Saturday, 16 July 2016
Whatever Happened To ... Edina Ronay?
This is part of an occasional series of blogs looking at the careers of some of the supporting actors who cropped up in some of the countless Peter Rogers Productions over the years. Today I am going to look at a striking actress who made a big impact in the mid 1960s before deciding on a very successful career change - Edina Ronay.
Edina Ronay only appeared in one Carry On, but it was one of the best in the series. In 1965 she joined the gang for the wild West adventure Carry On Cowboy. In a mostly male-dominated cast, Edina sparkled as the glamorous Dolores alongside Joan Sims and Angela Douglas. She was not only an attractive sight to behold but also put in a superb supporting turn and boasted a convincing American accent. Although mostly a background character in the saloon scenes, Edina came into her own in the cat fight sequence in the jail opposite Joan and Angela. According to Angela Douglas in the DVD audio commentary, Edina had actually broken her collar bone before filming! She must have been quite a trouper as the fight sequence sees the three actresses really go for it!
Ronay must have been a hit with the Carry On producers as she went on to make another appearance for them on the big screen the very same year. The Big Job may not have been a Carry On in title but the cast was extremely familiar - Sid James, Joan Sims, Jim Dale and Lance Percival with the additions of Dick Emery, Deryck Guyler and Sylvia Syms proved another strong comedy hit for the team. The classic crime caper is a favourite of mine and sees Edina cast as Sims' sexy daughter Sally. Despite these two eye catching turns in 1965, sadly Edina did not return to Pinewood to work for Rogers and Thomas again. So what else did she get up to in her acting career?
One of Edina's earliest film appearances was the uncredited role of school girl Lavinia in the 1960 hit The Pure Hell of St Trinian's. This was followed up with other small roles in the likes of A Hard Day's Night, Night Train To Paris and The Black Torment. 1965, the same year she worked for Peter Rogers, saw Edina star opposite another Carry On actress in the film A Study in Terror. Playing opposite Barbara Windsor, Edina plays Mary Kelly in this period horror which sees Sherlock Holmes on the trail of Jack The Ripper. Later roles include the films Perhistoric Women, Our Mother's House and the sex comedy, The Window Cleaner.
On television Edina appeared in several of the classic 1960s series. These included episodes of No Hiding Place, The Avengers, The Champions and Department S. Edina's last roles were in the mid 1970s - in the 1974 film The Swordsman and an episode of the 1975 series Shades of Greene. So why did Edina then suddenly decide to retire from acting and what did she do next?
Edina Ronay was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944. The daughter of the food critic Egon Ronay and mother to the actress and writer Shebah Ronay, Edina began an acting career in England in the early 1960s. However by the early 1970s another passion was taking over her attentions. Edina started training to be a fashion designer, specialising in knitwear to begin with. By 1984 she had set up her own company and is now known around the world as a hugely successful designer. Ronay was honoured with a fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.
Sadly I don't think I've ever heard Edina speak of her acting career. I would love to hear her memories of working with the Carry On team on Cowboy and also The Big Job. If anybody knows of any interviews with her please do send them by way! I did find one recent interview about her life which you can read here You can also visit Edina's website here
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