Pauline Collins in November 2012
3 September 1940|
Exmouth, Devon, England
John Alderton (m. 1969)
Pauline Collins, OBE (born 3 September 1940), is an English actress of stage, television, and film, who first came to prominence portraying Sarah Moffat in Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–73) and its spin-off, Thomas & Sarah (1979). In 1992, she released her autobiography, titled Letter to Louise.
Collins played the title role in the play Shirley Valentine, for which she won an Olivier Award in 1988, and Drama Desk and Tony Awards in 1989. She reprised the role in the 1989 film adaptation, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and receiving Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. She also starred in the television dramas Forever Green (1989–92) and The Ambassador (1998–99). Her other film appearances include City of Joy (1992), Paradise Road (1997), Albert Nobbs (2011), Quartet (2012), and The Time of Their Lives (2017).
Early life and career
Collins was born in Exmouth, Devon, the daughter of Mary Honora (née Callanan), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Collins, a school headmaster. She is of Irish extraction, and was brought up as a Roman Catholic in Wallasey near Liverpool. Her great-uncle was Irish poet Jeremiah Joseph Callanan.
Collins was educated at Sacred Heart High School. and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Before turning to acting, she worked as a teacher until 1962. She made her stage debut at Windsor in A Gazelle in Park Lane in 1962 and her West End debut in Passion Flower Hotel in 1965. During the play's run, she made her first film, Secrets of a Windmill Girl, released in 1966. More stage roles followed.
Collins first became well known for her role as the maid Sarah in the 1970s ITV drama series Upstairs, Downstairs. The character appeared regularly throughout the first two series, the second of which also starred her actor husband, John Alderton, with whom she later starred in a spin-off, Thomas & Sarah (1979), and the sitcom No, Honestly written by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham, as well as in a series of short story adaptations called Wodehouse Playhouse (1975–78). She co-narrated the animated British children's TV series Little Miss with husband John Alderton in 1983.
In connection with her Upstairs, Downstairs role, Collins recorded a 1973 single for Decca: What Are We Going to Do with Uncle Arthur? (performed by her character several times during the series) b/w With Every Passing Day (a vocal version of the show's theme).
Shirley Valentine and recent years
In 1988, Collins starred in the one-woman play Shirley Valentine in London, reprising the role on Broadway in 1989 and in the 1989 film version. The film won a number of awards and nominations. Both the play and the feature film utilized the technique known as "breaking the fourth wall," as the character Shirley Valentine directly addresses the audience throughout the story.
After Shirley Valentine, Collins again starred alongside her husband in the popular ITV drama series Forever Green created and written by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham in which the fictitious couple escape the city with their children to start a new life in the country. It ran from 1989 to 1992 over 18 episodes. Collins was voted sexiest woman in Britain in 1990.
Collins' film credits include 1992's City of Joy, 1995's My Mother's Courage, 1997's Paradise Road, and 2002's Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War, which also featured Alderton. In 1999 and 2000, Collins starred as Harriet Smith in the BBC television drama Ambassador, where she played the lead role of the British ambassador to Ireland. Other television credits include The Saint, The Wednesday Play, Armchair Theatre, Play for Today, Tales of the Unexpected, Country Matters and The Black Tower.
Later in 2006, she appeared in Extinct, a programme where eight celebrities campaigned on behalf of an animal to save it from extinction. Collins campaigned to save the Bengal tiger and won the public vote.
In 2011, she was cast as part of Sky 1's new comedy-drama Mount Pleasant. She played the role of Sue, Lisa's mum, in the first two series running into 2012. She didn't return to the third series in 2013, and her character was killed off in the fourth series in 2014.
Collins married actor John Alderton in 1969 and lives in Hampstead, London, with her husband and their three children, Nicholas, Kate and Richard. She also has an older daughter with actor Tony Rohr, Louise, whom she gave up for adoption. They were reunited when Louise was 22 years old.
TV and filmography
|1963||Emergency – Ward 10||Nurse Elliott||Phil Brown||TV Series (1 Episode)|
|1966||Secrets of a Windmill Girl||Pat Lord||Arnold L. Miller|
|The Marriage Lines||Jean||Robin Nash||TV Series (1 Episode : "Big Business")|
|Pardon the Expression||Miss Wainwright / Val||Michael Cox||TV Series (3 Episodes)|
|The Corridor People||Syrie's maid||David Boisseau||TV Series (1 Episode : "Victim as Black")|
|Theatre 625||Clara||James Ferman||TV Series (1 Episode : "Amerika")|
|The Saint||Marie-Therese||Gordon Flemyng||TV Series (1 Episode : "The Better Mousetrap")|
|Blackmail||Freida Straker||TV Series (1 Episode : "Please Do Not Disturb")|
|The Three Musketeers||Kitty||Peter Hammond||TV (1 Episode : "Branded")|
|The Making of Jericho||TV film|
|1967||Doctor Who||Samantha Briggs||Gerry Mill||The Faceless Ones (6 Episodes)|
|Softly, Softly||Marilyn||Bill Hays||TV Series (1 Episode : "Somebody Important")|
