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Sheila White (actress)

Sheila White (born 18 October 1950) is an English film, television and stage actress. She is married to former theatre producer Richard M. Mills and lives in Kingston, Surrey.

Early life and career

White was born in London. She began her career at the age of twelve in the pantomime Cinderella at the Golders Green Hippodrome starring Arthur Askey as a member of Terry's Juveniles. This led to an audition for the London production of The Sound of Music at the Palace Theatre where she played the parts of Brigitta and Louisa for three years. She then became a student at the Corona Stage School in Hammersmith, West London.

At sixteen, she still played children's roles, as she appeared young for her age; the start of her television career was in Z-Cars with Malcolm McDowell. A theatre tour of Counter Crime followed and the musical tour of The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd starring Norman Wisdom and Willoughby Goddard, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, playing one of the urchins with Elaine Paige and choreography by Gillian Lynne. Sheila White's big break came playing the part of Eileen in the musical On The Level at the Saville Theatre. She was taken out of the chorus and the song "Bleep – Bleep", was written especially for her. This song proved to be a show-stopper, making Sheila White's name in the West End theatre. This success led to the part of Bet, Nancy's best friend in Lionel Bart's film musical Oliver!, accompanying Shani Wallis as Nancy and Mark Lester as Oliver in the songs "It's a Fine Life" and "I'd Do Anything".


As well as Oliver! she also played leading roles as Polly in The Ghost Goes Gear (1966) with the Spencer Davis Group, Paula in Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush in 1967 with Barry Evans, Tulip in Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) for MGM, Veronica in the 1971 gangster film Villain with Richard Burton, and Norma in Alfie Darling (1975). She is also known for portraying Rosie, the married sister of Robin Askwith, in Confessions of a Window Cleaner and its 3 sequels, and also appeared as Alisande in the Disney film The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979) and Silver Dream Racer (1980) opposite David Essex.


In 1975 Sheila White played Annie Miller in The Love School. A notable performance was as Messalina, the third wife of the Emperor Claudius (Derek Jacobi) in the BBC classic serial I, Claudius (1976). In EastEnders she played Carol Hanley, biological mother of Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean).

In 1969 and 1970 Sheila starred with Rodney Bewes in the first two series of the sitcom Dear Mother...Love Albert.

Other television credits include the TV musical Pickwick for the BBC in 1969 and her roles as Keren Daniel in the Poldark series for BBC, as herself in the variety musical series The Songwriters, and Annie Miller, in The Brotherhood – Pre-Raphaelites – Aka Love School for the BBC directed by Piers Haggard. Sheila White also played the leading role as Dixie in Don't Rock the Boat, a comedy series for Thames Television directed by Mark Stuart. She also starred in Whizzkid's Guide a children's comedy series for Anglia Television, as Moyra Sheffield in Framed for ITV, written by Lynda La Plante, as Sharon Nightingale in Series 1 episode Monday Night Fever of Minder and as Vivien McKewan in Dear Mother ...Love Albert for Thames Television, Mildred in ITV Saturday Night Theatre – The Funeral of Queen Victoria, directed by Tania Lieven, and The Good Old Days with Leonard Sachs and Frankie Vaughan.


White's extensive theatre credits as a leading lady include Mary Pickford in The Biograph Girl for Harold Fielding, directed by Victor Spinetti; Eileen Wells in On The Level; Young Belle in Little Me; Ruby in the London production of Dames at Sea; Samantha in Queen Daniella with Danny La Rue and Sonia Walsk; and the British production of They're Playing Our Song.

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