British Dames in Waiting

Women who should be awarded British Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire but aren't at the moment. If they haven't been honored at all, now is the time to start the process that takes about two years. Anyway, some have been honored prior in recent years but still that doesn't mean that they can't get damehood. In fact on the honours list, the British dames are the smallest list in comparison to the male knights awarded in the list.

While this list is long and varied by experiences, I think some of these ladies deserve damehood or something whether it's another honor such as an MBE, OBE, or CBE just something to honor and respect their contributions and services to the entertainment world.

Anybody who declines a lesser honor isn't listed here since there are so many possible willing recipients. It's their loss in the first place.

Previously on this list but passed away.
Faith Brook
Joyce Redman
Dinah Sheridan
Dora Bryan OBE
Elspet Gray
Edna Dore
Stella Tanner
Lila Kaye
Renee Asherson
Billie Whitelaw CBE
Anne Kirkbride
Cilla Black OBE
Jackie Collins OBE
Meg Mundy
Victoria Wood CBE OBE

Geraldine McEwen (declined OBE & Damehood).
Honor Blackman (declined CBE).
Vanessa Redgrave CBE (declined Damehood).
Dawn French (declined OBE).
Jennifer Saunders (declined OBE).
Nigella Lawson (declined OBE).
Julie Christie (declined a CBE)
Caryl Churchill declined an OBE.
Pam Gems declined an OBE.
Estelle Kohler declined an OBE.

Awarded Damehood since I started the list.
Joan Collins OBE
Angela Lansbury CBE
Barbara Windsor MBE
Penelope Keith CBE
Kristin Scott-Thomas OBE
Harriet Walter CBE
Gillian Lynne CBE
Sian Phillips CBE
Penelope Wilton OBE
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Glynis Johns
Actress, Mary Poppins
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton) in the classic Under Milk Wood...
“ She is definitely worthy of a British honor. In her 80s, now is the time to honor her. ” - Syl
Muriel Pavlow
Lovely, delicate-looking actress Muriel Pavlow belongs firmly to the British cinema of the 1950s and often provided a nice counterbalance to the hectic goings-on in many comedies. Born in 1921 in Leigh, Kent, England, she was a dominant stage actress despite her petite frame and made her theatrical debut at age 15 with a production of "The Old Maid" (1936)...
“ An MBE recipient. This 90 year old actress has stopped acting due to health reasons but I still like her on this list anyway. ” - Syl
Irene Sutcliffe
After training at LAMDA, Irene traveled widely with the Bristol Old Vic Company, including Europe, America and the Middle East. She worked in rep at Liverpool, Leatherhead, Worthing and Wolverhampton and did seasons at Stratford-on-Avon and Chichester and toured with a Shakespearean Company. She worked with Laurence Olivier's company and appeared in Olivier's film version of "Richard the Third"...
“ More known for her stage presence than film and television but still one of the best British actresses in her 80s. ” - Syl
June Whitfield
June Whitfield has had a long and successful career that has included musical theatre, films and numerous radio and television performances. Her mother was into amateur dramatics and June had elocution and dancing lessons from an early age. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in theatre...
“ A British living legendary comedic actress on stage, radio, film, and television. She was previously awarded the OBE in 1985 and CBE in 1998 but hasn't stopped being active since then. ” - Syl
“ Best known for Hilda Ogden on Coronation Street for over 20 years and playing stingy Auntie Wainwright on The Last of the Summer Wine. She's commanded the attention and audiences of Lord Laurence Olivier along the way. That's an accomplishment in it's own. Her Hilda Ogden is still one of the best and most beloved female characters ever to grace on British television. ” - Syl
June Brown
Actress, EastEnders
June Brown served in the Wrens and was classically trained at the Old Vic Drama School. She has enjoyed a long career in the theatre, television and the cinema. The actor Nigel Hawthorne described her as "one of the most beautiful creatures I've seen on stage" after seeing her performance as Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler"...
“ One of the finest British actresses around in her eighties and still working up a storm. She's led a very active career and is a Theatre Hall of Fame inductee. ” - Syl
Jeanne Moreau
Actress, Jules and Jim
When people gave Louis Malle credit for making a star of Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to the Gallows immediately followed by The Lovers, he would point out that Moreau by that time had already been "recognized as the prime stage actress of her generation." She had made it to the Comédie Française in her 20s...
