BARBARA Windsor is one of the UK’s national treasures with an incredible career in both TV and film.
The 81-year-old star continues to battle Alzheimer’s since her 2014 diagnosis . Here are the details on her amazing life and career…
Getty Images Dame Barbara Windsor is a national treasure
Who is Barbara Windsor?
English actress Dame Barbara Windsor DBE (Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) was born Barbara Ann Deeks on August 6, 1937.
She took the stage name Windsor in 1953, inspired by the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
She is best known for her appearances in the series of Carry On films and for playing pub landlord Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders.
What launched Barbara to fame?
After starting acting at an early age, Barbara came to real prominence with her portrayals of a “good time girl” in nine Carry On films.
Her first was Carry On Spying in 1964 and her final role was in Carry On Dick in 1974.
She also appeared in several Carry On television and compilation specials between 1964 and 1977.
One of her most iconic scenes was in Carry On Camping in 1969, where her bikini top flew off during outdoor aerobic exercises.
From 1973 to 1975 she appeared with several of the Carry On team in the West End revue Carry On London.
Rex Features The actress made a name for herself in the Carry On films
When was Barbara in EastEnders?
Barbara became an instant hit when she joined the cast of EastEnders as the feisty Peggy Mitchell in 1994.
She played the matriarch of the Mitchell family and the no-nonsense landlady of the Queen Vic, with her famous line: “Get out of my pub!”
She continued the role until a debilitating case of the Epstein-Barr virus forced a two-year absence from the role between 2003 and 2005.
She rejoined the cast in mid-2005, initially on a one-year contract, though this was later extended.
In October 2009 Barbara announced she was to quit Albert Square, saying she wanted to spend more time with her husband.
In 2013 she returned for one episode and did the same again in 2014 and 2015.
Her last appearance aired on May 17 2016 in a tear-jerking episode when her character took her own life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
BBC Barbara’s portrayal of landlady Peggy Mitchell was a big hit in EastEnders
Who is the EastEnders star’s husband?
Barbara has been married three times.
Her first marriage was to small-time gangster Ronnie Knight, who was an associate of the notorious Kray twins.
Barbara claimed she had no idea what the gangland villain did for a living, or why he had so much cash to throw around.
Her mother hated him, though, and offered Ronnie £200 — her life savings — to leave her daughter alone.
After they divorced, she married Stephen Hollings, a chef and restaurateur in 1986 but they divorced in 1995.
When she was 55 she met 28-year-old Scott Mitchell and they married in 2000 and the pair have been together ever since.
He has spoken about Barbara’s battle with Alzheimer’s.
How is Barbara Windsor’s health?
On May 10, 2018, it was confirmed that the Carry On legend has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The 81-year-old icon has reportedly been taking medication to help manage the degenerative brain disease, but more recently, her symptoms of memory loss and confusion have grown steadily worse.
Her husband Scott revealed the details of her condition in an exclusive, unpaid interview with the Sun.
On May 11, 2018, Scott revealed that Barbara sometimes forgets they are married.
On September 4, it was revealed by close friend Christopher Biggins that Barbara had an operation to fit a pacemaker after complications caused by her Alzheimer’s medication.
On October 8, Barbara made her first appearance on camera since her diagnosis to urge people to run next year’s London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution and Scott revealed the details on their life since her diagnosis in another exclusive interview with The Sun.
Later, on January 8, 2019, Scott went on Good Morning Britain and revealed that the EastEnders legend doesn’t recognise their own house.
Speaking to hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Scott, 55, explained: “Over the last two weeks, her confusion has got really bad.
“I spend a lot of time explaining where we are, she has a lot of trouble identifying our house.
“She’ll ask, ‘Are we staying here tonight?’ or ‘Have we got clothes here?’ That’s the reality of what people living with dementia are going through, and those around her.”
On March 26 2019, Scott revealed that Barbara still doesn’t know she’s in her own home.
Scott opened up about her condition during an interview on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon and admitted she has become very confused about where she is living at night time.
Discussing his London Marathon run for the Dementia Revolution campaign, he revealed: “There’s good and bad days, the confusion does progress and that becomes a lot more stressful for her to live with and you as the carer to watch.
“I think what I’ve learnt by talking to other people is its very different for every case. It’s very simple things that used to be very easy, whether that’s signing something or writing a letter, opening something …”
He continued: “At times very frustrating and irritable. It gets worse at night , with Barbara it’s to do with our house. She constantly asks me over and over again at night whose house is this, is we staying here, is this house I grew up with my mummy….”
Getty Images Babs had a fling with the infamous Reggie Kray (pictured)
Did Barbara Windsor have a fling with one of the Kray twins? Who else did she date?
It is reported that Babs had a one night stand with Reggie Kray before she married Ronnie Knight.
She met the Kray twins and their brother Charlie when they paid her a visit backstage at a club she was singing at in Soho, London.
It’s also claimed she dated two of them.
While married to Ronnie (Knight), she had a well-publicised affair with her Carry On co-star Sid James.
During the 1960s, she also had a brief relationship with footballer George Best.
home heartbreak Barbara Windsor no longer knows she’s in her own home due to Alzheimer’s ‘It’s cruel’ Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s is now so bad she can’t remember her pals’ names babs’ big fight Barbara Windsor ‘desperate to find cure for Alzheimer’s before she dies’ Deep pocketman Elton John donates £5k to Barbara Windsor’s husband’s London marathon fund IT’S YOU Ross Kemp says Barbara Windsor still recognises him despite Alzheimer’s battle HEARTBREAKING Barbara Windsor asked co-star Jake Wood ‘why me?’ after Alzheimer’s diagnosis ExclusiveSTAR’S TORMENT Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s so bad she needs constant care ‘sorry scott’ Barbara Windsor apologises to husband Scott every day for having Alzheimer’s carry on smiling Dame Barbara Windsor watches Carry On films to help fight Alzheimer’s CARRY ON BABS Barbara Windsor ‘lights up as she recognises theatre’ amid dementia battle BABS’S BEAU Get to know EastEnders star Barbara Windsor’s third husband Scott Mitchell
Why has Barbara Windsor never had children?
Barbara has admitted to The Sun that she regrets having five pregnancies aborted.
She told us: “I knew it was wrong, against what you should do.”
She had her first termination aged 20 after falling pregnant to her first serious boyfriend, a little-known singer called Cliff Lawrence. Four more followed, the last aged 42.
We asked her if she regretted not having children, to which she replied: “No. I consider myself to be a warm and lovely person but I never had any maternal feelings.
“Neither did my mother, so that message was constantly fed to me as a child.”
Barbara Windsor talks about Alzheimer’s for the first time as she calls for people to run the 2019 London Marathon for the Dementia Revolution