|1968||B and B||Chantal||TV Series (1 Episode : "Pilot: B and B")|
|Armchair Theatre||Betty / Mary Murtagh||Guy Verney
|TV Series (2 Episodes)|
|1969||The Old Campaigner||Winnie Haldane||TV Series (1 Episode : "French Farce")|
|Comedy Playhouse||Dawn / Marjorie||TV Series (2 Episodes)|
|The Liver Birds||Dawn||TV Series (5 Episodes)|
|The Wednesday Play||Angelina / Joan Percival||Marc Miller (X2)
|TV Series (2 Episodes)|
|Parkin's Patch||Doreen Ashworth||Raymond Menmuir||TV Series (1 Episode : "A Pair of Good Shoes")|
|1970||The Mating Machine||Elizabeth||Howard Ross||TV Series (1 Episode : "Who Sleeps on the Right?")|
|1972||Thirty-Minute Theatre||The Girl||Gilchrist Calder||TV Series (1 Episode : "King's Cross Lunch Hour")|
|Country Matters||Ruby||TV Mini-Series (1 Episode : "Crippled Bloom")|
|1971–1973||Upstairs, Downstairs||Sarah Moffat||Various directors||TV Series (13 Episodes) |
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
|1973||Armchair 30||Carol||Piers Haggard||TV Series (1 Episode : "Carol's Story")|
|1974||No, Honestly||Clara Burrell-Danby||David Askey||TV Series (13 Episodes)|
|1975||BBC Play of the Month||Lady Teazle||Stuart Burge||TV Series (1 Episode : "The School for Scandal")|
|1975–1976||Wodehouse Playhouse||Various characters||Various directors||TV Series (13 Episodes)|
|1979||Thomas & Sarah||Sarah Moffat||Various directors||TV Series (13 Episodes)|
|Play for Today||Eileen||Stephen Frears||TV Series (1 Episode : "Long Distance Information")|
|1980||Tales of the Unexpected||Pat Lewis||Graham Evans||TV Series (1 Episode : "A Girl Can't Always Have Everything")|
|1983||Little Misses and the Mr. Men||Narrator||Trevor Bond
|1984||Knockback||Sylvia||Piers Haggard (X2)||TV Movie |
Nominated – CableACE Awards for Best Actress in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special
|1985||Tropical Moon Over Dorking||Myra||Robert Chetwyn||TV Movie|
|The Black Tower||Maggie Hewson||Ronald Wilson||TV Mini-Series (5 Episodes)|
|1988||Tales of the Unexpected||Eve Peregrine||Barry Davis||TV Series (1 Episode : "The Colonel's Lady")|
|1989–1992||Forever Green||Harriet Boult||David Giles
|TV Series (18 Episodes)|
|1989||Shirley Valentine||Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw||Lewis Gilbert||BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role |
Evening Standard British Film Awards – Best Actress
Golden Apple Award – Female Discovery of the Year
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
|1992||City of Joy||Joan Bethel||Roland Joffé|
|1995||My Mother's Courage||Elsa Tabori||Michael Verhoeven|
|1996||Flowers of the Forest||Aileen Matthews||Michael Whyte||TV Movie|
|1997||Paradise Road||Daisy 'Margaret' Drummond||Bruce Beresford|
|1998–1999||The Ambassador||Harriet Smith||Various directors||TV Series (13 Episodes)|
|2000||Little Grey Rabbit||Jean Flynn||TV Series|
|One Life Stand||Karaoke Crowd||May Miles Thomas|
|2002||Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War||Thelma Caldicot||Ian Sharp|
|Man and Boy||Betty Silver||Simon Curtis||TV Movie|
|2003||Sparkling Cyanide||Dr. Catherine Kendall||Tristram Powell||TV Movie|
|2005||Bleak House||Miss Flite||Justin Chadwick
|TV Series (10 Episodes)|
|2006||Doctor Who||Queen Victoria||Euros Lyn||TV Series (1 Episode : "Tooth and Claw")|
|What We Did on Our Holiday||Lil Taylor||Jeremy Webb||TV Movie|
|2009||From Time to Time||Mrs. Tweedie||Julian Fellowes|
|2010||Agatha Christie's Marple||Thyrza Grey||Andy Hay||TV Series (1 Episode : "The Pale Horse")|
|Merlin||Alice||Alice Troughton||TV Series (1 Episode : "Love in the Time of Dragons")|
|You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger||Cristal||Woody Allen|
|2011||Albert Nobbs||Margaret 'Madge' Baker||Rodrigo García|
|2011–2012||Mount Pleasant||Sue||Dewi Humphreys
|TV Series (14 Episodes)|
|2012||Quartet||Cissy Robson||Dustin Hoffman|
|The Time of Their Lives||Priscilla||Roger Goldby||Post-Production|
|2015–2016||Dickensian||Mrs Gamp||Tony Jordan
|TV Series (20 Episodes)|
|2017||The Time of Their Lives||Priscilla||Roger Goldby|
|2017||Byrd and the Bees||Beatrice||Finola Hughes||Pre-Production|
Awards and nominations
- Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress (winner)
- Tony Award in 1989 for Best Actress in a Play (winner)
- Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut (winner)
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play (winner)
- Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (winner)
- Academy Award for Best Actress (nominee)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical (nominee)
- BAFTA for Best Film Actress (winner)
- Collins, Letter to Louise. Retrieved 1 December 2016
- "Pauline Collins Biography (1940–)". filmreference.com.
- Pauline, Collins. (28 March 1999). "Pauline Collins – My secret for a good marriage? Give", Interviewed by Sharon Feinstein, Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 13 May 2010. "But I was very worried about taking it on because I'm not Jewish. I'm a Liverpool Irish Catholic and this role was such a responsibility because it involved a huge and emotive part of the history of the Jewish race."
- Pauline Collins biography Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 21 July 2015
- "Actress Pauline Collins, age 75, and husband John Alderman, married since 1969, planning something special for their 50th anniversary??". 14 January 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "No. 56237". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2001. p. 10.
- "Tony Award winners in 1989". Retrieved 5 June 2016.