|Born||Samantha Zoe Janus
2 November 1972
Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Pie in the Sky
Babes in the Wood
(m. 1997–1998, divorced)
|Children||Benjamin Thomas Womack
|Parents||Noel Robert Janus (deceased), Diana Janus|
|Relatives||Angie Best (aunt)
Calum Best (cousin)
Samantha Zoe Womack (née Janus; born 2 November 1972) is a British actress, singer and director, both on television and stage. In recent years she has been best known for playing the role of Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders, but made her name in the mid-1990s as Mandy Wilkins in Game On. She also represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1991.
Womack was born in Brighton, East Sussex. Her singer-songwriter father Noel left the family when she was six, and soon after her model-actress mother Diane married a doctor and the family moved to Edinburgh. Janus lived on the QE2 with her choreographer grandmother Sheila Holt (former actress and choreographer to magician David Nixon for a short time.) Womack has a younger half sister Zoe. During an appearance on Big Star's Little Star in 2014, it was revealed that she attended the same school as members of All Saints.
The actress first came to prominence in March 1991, when still only 18, when she won the annual A Song for Europe competition to represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest. She finished joint tenth and the song, "A Message to Your Heart", peaked at number 30 on the UK Singles Chart.
Womack developed her first love of acting, appearing in episodes of The Bill and Press Gang; in 1993 she appeared in Demob alongside Griff Rhys Jones and Martin Clunes; and took to the West End stage, replacing Debbie Gibson as Sandy in Grease.
From 1994 to 1998 Womack played Mandy in the popular BBC Two sitcom Game On alongside Ben Chaplin (later replaced by Neil Stuke). She remained on the show until it was decommissioned in 1998. In between series of Game On, she had a part in the BBC One drama Pie in the Sky from 1995 until 1996.
Womack then starred in the pilot for The Grimleys with Jack Dee, and the film Up 'n' Under with Neil Morrissey. In 1998 she starred in the ITV1 series Liverpool 1 alongside her future husband Mark Womack. She then returned to comedy in the ITV sitcom Babes in the Wood. Co-starring another Sylvia Young Theatre School student, Denise van Outen, it was critically panned despite respectable ratings, and Womack left after the first series.
In 1999, she starred as Cinderella in the ITV Christmas pantomime, with Harry Hill, Alexander Armstrong, Frank Skinner, Paul Merton, Ronnie Corbett and many more. In 2002 she returned to TV screens in the BBC One drama Strange and after that series ended in 2003, she has had roles in the films The Baby Juice Express and Dead Man's Cards.
In 2005, she directed an anti-bullying music video for Liverpool band Just 3, entitled Stand Tall. The video starred Liverpool F.C. footballer Jamie Carragher and herself. The video was heavily backed by Childline ambassador Esther Rantzen. A popular choice for photo shoots in men's magazines such as FHM, she came 21st in the FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World 1998 poll and 41st in the same listing in 1999.
In 2006, she starred in the BBC One comedy Home Again as Ingrid, and as Miss Adelaide in the West End production of the musical Guys and Dolls at London's Piccadilly Theatre, initially alongside Patrick Swayze and then Miami Vice star Don Johnson. She reprised the role at the Sunderland Empire alongside Alex Ferns in 2007.
On 11 May 2007, it was announced that she would be joining EastEnders as Ronnie Mitchell, a cousin of the Mitchell brothers. She had previously appeared in the soap in a minor role as a girlfriend of Simon Wicks. In April 2008, several future scenes featuring Ronnie had to be scrapped after Womack broke her shoulder when she tripped and fell down the stairs at her home while rushing to get ready for work. In January 2011, The Sun reported that Womack had resigned from EastEnders.
Since appearing on EastEnders, she has made regular television appearances, including Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, The Paul O'Grady Show, Richard & Judy and Loose Women. In November 2007, she sang along EastEnders co-stars in the 2007 Children in Need charity appeal.
In January 2011, she appeared as one of the guest celebrity contestants on the BBC Saturday night magic show The Magicians, working with magician Chris Korn. For her "celebrity's choice" trick, she chose being sawed in half by Korn in an illusion called Clearly Impossible. In March 2011, she appeared with Lenny Henry, Angela Rippon and Reggie Yates in the BBC fundraising documentary for Comic Relief called Famous, Rich and in the Slums, where the four celebrities were sent to Kibera in Kenya, Africa's largest slum.
