Carry On and EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor celebrates her 79th birthday today! Barbara remains one of the most identifiable and prominent of all the Carry On actors and her star status has endured over seven decades in the business. She is very much a British icon.
Barbara rose to stardom thanks to her association with the legendary Joan Littlewood at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, East London, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Barbara's big break came with the film Sparrows Can't Sing, released in 1963. Her first film appearance had been in The Belles of St Trinian's almost a decade earlier. It was a starring role in Carry On Spying in 1964 that turned her into a comedy legend.
Barbara was the quintessential bubbly blonde and added her distinct appeal to nine original Carry On films between 1964 and 1974. In addition to these appearances, she fronted the compilation film That's Carry On with friend and co-star Kenneth Williams in 1977, appeared in the Carry On London stage revue between 1973 and 1975, starred in all four Christmas Carry On specials on television and appeared regularly in the ATV series Carry On Laughing in 1975.
Younger audiences know Barbara for her 16 year reign as the Landlady of the Queen Victoria pub in EastEnders. It was quite a career turn around for Barbara as finally we all saw the serious actress lurking underneath the bubbly, fluffy Carry On persona.
Barbara is a true showbiz legend, a survivor, a tough cookie and a grafter. She is one of those precious few all rounders still with us these days and it's always good to hear from her.
So here's hoping Barbara has a fantastic birthday today, and many more!
Happy Birthday Babs!