Born in Shoreditch, London in 1937, Windsor was the only child of John and Rose Deeks, who were a costermonger and dressmaker, respectively. Windsor is of English and Irish ancestry. She passed her 11-plus exams with the highest marks in North London, and won a place at Our Lady’s Convent in Stamford Hill. Her mother paid for her to have elocution lessons, and she trained at the Aida Foster School in Golders Green, making her stage debut at 13 and her West End debut in 1952 in the chorus of the musical Love From Judy.
Her first film role was in The Belles of St Trinian's in 1954. She joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, coming to prominence in their stage production Fings Ain't Wot They Used to Be and Littlewood's film Sparrows Can't Sing in 1963, achieving a BAFTA nomination for Best British Film Actress. She also appeared in the 1964 film comedy Crooks in Cloisters, the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in the sitcoms The Rag Trade and Wild, Wild Women.
In 1994, Windsor was cast in the series. She took over the role Peggy Mitchell (previously played by Jo Warne in 1991), for which she received the Best Actress award at the British Soap Awards in 1999 and a Lifetime Achievement award from the same source in 2009.
A debilitating case of the Epstein-Barr virus forced a two year absence from EastEnders from 2003 to 2005. During this period she made a two episode appearance in 2004. She rejoined the cast in mid 2005 on a one year contract. The Doctor Who episode "Army of Ghosts" broadcast on 1 July 2006 included a specially recorded clip from a fictional episode of EastEnders featuring her appearing in character.
In October 2009, Windsor announced she was to quit her role as Peggy Mitchell, saying she wanted to spend more time with her husband. On 10 September 2010, her character left Albert Square after a fire at The Queen Victoria pub, of which she was the owner. Following her on-screen departure, she ruled out ever returning to the series.
- ↑ " Ten Things You Never Knew About Barbara Windsor" Digital Spy May 23, 2007
- ↑ GRO Register of Births: SEP 1937 1a 176 STEPNEY - Barbara A. Deeks, mmn = Ellis
- ↑ BBC - Who Do You Think You Are? - Past Stories - Barbara Windsor
- ↑ Hibbin, Sally and Nina Hibbin. What a Carry On: The Official Story of the Carry On Film series, Hamlyn, 1988. ISBN 0-600-55819-3 p. 43
- ↑ "Actress Windsor Quits EastEnders". United Kingdom: BBC News. 28 October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8329637.stm. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
- ↑ Connolly, Lucy (30 September 2010). "Babs: I'll never return to Enders". The Sun (London). http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/soaps/3159093/Actress-Barbara-Windsor-73-says-she-wont-return-to-soap-opera-Eastenders.html. Retrieved 1 October 2010.