In 2011 Womack played the leading role Ensign Nellie Forbush, a U.S. Navy nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas, in the Lincoln Center production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical South Pacific at the Barbican Theatre in London.
In November 2011, it was reported that Womack was in the running, alongside Dannii Minogue, to become a judge on the 2012 series of Britain's Got Talent. Womack turned down the role as she was busy performing the theatre tour of South Pacific. The new judging panel was later confirmed for series six to be Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.
In early 2013, Womack's official Twitter news page and agency website confirmed that she would play the recurring role of Tanya in series three of Sky Living's Mount Pleasant which was later confirmed by her Twitter news page to release in early September 2013. In March 2013, Womack starred alongside her husband on stage in the world premiere of Hope at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. In May 2013, it was confirmed that Womack would return to EastEnders on a six month contract.
In 2007, Womack won "substantial" damages from the Sunday Sport newspaper over a story headlined "Sam's sex and drugs shame". She sued the Sport over an article published on July 22, which claimed she had "coke fuelled threesomes" and took part in a "three hour drug fuelled lesbian orgy"
She then starred in Liverpool 1, and started a relationship with Mark Womack while she was still married to Mantovani. The couple married on 16 May 2009 and have two children (both born in Westminster, London): son Benjamin Thomas Womack (born February 2001) (after having him Janus took two years off to enjoy motherhood) and their daughter Lily-Rose Womack (born 17 March 2005), while Mark has another son from a previous marriage, Michael Womack. Womack has stated that she would like more children but her husband is not so keen.
In 2009, Womack took her husband's surname and began to use it professionally in her role on EastEnders.
Womack and her husband are best friends with Scott Maslen and his wife Estelle Rubio. They have known each other since they were teenagers. Maslen is godfather to Womack's two children and she is godmother to Maslen's son, Zak. They often go on holiday together with their children, which Womack revealed during an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in January 2008. Womack is also best friends with co-star Rita Simons, who plays her sister Roxy Mitchell.
In the autumn of 2007, Maslen joined the cast of EastEnders as Jack Branning, the brother of Max Branning, who quickly takes a shine to Ronnie. This was something that both Maslen and Womack were initially uncomfortable with when they read it in the scripts, Maslen commenting in various interviews that having to kiss Womack was like having to kiss his sister. The characters have since married, and had a baby (James Branning) who died of cot death on New Year's Eve 2010, sparking a controversial storyline and eventually leading to her departure.
Awards and nominations
|Year||Result||Award||Category||Film or series||Character|
|2008||Won||Soaper Star Awards||Best Newcomer||EastEnders||Ronnie Mitchell|
|Nominated||All About Soap Bubble Awards||Fatal Attraction (with Scott Maslen)|
|Nominated||British Soap Awards||Best On-Screen Partnership (with Rita Simons)|
|Nominated||British Soap Awards||Sexiest Female|
|Won||Digital Spy Soap Awards||Best On-Screen Partnership (with Rita Simons)|
|2009||Nominated||British Soap Awards||Best Actress|
|Shortlisted*||TV Quick and Choice Awards||Best Soap Actress|
|2010||Nominated||All About Soap Bubble Awards||I'm A Survivor|
|Nominated||British Soap Awards||Sexiest Female|
|Shortlisted*||Inside Soap Awards||Sexiest Female|
|2011||Won||All About Soap Bubble Awards||Best Baby Drama (with Jessie Wallace)|
|Nominated*||British Soap Awards||Sexiest Female|
|2012||Nominated||Shorty Awards||Best Actress||N/A||N/A|
|Nominated||Shorty Awards||Best Fansite||N/A||N/A|
(*) There were two main rounds of nominations for asterisked categories. The "Result" indicates Womack's progress: if shown as "Nominated", she only achieved the first round of the nominations; if "Shortlisted", she advanced to the second and final round of nominations, the outcome to be decided by either a public vote or by a judging panel.