“ Since her mother was British, I believe she's eligible for this honour whether honorary and worthy of it. She's one of the world's greatest film actresses whether in French or English. ” - Syl
Patricia Routledge
In the 1990s, Patricia found UK TV fame as Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) in the hit comedy series "Keeping Up Appearances" (1990), in which she played a middle-class woman who was always putting on airs and graces in order to ingratiate herself with the right people. This was followed by the series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates in which she played a retired northern housewife turned private eye.
“ An OBE and CBE recipient, she is the funniest woman to ever grace British comedies. ” - Syl
“ A great actress known for her role in "Coronation Street," films, stage, and other television. ” - Syl
“ Another great actress of film, stage and television. ” - Syl
“ An OBE Recipient in 1965. She has done so much stage, film and television since then. ” - Syl
Mona Hammond
Actress, 10,000 BC
Mona Hammond was born Mavis Chin to a Chinese father and Jamaican mother. She came to Britain in 1959 on a scholarship to work with an architects firm but was soon involved in black theatre productions with contemporaries such as Lloyd and Barry Reckord and Charles Hyatt, under the name Mona Chin. In 1959 she won a scholarship to RADA...
Claire Bloom
Age has not taken the flower off this Bloom. The well-known and respected stage, screen and television actress Claire Bloom, originally named Patricia Claire Blume, continues to be in demand as a septuagenarian actress and looks as beautiful as ever. She was born Patricia Claire Bloom on February 15...
“ CBE: British actress on stage, film, and television in America and in England as well. Long Overdue for an honor. ” - Syl
Josephine Tewson
An English stage and television actress. She is best known for her roles in British television sitcoms, such as Elizabeth in Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95) and Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003-10). Tewson was born in Hampstead, London, England in 1931. Her father, William, was a professional musician and played the double bass in the BBC Symphony Orchestra; her mother...
“ A great actress on stage, film and television. She's best known for her role as nervous Elizabeth in Keeping Up Appearances. ” - Syl
Virginia McKenna
Actress, Born Free
Talented flaxen-blonde British star combined her deep loves for acting and for wildlife throughout most her adult life. Born in London, England on June 7, 1931, her family possessed a sturdy theatrical background. Mother Anne was a jazz pianist, composer and cabaret performer while father Terry, an auctioneer, had relatives in the arts including actress Fay Compton and author Compton MacKenzie...
“ An OBE Recipient. She's an actress and activist as well especially towards animals. ” - Syl
Jean Boht
Actress, Bread
“ OBE: She's not just Emma and Sophie Thompson's mother. She's also an accomplished stage, film and television actress in her own right. ” - Syl
“ She was awarded a CBE in 1992, she is long overdue for Damehood. ” - Syl
Petula Clark
Petula Sally Olwen Clark was born in West Ewell Surrey, England on November 15, 1932. Petula made her first broadcast as a singer for the BBC Radio Overseas Service in October 1942, and became an overnight star on BBC National Radio in December 1942 at the age of 10. After many radio shows for the BBC during World War 2...
“ CBE ” - Syl
Sheila Hancock
Sheila Hancock was born February 22, 1933. on the Isle of Wight. She later moved to King's Cross in London, where her mother and father ran a pub. Sheila went to Dartford Grammar School, and then with a grant she went to RADA. She then went into nine years of weekly repertory around the country. While in repertory in Bath she met actor Alec Ross...
“ She was awarded an OBE and CBE recently but I can't help but wonder why she didn't get Damehood. She is one of the most prolific actresses and female stage directors in Britain. ” - Syl
“ An OBE recipient. This British born writer and author has lived in New York City but still writes about her native England and delivers a novel regularly. ” - Syl
Zoe Caldwell
As a testament to her remarkable talent, Broadway has honored esteemed stage actress Zoe Caldwell four times with Tony Awards: for "Slapstick Tragedy" (1966), for her title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968), for her searing performance as "Medea" (1982), and as opera diva Maria Callas in "Master Class" (1995)...
“ An OBE Recipient: This Australian born actress has lived in New York City, London, and Melbourne. She's worked onstage ever since she could. She's most at home on the stage in a theatre wherever. Her dedication to the theatre is paramount in understanding her. Most people are unaware of her brilliance as an actress. We only get her now in some films and television but too bad, audiences don't know her for playing Maria Callas on Broadway in Master Class. ” - Syl
Sylvia Syms
Actress, The Queen
London-born Sylvia Syms hit major film appeal at a relatively young age. Born on January 6, 1934, she was educated at convent schools before receiving dramatic training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. A repertory player by the time she was discovered for films by the British star Anna Neagle and her director/husband Herbert Wilcox...
