Jeillo Edwards

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Jeillo Edwards
Born (1942-09-23)23 September 1942
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Died 2 July 2004(2004-07-02) (aged 61)
London, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1972–2003
Spouse(s) Edmund Clottey

Jeillo Edwards (23 September 1942, Freetown, Sierra Leone – 2 July 2004, London, England) was a Sierra Leonean actress, who is notable in the history of black actors in Britain. She was the first woman of African descent to study drama at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She went on to be one of the first black actresses to be cast in a mainstream UK television drama series – Dixon of Dock Green,[1] and for more than four decades performed on British television, radio, stage and films.[2]


Jeillo Angela Doris Edwards[3] was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, one of six children, and she attended the Annie Walsh Memorial School.[1]

She moved to England in the late 1950s and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She began performing at the age of four, reading from the Bible at her church. She was well known for her distinctive voice and imperious enunciation. She featured on the BBC World Service for Africa, which was broadcast in the UK. She became popular in the United Kingdom, appearing on television, where she held the distinction of being the first black woman to appear on British television as well as being the first African to appear on The Bill, radio and on stage.

She appeared in cameo roles in many British television comedy programmes, including The League of Gentlemen, Absolutely Fabulous, Red Dwarf, Black Books, Spaced and Little Britain, in which she had been planned to appear in the second series before her death.

As well as acting she also at one time was a school governor and owned a restaurant called Auntie J's in Brixton.[3]

In the early 1970s, she married a Ghanaian, Edmund Clottey, and they had a daughter and two sons. Jeillo Edwards died in London at the age of 61, having suffered chronic kidney problems.[2][3]



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