Sid James, one of the most beloved British comedy actors of all time, passed away in 1976. He was best known for his roles in the Carry On films, as well as his work in television and radio. His unique brand of comedy and his distinctive laugh made him a household name.
Born Solomon Joel Cohen in South Africa in 1913, this one-time boxer moved to England in the 1940s after the end of the second world war and quickly rose to fame as a comic actor. His career spanned more than three decades, from the 1940s to the 1970s, and he starred in some of the most iconic British comedy films and TV shows of the period.
He soon became a regular on BBC radio, performing in variety shows and sketch shows. In the 1950s, he began appearing in the Carry On films, a series of low-budget British comedies that became cult classics. He appeared in 19 of them and in these he was cast in a variety of roles, but always played a version of himself – the scheming, lecherous, Sid James.
Throughout his career, Sid James appeared in numerous films and television shows, including the popular sitcoms Hancock’s Half Hour, where he played the part of Sid, the cockney spiv and the starring role in family sitcom Bless This House as Sid Abbott.
Death On Stage
Despite his success in the entertainment industry, Sid James’ personal life was often chaotic. He was married three times and had a number of affairs (most notably with Carry On co-star Barbara Windsor), and he struggled with gambling and alcoholism throughout his life. Sid James’s death on 26 April 1976 whilst performing on stage at The Sunderland Empire in The Mating Season, was a huge shock to the world of comedy and to his fans. He was 62.
Sid James was a comedy legend and his memory will live on in the hearts of his fans. He was a unique talent who left behind a legacy of laughter and joy. His work will continue to be enjoyed and appreciated for many years to come.