“ An OBE Recipient. She was fantastic as the Queen Mother and is always welcome onscreen or stage. ” - Syl
Annette Crosbie
Crosbie was born in Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, to Presbyterian parents who disapproved of her becoming an actress. Nevertheless, she joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School while still in her teens. Her big break came in 1970 when she was cast as Catherine of Aragon in the BBC television series The Six Wives of Henry VIII...
“ An OBE recipient since 1998, she's still acting on stage, film and television and is passionate about animals. ” - Syl
“ She has been a familiar face in Britain and America especially for her role as Daphne's mother in "Frasier" but there's more to her. She's a singer and a gifted stage actress as well. ” - Syl
Jean Marsh
Actress, Willow
Born in London, Jean Marsh became interested in show business while taking dancing and mime classes as therapy for a childhood illness. After attending a charm school and working as a model, she started acting in repertory and took voice lessons. Her repertory work was supplemented by a number of film appearances as a dancer...
“ OBE: The woman who gave us "Upstairs, Downstairs." She's long overdue for recognition. ” - Syl
“ A great stage, film, and television actress ” - Syl
Anne Reid
Actress, A Close Shave
After several small roles in the classic 1950s British TV shows 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' and 'Hancock's Half Hour' she found fame as Ken Barlow's wife Valerie in the #1 UK TV show 'Coronation Street' she remained with the show for a decade before leaving to give birth and bring up her son. Her character was accidentally electrocuted while trying to plug in a hairdryer...
“ An MBE recipient: She should have won an Oscar for "The Mother" or at least be nominated. ” - Syl
Amanda Barrie
This feisty and very funny British comedienne and musical revue vet with the trademark 60s brunet page-boy haircut, pronounced jaw, and arguably the largest, Bette Davis-like eyes in London was born Shirley Anne Broadbent in Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire on September 14, 1935. The daughter of Hubert Howath Broadbent...
“ She played in Carry On Films, Coronation Street, Stage, film and television. She still looks fabulous! ” - Syl
Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Actress, Frenzy
Barbara trained for the theatre at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school then joined the Old Vic Company in London. After working in provincial repertory theatres she returned to the Bristol Old Vic to play Rosemary in 'The Severed Head' and transferred with the play to the west end. She returned again...
“ A great British actress from stage, film, and television. ” - Syl
Judy Parfitt
Of regal bearing and imposing stance, British classical actress Judy Parfitt is the possessor of the chilliest blue orbs in all of London and has used them to her advantage over the years with her portrayals of haughty, bossy, scheming and deliciously malevolent patricians. Born in Yorkshire, she was...
“ I just loved her performance in "Dolores Claiborne." She has been a prolific film, television, and stage actress. She's always worth watching. ” - Syl
Glenda Jackson
Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead...
“ One of Britain's best known actresses and members of Parliament. A CBE recipient in the late 1970s, she's done a lifetime of acting before turning to politics. We hope she comes back. ” - Syl
Frances Cuka
Actress, Swimming Pool
Born in London in 1936 to Joseph and Letitia Cuka the family eventually moved to Hove where Frances was educated at Brighton and Hove High School. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama then made her stage debut in 1955 in 'Meet Mr Callaghan' in Warrington. Following work with several...
Sheila Reid
Actress, Brazil
“ A great British film, television and stage actress. ” - Syl
Susan Hampshire
Susan Hampshire, the English actress who has won three Emmy Awards, was born in Kensington, London on May 12, 1937. Her original ambition was to be a nurse, but she could not pass her O-Level exam in Latin. (She found out when she was 30 years old that she was dyslexic, and her work on dyslexia subsequently...
“ She was awarded an OBE for her services to dyslexia but she's a great actress on stage, film, and television. ” - Syl
Eleanor Bron
There is one strange, mesmerizing film scene that easily sums up the disturbing fascination Eleanor Bron brought to her characters on stage, TV and in the cinema. This is the classic fig-eating scene which she shares with Alan Bates in the Oscar-winning drama Women in Love. It is not to be missed...
“ A British actress who has done stage, film and television and keeps working at it. ” - Syl
“ The RADA trained actress has spent over 30 years in the US in Lenox, Massachusetts in running a Shakespeare Company and Theatre Company from raising money, producing, directing, and acting. She deserves recognition. ” - Syl
Anne Perry
Anne Perry was born on October 28, 1938, in London. She was first known as Juliet Marion Hulme, famed co-murderess of friend Pauline Parker's mother in 1954. After serving five years in Mount Eden Prison she moved overseas to be with her mother. In 1979 she published The Cater Street Hangman, the first in a series of successful mystery novels.