|2012||Who Do You Think You Are?||Herself|
|2007–11, 2013–||EastEnders||Ronnie Mitchell|
|2007||Wild at Heart||Tessa|
|2006||Dead Man's Cards||Kris|
|Where the Heart Is||Marla|
|2005||The Afternoon Play||Emma Priestley|
|2004||The Baby Juice Express||Trixie|
|2002||Judge John Deed||Mel Powell|
|1998||Babes in the Wood||Ruth Froud|
|Liverpool 1||DC Isobel de Pauli|
|Up 'n' Under||Hazel Scott|
|Pie in the Sky||Nicola|
|1997||Men Behaving Badly||Tina|
|1997||The Grimleys||Geraldine Titley|
|1995–98||Game On||Mandy Wilkins|
|1993||Health and Efficiency||Charmaine|
|1992||The Bill||Annie Carlisle|
|A Murder of Quality||Alice Lawry|
|Jekyll & Hyde||Young Maid (Margaret)|
- May 1991 "A Message to Your Heart" / "Heaven is a Place for Heroes" (Hollywood Records), UK Singles Chart #30
Eurovision Score Sheet
- Samantha Janus finished in tenth position out of twenty two artists
- Samantha Janus was the twentieth entry.
- "Soaps — Soap Scoop — Jack's proposal, Jason and Tina's romp, E'dale secret". Digital Spy. 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "UKTV G2 Stars — Profile: Samantha Janus". Uktv.co.uk. 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "The unlikely stars of Eurovision". Metro.co.uk. 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- Spanton, Tim (2008-02-25). "Seen the bird on Eurovision?". London: Thesun.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Samantha Janus Chart discography". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Samantha Janus lands EastEnders role". Digitalspy.co.uk. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "BBC One - EastEnders - Characters". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- Smart, Gordon (6 January 2011). "Samantha Womack quits EastEnders over cot death". The Sun (London). Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Mangan, L. (2011-03-04). "The Guardian, TV Review". London. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
- Barbican programme for South Pacific, 2011
- "Samantha Womack said no to Britain's Got Talent". heatworld.com. 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "BBC One - Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 9, Samantha Womack". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "NEWS: Samantha Womack joins cast of ‘Hope’ for Royal Court Premiere - Liverpool Live". Liverpool-live.info. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- Chris Johnson (2009-02-01). "Samantha Janus plays happy families at glitzy film premiere after announcing engagement | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "Samantha Janus wins payout over lesbian orgy claim". Press Gazette. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "Sam and Bianca are Bolt babes". London: Thesun.co.uk. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "United Kingdom". findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "EastEnders' wife-swap? | Metro.co.uk". Metro.co.uk. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Samantha Womack profile: news, photos, style, videos and more â€“ HELLO! Online". Hellomagazine.com. 1972-11-02. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- "Samantha Womack's baby ban". STV. STV (TV network). 16 August 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "EastEnders — Characters & Cast — Samantha Womack". BBC. 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Heartbroken Samantha Janus leads mourners at father's funeral | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- [dead link]
- Smart, Gordon (2009-08-24). "Father of EastEnders star Samantha Janus found hanged". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- "Rita Simons and Samantha Janus — Digital Spy Soap Awards 2008 - Digital Spy". Digital Spy<!. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Soaps — News — Walford actress struggled with kissing scene — Digital Spy". Digital Spy<!. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Soaper Star Awards". dailystar.co.uk. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "All About Soap Bubble Awards". web.archive.org. 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "The British Soap Awards 2008: The Winners". digitalspy.co.uk. 4 May 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- "Digital Spy Soap Awards 2008: The Winners". digitalspy.co.uk. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "British Soap Awards 2009: The Winners". digitalspy.co.uk. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- "TV Quick and TV Choice Awards Shortlist". msntvuk.wordpress.com. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Vote in the All About Soap 'Bubble' Awards". digitalspy.co.uk. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "British Soap Awards 2010: The Winners". digitalspy.co.uk. 9 May 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- "Inside Soap Awards Shortlist". digitalspy.co.uk. 19 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- "In Full: All About Soap Bubble winners". digitalspy.co.uk. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "British Soap Award nominations revealed". 3 May 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "The Best Actress in Social Media". shortyawards.com. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "Samantha Womack was nominated for a Shorty Award!". shortyawards.com. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "The Best Fansite in Social Media". shortyawards.com. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 279. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
|Awards and achievements|
with "Give a Little Love Back to the World"
|UK in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "One Step Out of Time"