Mary Ann Collins fled with her family from Cork in Ireland to the East End of London during the Irish potato famine and whilst in London she took up work as a match-stick girl.
In order to play the character 'Goldie' in the film Carry On Again Doctor (1969) she went on a very strict diet without informing the film's director, Gerald Thomas. Thomas was unhappy on seeing Barbara's new slimline figure and remarked, "Well, that's the joke about Bristols out of the window.".
Is best friends with Anna Karen.
As a child, her favourite actress was Betty Grable.
Was evacuated to Blackpool during World War II, where she lived for a year before returning home to London.
Her first job after leaving school at age 16 was as a customer service assistant in a shoe shop.
Made her West End debut in the musical "Love From Judy" in September 1952 at age 15.
Learned her craft at Aida Foster Theatre School in Golders Green, resulting in her stage debut in a pantomime in December 1950 at age 13.
Suffered a nervous breakdown in 1981 and underwent a hysterectomy in February 1994.
Had a much publicised affair with "Carry On" co-star Sidney James from 1973 until his death in 1976. The affair was dramatised in the stage play "Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick" and its television adaptation Cor, Blimey! (2000).
Her EastEnders (1985) character Peggy Mitchell's wedding to Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), dated on 1 April 1999, ranked #22 on "The 50 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Weddings of All Time" (2010).
Her EastEnders (1985) character Peggy Mitchell's wedding to Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb), dated on 2 April 2009, ranked #1 on "The 50 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Weddings of All Time" (2010).
Holds the record for playing the shortest-serving soap character to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, having won the award at The British Soap Awards 2009 (2009) for 15 years of playing Peggy Mitchell on EastEnders (1985).
As of 2019 she is the 6th-longest serving actress in the history of EastEnders (1985) (behind only June Brown, Pam St. Clement, Letitia Dean, Wendy Richard and a tied Gillian Taylforth and Natalie Cassidy), having played the character Peggy Mitchell for a total of 18 years (initially from 1994 until 2010, briefly in 2013, and then from 2014 to 2016).
Is one of 7 EastEnders (1985) actors to have won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards; the others are June Brown, Wendy Richard, Pam St. Clement, Adam Woodyatt, Steve McFadden and Rudolph Walker.
Is one of 7 EastEnders (1985) actresses to have won the Best Actress Award at the British Soap Awards; the others are Patsy Palmer, Natalie Cassidy, Kacey Ainsworth, Lacey Turner, Jessie Wallace and Kellie Bright.
Ranked #12 in the 100 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Characters of All Time for her performance as Peggy Mitchell (2010).
In an amazing coincidence, Patsy Kensit's ancestor that she found on "Who Do You Think You Are?", the Reverend James Mayne, is clearly recorded in the register of St Matthews Church Bethnal Green register on 24 September 1833 as performing the marriage of Golding Deeks and Elizabeth Livermore, two of the ancestors of Barbara Windsor found during her own quest for her ancestry in a different episode of the same series.
Ranked #14 in The 100 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Characters of All Time for her performance as Peggy Mitchell (2015).
Was named after ice skater Barbara Ann Scott, as her parents were both fans.
She was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to charity and entertainment.
Was unable to appear in Carry on Behind (1975) because she was touring New Zealand with her variety showcase Carry On Barbara.
Before her marriage to Ronnie Knight, she had a one night stand with Reg Kray.
She said she was asked to play Cleopatra in Carry On Cleo (1964), but had a disagreement with the producer. Amanda Barrie was cast instead. Carry On producer Peter Rogers said in a DVD interview that Windsor was never seriously considered to play Cleopatra.
Was very unhappy with the EastEnders (1985) storyline where Peggy Mitchell launches a hate campaign against Mark Fowler when he is HIV positive.
She was offered the role of Queen Isabella in Carry on Columbus (1992) but, despite the big name cast which included several Carry On veterans, she turned it down because she thought the script was rubbish. She chose to do end-of-pier theatre instead. June Whitfield was cast in the role instead.
During the 1960s, she had a brief relationship with footballer George Best.
Was meant to play several roles in Carry On Emmannuelle (1978) - the female fantasy figures in the kitchen-table flashback sequences, as well as a nurse at the end of the film. However, she was unable to appear, as she was on holiday at the time.
She has said she never wanted children as a result of her father rejecting her.
In 2012, she became a patron of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, and in November 2014, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of East London.
Became pregnant twice by her 1st husband Ronnie Knight; on both occasions she had abortions. She aborted their 1st baby in January 1960 at 4 months pregnant and their 2nd in December 1965 at 2 months pregnant.
Was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to charity on 22 March 2016. Her former EastEnders (1985) co-stars Pam St. Clement and June Brown were in attendance.
Was presented her Lifetime Achievement Award at The British Soap Awards 2010 (2010) by her EastEnders (1985) co-stars Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp. McFadden and Kemp's characters Phil and Grant Mitchell were Windsor's character Peggy Mitchell's sons on the show.
Played her first grandmother role on-screen at age 59 on EastEnders (1985).
Her EastEnders (1985) character Peggy Mitchell was a mother, grandmother and great grandmother whereas Windsor had no children in real life.
Was in attendance at her former EastEnders (1985) co-star Lacey Turner's wedding to Matt Kaye in Ibiza on September 2, 2017.
Was portrayed by Honor Kneafsey as a child, Jaime Winstone as a young woman, and Samantha Spiro in her fifties in the biopic Babs (2017).
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in April 2014 and retired from public life in May 2018.
Fitted with a pacemaker in August 2018 after suffering a fall at home.