“ Best known as the long-suffering Pearl on "Last of the Summer Wine." ” - Syl
“ One of Britain's best comedic actresses on stage, television, and film. Best known for Barbara, one of the best British comedies around. ” - Syl
“ One of England's best beloved stage actresses who has done it all on television and film as well. Her theatre history alone deserves attention. ” - Syl
“ A great British actress who has been in the US for a long time. ” - Syl
Lynda Baron
Actress, Yentl
Carole Shelley
Though English-born, Carole Shelley has spent almost her entire award-winning career in the theatre in America, becoming one of Broadway's mainstays and a true pioneer of the American theatre. A naturalized US citizen, Shelley stays busy on all fronts in the entertainment industry in films, television and...
“ She is British born and has done plenty of shows in England and in America. She's the original Madame Morrible in Broadway's Wicked and has acted in plenty of stage productions. ” - Syl
“ An MBE Recipient. She's best known for Vera Duckworth on Coronation Street. ” - Syl
“ A British film, stage, and television actress who sings incredibly to the audiences. Her singing voice is unforgettable with passion, love, and tenderness. ” - Syl
Miriam Margolyes
Actress, Babe
A veteran of stage and screen, award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence she also received Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for her role in Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress on "Radio" in 1993...
“ An OBE recipient and one of the funniest, most unique character actresses of our time. ” - Syl
“ She's best known for her scholarly work on women's role onscreen in film. She's a teacher, professor, writer, and film director as well. Most people don't know about her but she speaks volumes about women in the film and how they are viewed. ” - Syl
Stephanie Cole
Born in Warwickshire, England, UK. At age of 15, she auditioned for and was accepted to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Stephanie began her career at age 17 playing a 90-year-old woman. She went on to play beloved characters on the shows Waiting for God and Doc Martin.
“ An OBE recipient: She's played stubborn Diana on Waiting For God. She's a brilliant actress. ” - Syl
Juliet Mills
Actress, Passions
An English actress of stage, screen and television, sister to Hayley Mills and daughter of Sir John Mills, Juliet first came to notice in films, actually after her sister Hayley started her career. Juliet, however, was first plucked onto the screen and signing a contract with Warner Brothers and taking small roles in comedies like Nurse on Wheels and Carry on Jack...
Rita Tushingham
Rita Tushingham was born in Liverpool on March 14, 1942, and did her professional apprenticeship with the Liverpool Playhouse. In 1961, she made her film debut as a teenager in Tony Richardson's adaption of Shelagh Delaney's kitchen sink drama, A Taste of Honey. For her work in that film, she won a BAFTA and the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival...
Julie Goodyear
Julie's father walked out on the family soon after Julie's birth, Julie took stepfather Bill Goodyear's name. Most famous as Bet Lynch, barmaid landlady of Coronation Street, her stepfather was a publican, and she served behind his bar, The Bay House in Haywood, to raise money for her modelling career dream...
“ An MBE recipient: She has done a lot more than acting since leaving the Street. She's raised money for cancer. ” - Syl
“ She's best known for Pat Butcher on East Enders. With her retirement, she deserves recognition like her peer friends and reward for her activism in gay rights. ” - Syl
“ A great stage, film and television actress ” - Syl
“ One of the best British actresses around. Long worthy and overdue for an honour. ” - Syl
“ A great actress and longtime veteran of Coronation Street. She was born with a title but she deserves another one too. ” - Syl
Marcia Warren
Actress, Leap Year
Marcia was born on 26 November 1943 and trained as an actress at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1963. From there on she took the path of many of her performing contemporaries, acting in repertory throughout the country - beginning as a assistant stage manager in 'David Copperfield' in Salisbury...
“ More known for her stage presence, she's a versatile actress on stage, film and television. ” - Syl
“ That unforgettable deep voice! She's done it all on stage, film and television and keeps doing it. ” - Syl
“ A British stage, film and television actress worthy of any honor at this point. ” - Syl
Francesca Annis
Actress, Dune
English actress Francesca Annis, who has enjoyed a 50-plus year career, spanning seven decades in movies, television and the theater, was born in London six days after V-E Day, on May 14, 1945. Her father, Lester, was English, but her mother, Mariquita (aka Mara Purcell), was of Brazilian-French heritage...
