Joyce Blair

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Joyce Blair
Actress Joyce Blair.png
in the Edgar Wallace Mystery, Number Six (1962)
Born Joyce Ogus
(1932-11-04)4 November 1932
London, England
Died 19 August 2006(2006-08-19) (aged 73)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Nationality English
Occupation Actress, dancer

Joyce Blair (born Joyce Ogus; 4 November 1932 – 19 August 2006[1]) was an English actress and dancer. She was the younger sister of Lionel Blair, with whom she often performed.[2] She was the mother of actress Deborah Sheridan-Taylor, who played Saskia Duncan in EastEnders,[3] and of a son, Adam, who is a photographer.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Blair was born in London, as the daughter of Myer Ogus, a Lithuanian Jewish barber, who changed the family name to Blair. and Debora "Della" Greenbaum. Her family was Jewish.[5] Her father changed the family name to Blair in her youth; he died when Joyce was 12 years old.[6] Blair was educated at Cone's School in London,[4] and started her show-business career by singing and tap-dancing in front of captive audiences in London air raid shelters during the Second World War.[4][7]

She and her brother took up showbusiness as professionals to support their mother after their father's death in 1944.[6] She made her first professional stage appearance in the J.M. Barrie play Quality Street at the Embassy Theatre in 1945, aged 13.[7]

She appeared in minor roles in the original London productions of South Pacific in 1951 and Guys and Dolls in 1953,[6] and also appeared in off-Broadway musicals and pantomimes.[4] She appeared in several films, but became well known for her appearances on television in the 1950s and 1960s, in shows such as Morecambe and Wise Show, The Benny Hill Show, The Adventures of Robin Hood, New Look, The Saint and Z-Cars.[8]

In 1963, credited as "Miss X", she recorded "Christine", a tune written by John Barry (under an assumed name) and Leslie Bricusse, which was banned by the BBC at the height of the Profumo scandal but reached no.37 on the UK singles chart.[9][10]

In 1978, she returned to the West End stage in Bar Mitzvah Boy and in 1984 she appeared in The Last Days of Pompeii (1984). She often appeared in dance routines with her brother Lionel until an estrangement in 1977. They did not reconcile their differences until many years later, when their mutual friend Sammy Davis, Jr. was dying of cancer.[6]

Death[edit]

Joyce Blair died from cancer in Santa Monica, California, aged 73.[1] She was married three times; first to Edward Lever in 1956; second to Henry Sheridan-Taylor; and third, to an American, briefly, but with whom she moved to California, where she took television work and did voice-overs. She also worked in a Santa Monica antiques shop.[4] She was survived by her brother Lionel and her two children, both from her second marriage.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • 1963 – "Christine" (Ember Records, 7") as Miss X[11]UK No. 37[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Joyce Blair profile". Washington, DC: IMDb. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "TV actress Joyce Blair dies at 73". UK: British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "Deborah Sheridan-Taylor profile". USA: IMDb. Retrieved 14 December 2008. Trivia: Daughter of actress Joyce Blair and the niece of entertainer Lionel Blair. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Joyce Blair obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 25 August 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  5. ^ McGrath, Nick (15 February 2013). "Lionel Blair: My family values". The Guardian. London, UK. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Joyce Blair". The Independent. London, UK. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Obituary – Joyce Blair". The Times. London, UK. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  8. ^ Joyce Blair on Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952–2004 (1st ed.). London, UK: Collins. p. 521. ISBN 0-00-717931-6. 
  10. ^ Spencer Leigh, "Obituary: John Barry", The Independent, 1 February 2011; retrieved 21 October 2014
  11. ^ Biography on The Independent
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 370. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ This record was referring to Christine Keeler, known in those days as being a crucial figure in the Profumo affair.