Personal Quotes (16)

It's amazing, fantastic. It's spot on and absolutely sensational. - On her Madame Tussaud's wax works model
We didn't get a lot of money and we did always seem to be doing outside shots in winter but it paid the mortgage and I loved it. - On her Carry On movies
In my late 40s I found it difficult at casting interviews because people would still think I was as young as I appeared in the Carry Ons. I would go for a part that was my age but they would have seen Carry On Camping the night before and say I was far too young.
[Speaking about Joan Sims in 2001 at the time of her death] "To me she was the last of the great Carry Ons. She was there at the beginning. Her talent was wonderful, she could do any accent, dialect, she could dance, sing, play dowdy and glam. We laughed all the time and giggled a lot. I will sorely miss her."
On not having children: I don't have any regrets about not having kids. I've just never had those maternal feelings. I am a nurturer by nature, but I nurture adults: my friends, the people I work with. I don't want to nurture children.
I am not like my image; I take my work so seriously. Everyone thinks I just bounce in, but I study and everything has to be just right.
I've been incredibly lucky. I've worked in two iconic shows, 'Carry On' and EastEnders (1985). If it all ended tomorrow - and it could - I'd just be terribly grateful. I've been fortunate enough to do what I love and get paid for it.
I found myself in the doldrums in the early Nineties. I was too old to play the dolly bird any longer and I looked too young to play a woman of my real age. No one ever saw me as the aunt, mother or grandmother.
Jessie Wallace was the first time I erupted. She was late, she was young. She's not like that any more. I lost my temper. It was silly and I burst into tears and ran up to the producer. I said I had been terrible and amateur.
I have had the most wonderful time on EastEnders (1985) and I will miss you all. The show has changed my life and I want you all to continue the good work, because I'll be at home watching you.
EastEnders (1985) has been wonderful to me and it's no secret that it changed my life all of those years ago. I'll be so sad to leave Peggy behind; she's such a wonderful character to play. I have had the pleasure of working with a marvelous cast and crew and have made many lasting good friends.
The beautiful thing is that ageism just doesn't exist on EastEnders (1985). The show saved me.
I miss EastEnders (1985) I loved it. But I was exhausted when I left. They asked me to go back recently - they've asked a few times. I am tempted! But my husband Scott says you have to really think about it. Because, towards the end, I was so exhausted and not sleeping at night. I'm not quite ready for it.
I check all my props, everything. Acting is something I love. I have done it since I was 13 but it had completely taken over my life absolutely.
I am aware that I look good for my age. It's my genes. My dad looked incredibly young, so did my mother. And a younger husband helps. Scott is only 45. If he hadn't come along, I don't know what I'd have done.
[about her damehood] For a girl from the East End born into a working class family and an evacuee during World War Two, this is truly like a dream.

Salary (12)

The Rag Trade (1961) 50 pounds per episode
Carry on Spying (1964) £4,000
Carry On Doctor (1967) £1,500
Carry On Camping (1969) £3,000
Carry on Again Doctor (1969) £2,000
Carry on Henry (1971) £2,000
Carry on Matron (1972) £2,400
Carry on Abroad (1972) £2,500
Carry on Girls (1973) £3,000
Carry on Dick (1974) £3,000
Carry on Laughing! (1975) 900 pounds per episode
EastEnders (1985) £360,000 (2006)

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