Katie Boyle

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Katie Boyle
Born Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali di Francavilla
(1926-05-29) 29 May 1926 (age 88)
Florence, Italy
Nationality British
Occupation Actress
Known for What's My Line? panel, Eurovision song contest presenter

Katie Boyle, Lady Saunders (born Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali di Francavilla, 29 May 1926) is an Italian-born British actress, television personality, and game-show panelist, well known for appearing on TV panel games such as What's My Line? and for presenting the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1960s and 1970s. She was also a former agony aunt, answering problems that had been posted to the TV Times by readers.


She was born in Florence, Italy, and is the daughter of an Italian marquis (the Marchese Demetrio Imperiali di Francavilla) and Dorothy Kate Ramsden. She came to Great Britain in 1946 and started her modelling career, which included work for such publications as Vogue. She also appeared in several 1950s films, the first being Old Mother Riley, Headmistress, (1950) in which she was billed as "Catherine Carleton",[1] followed by The House in the Square (1951), Not Wanted on Voyage (1957), The Truth About Women, Intent to Kill (with Richard Todd, and in which she was miscredited as "Catherine Boyl") in Les Carnets de Major Thompson/The Diary of Major Thompson (1955), with Jack Buchanan, filmed in France by American film director Preston Sturges.

Having been an on-screen continuity announcer for the BBC in the 1950s,[2] in the 1960s Boyle became a television personality regularly appearing on panel games and programmes such as What's My Line? and Juke Box Jury. She was the presenter for the 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1974 Eurovision Song Contests, all hosted in the UK. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor's The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, Boyle hosted the 1974 contest minus her underwear, which was cut off from under her satin dress moments before the broadcast began.[3] She also hosted the UK qualifying heat, A Song for Europe, in 1961.

In 1982 she played herself in the BBC radio play The Competition, which told the story of a fictitious international song contest being staged in Bridlington. Katie Boyle was guest of honour at the Eurovision fan club conventions staged in 1988 and 1992.

She appeared at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest held in Birmingham as a special guest of the BBC. Her other work has included theatre, television (What's Up Dog?) and radio (Katie and Friends). In 2004, Boyle was a guest on a special Eurovision-themed celebrity version of The Weakest Link on BBC1, hosted by Anne Robinson. In a unique moment, Boyle became the first, and to date the only, contestant ever to vote herself off the programme.

In 1947 she married Richard Bentinck Boyle, 9th Earl of Shannon; the marriage was dissolved in 1955. The same year she married Greville Baylis, a racehorse owner, who died in 1976. In 1979 she married theatre impresario Sir Peter Saunders, who died in 2002. According to Queen Elizabeth II: A Woman Who Is Not Amused by Nicholas Davies, Boyle had a long-standing relationship with Prince Philip in the 1950s.[4]

She is a lover of animals, especially dogs. At home, just off East Finchley's prestigious Bishops Avenue, she has one dog: Totty (an Italian Greyhound), who came from Battersea. In 1989 she recorded an audio cassette with the dog trainer John Fisher entitled Think Dog!

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Picasa Web Albums - Edward - Old Mother Ri". Picasaweb.google.co.uk. 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  2. ^ Boyle, Katie, What This Katie Did: An Autobiography.Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, 1st edition (9 October 1980). ISBN 978-0-297-77814-1
  3. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007. ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  4. ^ Davies, Nicholas. Queen Elizabeth II: A Woman Who Is Not Amused. A Birch Lane Press Book. ISBN 1-55972-217-7


She has also written three books:

  • Dear Katie - tips from her days as agony aunt for TV Times, 1975
  • What This Katie Did - autobiography 1980
  • Battersea Tales - stories of rescues from the Battersea Dogs Home, 1997

She is an agony aunt for the monthly magazine Dogs Today.

Preceded by
France Jacqueline Joubert
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
France Jacqueline Joubert
Preceded by
Luxembourg Mireille Delannoy
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
Denmark Lotte Wæver
Preceded by
Austria Erika Vaal
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
Spain Laurita Valenzuela
Preceded by
Luxembourg Helga Guitton
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
Sweden Karin Falck