|Born||in Laindon, Essex, England, UK|
|Died||in Chelsea, London, England, UK (diverticular disease and liver failure)|
|Birth Name||Irene Joan Marion Sims|
Queen of Puddings
The First Lady of Carry On
|Height||5' 5" (1.65 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
The First Lady of Carry On, was born Irene Joan Marion Sims on 9 May 1930. The daughter of an Essex railway station master, Joan was interested in pursuing show-business, and soon became a familiar face in a growing number of amateur productions. In 1946, Joan first applied to RADA, her audition was unsuccessful. She did succeed in being admitted to PARADA, the academy's preparatory school, and finally, on her fourth attempt, Joan graduated and trained at RADA. Joan graduated from RADA in 1950 at the age of nineteen.
A cameo appearance in Doctor in the House (1954) as the sexually repressed Nurse Rigor Mortis led to Joan being first spotted by Peter Rogers; Rogers' wife Betty E. Box was the producer of the Doctor series, in which Joan herself became a regular.
A few years later, in 1958, Joan received another script from Peter Rogers, it was Carry On Nurse (1959). The film had been a huge success at the box office and in the autumn of that year Rogers and Gerald Thomas began planning a follow up. She went on to appear in 24 of the films, making her the longest serving female member of the team.
She first starred in the following three Carry On films: Carry On Teacher (1959), Carry On Constable (1960) and Carry On Regardless (1961), before taking a break from the next four films to concentrate on stage work. She rejoined the team with Carry On Cleo (1964) and remained all the way through to Carry On Emmannuelle (1978) in 1978.
Ironically, she was never proclaimed Queen of Carry On. This title went to saucy Barbara Windsor, even though she had only appeared in nine Carry On films.
One could argue that her final performances in the Carry On films were rather sentimental, as though she knew that the series was coming to an end and two scenes come to mind. The scene in which she plays cards with Peter Butterworth in Carry on Behind (1975) in his caravan late at night, and also in the laundrette where she dances with an early Carry Oner Victor Maddern in Carry On Emmannuelle (1978). Both of these are memorable sentimental film scene stealers.
With the end of the Carry On series in 1978, Joan went on to become a familiar face on TV screens, with ongoing roles in a number of highly successful sitcoms On the Up (1990) and As Time Goes By (1992) and the BBC's prestigious classic drama adaptations such as Martin Chuzzlewit (1994).
Joan's autobiography, High Spirits, was released in 2000. She complains in the last few pages of her book at the lack of information on her on the IMDB trivia page, something that was only significantly expanded after her death.
In her later years she became a cult figure and something of a British National Institution as the only surviving major Carry On star from early days. However, years of heavy drinking took their toll and she suffered in her later years with ill health. She was admitted to Hospital in Chelsea in London in mid 2001 and slipped into a coma. She died on 28 June 2001, with her lifelong friend and Carry On Norah Holland holding her hand.
Following her death, surviving Carry On stars celebrated her achievement in the Carry On films. Barbara Windsor, said at the time of her death, "To me she was the last of the great Carry Ons, she was there at the beginning. Her talent was wonderful, she could do any accent, dialect, she could dance, sing, play dowdy and glam. We laughed all the time and giggled a lot. I will sorely miss her." That quote is so true, throughout her whole Carry On career she alone stands apart as the most versatile actress in the whole series. She was never typecast in the films like the other actors and actresses.
Others also paid tribute, even ex-Government Cabinet Ministers. Her agent Richard Hatton said, "It's wonderful to be able to say that she really did have all the qualities that her many fans would have wished. A great sense of humour, a sympathetic and endearing personality, terrific talent and consideration for others.
"Over and above this, she discovered a new side of herself when she wrote her autobiography last year, which was untypical for the genre - honest, frank and intelligent. Everyone who knew her is going to remember her forever."
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bobby G
From an early age her great passion was performing, with the loading bays at her father's station making ideal stages. After training and graduating from RADA in April 1950 with the Mabel Temperley Prize for Grace and Charm of Movement she joined the Chorlton - Cum - Hardy Players playing small roles until landing the lead in 'Sarah Simple opposite Harry H .Corbett. Xmas 1951 found her in a new pantomime, 'The Happy Ha'penny' at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre with Stanley Baxter and soon after landed her first television job voicing Millicent Mushroom, Barbara Beetroot and Oscar Onion for the children's show 'Vegetable Village'. Her first television appearance came in the series 'Colonel March Investigates' playing Boris Karloff's secretary, Marjorie Dawson, which led to her unoffical film debut when sections of the episodes were joined together into a feature length film. Her film debut proper came in 1953 in the comedy 'Will Any Gentleman?' with Sid James, Jon Pertwee and George Cole. By this time she had become a star of West End revue with 'Intimacy at Eight' and 'High Spirits' with Dilys Laye and Ian Carmichael at the London Hippodrome. In a revamped version of 'Intimacy at 8.40 she stole the show with her husky singing of the 'Siren Song' causing her to be personally chosen by Terry Thomas to support him in his 1953 radio hit 'Top of the Town. The following year came her first major film 'Doctor in the House' which, over the years, would lead to roles in four further Doctor films among many other comedies. On television she recaptured her stage stage triumphs in BBC's celebration of revue with 'Before the Fringe' (1967). played Eric's girlfriend in 'Sykes' and created the booze- addled Gran in 'Till Death Do Us Part' despite being over 20 years younger than her screen daughter Dandy Nichols. She was chosen to replace Betty Marsden in 'Round the Horne' but the death of Kenneth Horne caused the series to be centered around Kenneth Williams and retitled 'Stop Messin' About'. Her last stage appearance was as Fairy Sweetcorn in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' with Kenneth Connor and Suzanne Danielle at the Richmond Theatre in 1984/85 while her last television appearance was as Betty the pianist in 'The Last of the Blonde Bombshells' with Judi Dench.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5
Personal Quotes (19)
|Will Any Gentleman...? (1953)||£25|
|Hurrah for Halloween (1953)||£21|
|Frankie Howerd (1956)||£49|
|Carry on Nurse (1959)||£750|
|Carry on Teacher (1959)||£1,500|
|Carry on, Constable (1960)||£2,000|
|Carry on Regardless (1961)||£2,500|
|Carry On Cleo (1964)||£750|
|Carry On Cowboy (1965)||£1,750|
|Carry On Screaming! (1966)||£175|
|Follow That Camel (1967)||£150|
|Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968)||£2,500|
|Carry On Camping (1969)||£2,500|
|Carry on Again Doctor (1969)||£2,500|
|Carry on Up the Jungle (1970)||£3,000|
|Carry on Loving (1970)||£2,250|
|Carry on Henry (1971)||£3,000|
|Jackanory Playhouse (1972)||£150|
|Carry on Abroad (1972)||£2,500|
|Carry on Girls (1973)||£2,500|
|Carry on Dick (1974)||£2,000|
|Carry on Behind (1975)||£2,000|
|Carry on England (1976)||£2,000|
|Carry on Emmannuelle (1978)||£2,500|