“ She's one of the best British actresses on stage, film and television. She's played Tuppence and Lillie Langtry among her many roles. ” - Syl
“ A great television, film and stage actress ” - Syl
“ She has been an actress and stage director. One of the Marias on this list. She's been active for decades in the theatre. ” - Syl
Brenda Blethyn
Actress, Atonement
After twenty years of hard work on stage and both television and film, there are not many other actresses who deserved the success, recognition and stardom which Brenda Blethyn has now achieved. Born in 1946 in Ramsgate, Kent, England, she started her career at British Rail in the 1960s. Saving money during her time there...
“ A great British actress and OBE recipient as well. She's been working for decades in America and in her native England. ” - Syl
Hayley Mills
Born Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills in London, England, on Thursday, April 18th, 1946, she is the daughter of the great actor Sir John Mills and the well-known novelist-playwright Mary Hayley Bell. Her sister is the actress Juliet Mills. She grew up in her parents' home, an outgoing, funny child...
“ A CBE recipient in 1998, she still acts consistently and often with a full slate. One of the finest actresses around. ” - Syl
Alison Steadman
Actress, Life Is Sweet
Liverpool-born actress Alison Steadman was born in 1946, the daughter of George Percival Steadman and Marjorie Evans. Educated at Childwall Valley High School, she studied at the East-15 Acting School from 1966-1969, then toiled as a secretary at the Liverpool Probation Service before deciding on a full-time acting career...
“ An OBE Recipient: She's a familiar face in film and television and stage as well. ” - Syl
Felicity Kendal
British leading woman best known at one time for "cute" roles but a formidable actress in a wide variety of parts. Born in England, she was raised in India where her parents Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Liddell toured the nation for decades with a traveling classical theatre troupe called Shakespeareana...
“ She's a cute actress who has done it all on stage, film, and television. She was already awarded the CBE and hasn't stopped working since then. ” - Syl
Maggie Steed
Born Margaret Baker in Plymouth, Devon, in 1946, Maggie Steed studied drama with the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, graduating in the late 1960s. However, her first professional engagements were as an assistant stage manager, working behind the scenes in a somewhat lowly capacity, because, she says...
“ Another great British actress of stage, film and television ” - Syl
Marianne Faithfull
Daughter of Eva, the Baroness Erisso, and Major Glynn Faithfull, a WWII British spy. Recorded the first song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "As Tears Go By" (1964). Involved in a major drug scandal with Jagger, Richards and others, which ultimately turned public opinion favorably towards the 'Rolling Stones' and other rock groups...
“ She's a British and world icon and figure. She deserves something. ” - Syl
“ A British stage, television and film actress. ” - Syl
Julie Covington
Actress, Ascendancy
Julie is a stage and screen actress and singer. She is most famous for reaching the top of the U.K. singles chart in 1976 with her definitive version of "Don't Cry for me Argentina" from the musical, "Evita". One year later, she was back in the U.K. charts again with an excellent version of the Alice Cooper song "Only Women Bleed" (#12...
Elaine Paige
Elaine Paige, as an actress, recording artist, producer and broadcaster, has made a major contribution to the modern musical that ensures her own chapter in the entertainment world and justifies the title "The First Lady of Musical Theatre". She has starred in numerous West End productions and on Broadway and in concert internationally...
“ One of Britain's best known singers and actresses to grace the musical stage in both London and Broadway. An OBE Recipient, she's overdue too. ” - Syl
Olivia Newton-John
Actress, Grease
Actress/singer Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. She lived there until she was five years old, and her family relocated to Australia when her father was offered a job as the dean of a college in Melbourne. When she was a teen she returned to live in England with her mother...
Self, It's Lulu
Born in Glasgow in 1948. As a teenager, she toured the northern clubs with her band, "the Luvvers". After her initial success with a cover of "Shout" reaching #7 in 1964, Lulu went on to establish herself as one of the biggest-selling British female singers of the 1960s. She made her film début in To Sir, with Love...
“ OBE ” - Syl
Charlotte Cornwell
Actress, The Saint
Londoner Charlotte Cornwell was born on April 26 1949. She is the half-sister of novelist John Le Carre - whose real name is David Cornwell - and his novel 'The Little Drummer Girl' had a leading character based on her, Le Carre being disappointed that in the film version the star was not Charlotte but the more bankable Diane Keaton...