Aged 77, Barbara Ann Deeks is known the world over for providing fans of TV and movies with decades of entertainment. Of course, she’s known to the world as none other than Barbara Windsor, a hugely talented actress who made her acting debut at the age of just 12 and has been heavily involved in the entertainment ever since.
Barbara, or Babs as she is fondly referred to by her fans, decided that acting was the career for her after she was taken backstage at a theatre by her grandmother. Between the ages of 15 and 17, she secured a role in a London musical whilst also taking on some minor movie roles. However, her real breakthrough came when she joined the cast of the Carry On movies, which became much-loved all around the world and catapulted Barbara Windsor to fame.
What many people do not realise is that Barbara almost didn’t get into the Carry On cast because she and another long standing member of the cast – Kenneth Williams – didn’t get along. However, over time that was all set to change and the pair would become close friends for life. In all, Barbara starred in nine Carry On movies and her portrayal of various fun, bubbly yet dizzy characters won the hearts of the British public as well as of fans from around the world.
During her heyday in the 60s and 70s, Barbara was also romantically linked to a number of well-known names, although not all were in the acting business. She has admitted that she had an affair with fellow Carry On actor Sid James. She was also romantically-linked to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, as well as London gangster Reggie Kray. Today, the pint- sized star, who stands at just 4’10”, is married to a man who is 26 years her junior.
Post Carry On years
After leaving the Carry On cast, Barbara continued to work on stage and screen. Her next big break came in 1985, when she secured the part of the Mitchell brothers’ mother in EastEnders. While she wasn’t in the soap a great deal to start with, she became a regular over the years and found new fame as Peggy Mitchell, the landlady of the Queen Vic.
Over recent years, Barbara has also done work on TV commercials, and one of the roles she has become known for is the Queen of Bingo for Jackpotjoy. Her flamboyance, character and her infectious laugh helped to make the advertisements a hit and enabled fans of the talented actress to continue enjoying her presence on-screen even if just for short periods.
Barbara’s services to the entertainment industry have made such an impact over the decades that in 2000 she was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Honours List.