Sid James

Born May 8, 1913

Sid James was an English-based South African actor and comedian. He made his name as Tony Hancock's co-star in Hancock's Half Hour and also starred in the popular Carry On films. He was known for his trademark "dirty laugh" and lascivious persona. Bruce Forsyth described him as "a natural at being natural."… Read More

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1913 Birth James was born Solomon Joel Cohen on 8 May 1913 to Jewish parents in South Africa, later changing his name to Sidney Joel Cohen, and then Sidney James. … Read More


1936 23 Years Old It was at a hairdressing salon in Kroonstad, Orange Free State that he met his first wife. He married Berthe Sadie Delmont, known as Toots, on 12 August 1936, and her father Joseph Delmont, a wealthy Johannesburg businessman, bought a salon for James. … Read More
1940 27 Years Old Sid James married three times. James and his first wife divorced in 1940 mainly as a result of James's many relationships with other women; it was a pattern that continued throughout his life.


1943 30 Years Old In 1943, he married a dancer, Meg Sergei, née Williams (born 1913). Five years later they had a daughter, Reina, before getting divorced on 17 August 1952.
1946 33 Years Old During the Second World War, he became a lieutenant in the South African Army in an entertainment unit, and subsequently took up acting as a career. He came to Britain in 1946, financed by his service gratuity. … Read More
1949 36 Years Old In 1949 he played the alcoholic hero's barman in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Small Back Room. … Read More
1952 39 Years Old On 21 August 1952 James wed Valerie Elizabeth Patsy Assan (born 1928), an actress who used Ashton as her stage name. … Read More


1954 41 Years Old Meanwhile, in 1954, he began working with Tony Hancock in BBC radio's Hancock's Half Hour, playing a character with his own name (but having the invented middle name Balmoral), who was a petty criminal who would usually manage to con Hancock. … Read More
1959 46 Years Old James became a leading member of the Carry On films team, originally to replace Ted Ray who had appeared in Carry On Teacher in 1959. … Read More


1967 54 Years Old In 1967, James was intending to play Sergeant Nocker in Follow That Camel, but suffered a massive heart attack and was replaced by the American comic actor Phil Silvers. … Read More


1976 63 Years Old 1 More Event
Meanwhile his success in TV situation comedies continued, now heading the cast, notably in Citizen James, Taxi!, George and the Dragon, Two in Clover, and Bless This House. On 26 April 1976, while on a revival tour of The Mating Season, a 1969 farce by the Irish playwright Sam Cree, James suffered a heart attack on stage at the Sunderland Empire Theatre. … Read More
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