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All of Me: My Extraordinary Life Hardcover – 21 Sep 2000
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I always felt I was more than just a busty blonde with a giggle and a wiggle.
Barbara Windsor is forever enshrined in the national psyche as a cheeky Cockney, the blonde bombshell star of that quintessentially British creation, the Carry On film. Windsor's career in showbusiness has spanned an incredible 50 years--from her first appearance in pantomime at the age of 12, to soap-star matriarch behind the bar at the Queen Vic in Eastenders.
Windsor (born Barbara Deeks; the name-change came in 1952, Coronation year, and was "particularly apt") grew up torn between her rowing parents who nevertheless instilled in her a passion for film-going. Aware that her looks and cheeky air would get her work, Windsor secretly deplored being eternally typecast as a "bimbo in white stilettos" and saw herself instead as a "theatre comedy actress". Her comic talent and sheer capacity for hard work led her, after years of damp dressing rooms and end-of-the-pier shows, to an enduring status as an icon of sorts, her ultimate accolade being made an OBE in 2000.
Yet Windsor is almost as famous for her private life as she is for her public achievements, and she is exceptionally candid about her affairs--most notoriously with fellow Carry On star Sid James, though there was an occasion over some salt-beef sandwiches with jazzman Ronnie Scott ("I felt he had taken me on more for my bosom than for my singing"). There were also her abortions, her friendships with some of the biggest stars of the 60s--Kenneth Williams and she were so close that he came on her honeymoon--and she has always held a rather dubious affection for the Krays. Her first husband, Ronnie Knight, became Britain's most wanted man after his involvement in a robbery, her second sold his story to the tabloids after their marriage ended; she has recently married her third husband after a turbulent relationship. "I'd always been a grafter, not a whinger; always got out there and done it when the chips were down", writes Windsor and we never expect anything less of her.
The enjoyable and slightly scandalous All of Me is written in the best British tradition of self-deprecation, hard work, laughter and tears--with a touch of sauciness thrown in. Just like a Carry On film, in fact. --Kate Weaver
A whopping, no-holds-barred rollercoaster of a book ...This is the best showbiz memoir for years (Mail on Sunday)
'A whopping, no-holds-barred rollercoaster of a book...This is the best showbiz memoir for years' Mail on Sunday
By living up to its title alone it makes a nonsense of every other showbiz bleat 'n' brag ever put to paper (Julie Burchill)
'By living up to its title alone it makes a nonsense of every other showbiz bleat 'n' brag ever put to paper' Julie Burchill
Infinitely more interesting than the sentimental schmaltz we have read about her before (Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph)
'Infinitely more interesting than the sentimental schmaltz we have read about her before' Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph
'big and bouncy' Sunday Telegraph
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Top Customer Reviews
I hope she and Scott have many, many more happy years together and since this book I know she's been awarded even more tributes and I believe she is dame Barbara Windsor.
Thank you Barbara for writing this book I'd love to read how everything has worked out since and God bless you
Overall, it was well-written in a colloquial way, however I wish that her editor had cleaned up a few things from spelling ("OK" for "okay") to facts (contrary to Miss Windsor's belief, there actually have been 2 full-scale wars fought on American soil - the Revolutionary War and the Civil War). Whatever weaknesses the book has, she seems likable and tells an interesting story.
Because I never saw her as the big breasted "Carry On" girl, I had no preconceived notions about who or what she is. I was ready to accept her at her word. From her unhappy, often unstable, childhood through her many abortions, affairs, and marriages she comes alive through the pages. She relays her life's experiences with a great deal of enthusiasm and wit, albeit with too much naivete to be believed. (If she really had no idea that Ronnie Knight was a gangster, how come she had Freddie Foreman's home phone number?) She seems to be attempting painful honesty about some things (abortions, affairs) yet glosses over other events (Knight's source of income, why she allowed her affair with Sid to continue.)
I have read several other television autobiographies (Martine McCutcheon's and Mike Reid's come to mind) and Miss Windsor seems to have put in the most effort to recall details and express herself clearly. If there are things that she chooses to fudge . . . well, they don't harm the book that much. And having liked her before, I like her better now for having read it.
Doing so was a quick, easy, interesting way to pass beach hours.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this book..charting her life from birth ..interesting and well written ..read quickly!Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer