Barbara Windsor

BIOGRAPHY

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BARBARA WINDSOR

BIOGRAPHY

Barbara Ann Deeks was born in 1937 to dressmaker and bus driver parents. An only child, she was gifted academically, passing her 11-plus exams with the highest mark in North London.

Barbara discovered her love for singing and dancing at an early age, after a visit to the theatre with her grandfather.

In 1952, she landed a part in the chorus of 'Love From Lucy', and stayed in the show for two years. A couple of minor films roles led to her break in 'Fings Ain't What they Used to Be', and her career took off with her first 'Carry On' film, 'Carry On Spying' in 1964.

Babs became known as the eternal 'dolly bird', going on to appear in nine early 'Carry On' films. Her most memorable role in this franchise was in 'Carry On Camping' in 1969 when her bra pops off during an exercise lesson. Her absence from the later films was due to her belief that they had gone beyond their 'innocent sauciness'.

In 1992, she returned to the genre in the stage production, 'Wot a Carry On'. Barbara's off-screen life has attracted as much attention as her on-screen roles. Her famed romances with the likes of gangster Ronnie Knight and 'Carry On' colleague Sid James did little to keep her out of the tabloids.

Following a career low in the 1990s, she made a comeback in the long-running BBC soap 'Eastenders' in 1994, playing Peggy Mitchell, mother of the Mitchell brothers. The role cast her back into the spotlight.

In 1999, she released a duet with Mike Reid called 'The More I See You'. This reached number 44 in the UK Singles Charts. In 2000, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

A debilitating case of the Epstein-Barr virus forced her to take a two-year long absence from EastEnders in 2003. She rejoined the cast on a full-time basis in the summer of 2005 and signed a one-year contract. After playing Peggy on and off for 16 years, with storylines involving affairs with Frank Butcher, cat-fights with Pat, fighting breast cancer and a marriage to villain Archie Mitchell, she declared she was leaving in 2009. During her time on the soap, she won a Best Actress Award in 1999 and Lifetime Achievement in 2009 at the British Soap Awards. On10 September 2010, she left Albert Square to spend more time with her husband.

Since then, she has voiced the dormouse in Tim Burton's live adaptation of 'Alice in Wonderland' (2010) and appeared in the pantomime 'Dick Whittington' over Christmas 2010-11. Windsor has also fronted an ad campaign for Jackpotjoy and played herself in an episode of 'Come Fly With Me' with Matt Lucas and David Walliams in January 2011.

Windsor now regularly stands in for Elaine Page on her BBC Radio Two show on Sunday afternoons.

Barbara has married three times. She married Ronnie Knight in 1964 and they divorced in 1985. A year later she married Stephen Hollings, with the marriage lasting just under a decade. Her current spouse is Scott Mitchell. They were married in 2000.

During her first marriage, she had an affair with her 'Carry On' co-star, Sid James. She was also romantically linked to the gangster Reggie Kray in the 1960s.

In her autobiography, 'All of Me', Windsor openly talks about her four abortions. The first three of which took place before the age of 21 and the last occurring when she was 42.

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