Carry On Henry. Henry VIII (Sid James). Copyright: Peter Rogers Productions.

Sid James

Solomon Joel Cohen was born to English parents in Johannesburg, South Africa, but found fame as a comedy actor after moving to England. He first rose to stardom as the duplicitous spiv in Galton & Simpson's Hancock's Half Hour, both on radio and TV. He went on to star in 19 of 31 Carry On films. The 1960s and 1970s also saw him star in a variety of his own television series, for both the BBC and ITV. Notably, Citizen James, George And The Dragon, Two In Clover, and Bless This House.

Biography

Solomon Joel Cohen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in May 1913. His parents were Jewish music hall artistes from London's East End, and - having initially trained and worked as a barber before turning to acting - it was to England he would return, arriving in Southampton on Boxing Day 1946.

Having adopted the name Sidney James, he had joined the Johannesburg Repertory Company in the late 1930s and entertained his fellow South African servicemen during the war, also becoming a regular on radio and on stage. Such was his success and variety of work that it is remarkable he chose to start again from scratch with a move to England.

However, he did not have to worry as his career in Britain began almost immediately. Within 12 months he had secured two credited film roles, not to mention a ream of stage credits. Radio soon followed, and television after that. Somewhat of a workaholic, James never turned down an offer of work unless he was already busy elsewhere.

He first rose to a position of real stardom as the duplicitous spiv in Galton & Simpson's Hancock's Half Hour, initially on radio and later television. In both mediums the sitcom gripped the nation. His first appearance in the Carry On films was in 1960's Constable, and he would become one of the series' biggest stars, appearing in 19 of the 31 titles.

The 1960s and 1970s also saw him star in a variety of his own television series, both for the BBC and ITV. Notably, Citizen James, George And The Dragon, Two In Clover, and Bless This House.

The latter, domestic comedy was by far the biggest hit, running for six series and a feature film spin-off. It was brought to an end only with his death, aged just 62. Like numerous other stars of his generation, Sid collapsed whilst performing for an audience, suffering a fatal heart attack on stage at the Sunderland Empire on the 26th April 1976.

Birth name
Solomon Joel Cohen
Full name
Sidney James
AKA
Sidney Joel Cohen
Gender
Male
Nationality
United Kingdom / South Africa
Born
Thursday 8th May 1913 - Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa
Died
Monday 26th April 1976 (aged 62) - Sunderland Empire

Family

Wife
Berthe Delmont (1936 - 1940)
Wife
Meg Williams (1943 - 1952)
Wife
Valerie James (1952 - 1976)

Known for

Credits

 
Year Production Role
2015 The Essay: British Film Comedians Subject
2015 Carry On Forever
  1. E2 - Episode Two
Self (Archive Material)
2013 Tony Hancock: From Bournemouth To East Cheam Self (Archive Material)
2013 Sid James: Not Just A Dirty Laugh Self (Archive Material)
2013 The Many Faces Of... - Series 3
  1. E3 - The Many Faces Of Sid James
Self (Archive Material)
2011 Greatest Ever Carry On Films Self (Archive Material)
2011 Legends Of British Comedy Self (Archive Material)
2011 My Favourite Joke
  1. E6 - Episode Six
Self (Archive Material)
2010 Carry On Forever! Self (Archive Material)
2009 Very Nearly An Armful - The Galton & Simpson Story Self (Archive Material)
2005 The Unknown Hancock Self (Archive Material)
2000 The Unforgettable... - Series 2
  1. E3 - Sid James
Self (Archive Material)
1984 What A Carry On (as Sidney James) Self (Archive Material)
1977 That's Carry On! (as Sidney James) Self (Archive Material)
1976 Bless This House - Series 6 Sid Abbott
1975 Carry On Laughing - Series 1
  1. E4 - Orgy And Bess
Sir Francis Drake
1975 Carry On Laughing - Series 1
  1. E3 - The Sobbing Cavalier
Lovelace
1975 Carry On Laughing - Series 1
  1. E2 - The Baron Outlook
Baron Hubert
1975 Carry On Laughing - Series 1
  1. E1 - The Prisoner Of Spenda
Prince Rupert
1975 Carry On Laughing - Series 1
  1. E1 - The Prisoner Of Spenda
Arnold Basket
1974 Bless This House - Series 5 Sid Abbott
1974 Carry On Dick (as Sidney James) Richard 'Big Dick' Turpin / Reverend Flasher
1974 Bless This House - Series 4 Sid Abbott
1973 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Mr Belcher
1973 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Seed Pod
1973 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Sir Henry
1973 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Sergeant Ball
1973 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Robin Hood
1973 What A Carry On! (as Sidney James) Self
1973 Carry On Girls (as Sidney James) Cllr Sidney Fiddler
1973 Bless This House - Series 3 Sid Abbott
1972 Carry On Abroad (as Sidney James) Vic Flange
1972 Carry On Matron (as Sidney James) Sid Carter
1972 Bless This House - Series 2 Sid Abbott
1972 Bless This House Sid Abbot
1971 Carry On At Your Convenience (as Sidney James) Sid Plummer
1971 Carry On Henry (as Sidney James) Henry VIII
1971 Bless This House - Series 1 Sid Abbott
1970 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Again Christmas (as Sidney James)
  1. Carry On Again Christmas
Long John Silver
1970 Carry On Loving (as Sidney James) Sidney Bliss
1970 Carry On Forever (as Sidney James) Self
1970 Carry On Up The Jungle (as Sidney James) Bill Boosey
1970 Two In Clover - Series 2 (as Sidney James) Sid Turner
1969 Carry On Christmas - Carry On Christmas
  1. Carry On Christmas
Scrooge
1969 Carry On Again Doctor (as Sidney James) Gladstone Screwer
1969 Carry On Camping (as Sidney James) Sid Boggle
1969 Two In Clover - Series 1 (as Sidney James) Sid Turner
1969 Carry On Christmas - Series 4 Various
1969 Carry On Christmas - Series 2 Various
1969 Carry On Christmas - Series 1 Various
1968 Carry On... Up The Khyber (as Sidney James) Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond
1968 George And The Dragon - Series 4 George Russell
1968 Carry On Doctor (as Sidney James) Mr. Roper
1968 George And The Dragon - Series 3 George Russell
1967 George And The Dragon - Series 2 George Russell
1966 Don't Lose Your Head (as Sidney James) Sir Rodney Ffing
1966 George And The Dragon - Series 1 George Russell
1965 Sid And Dora Sid Edge
1965 Carry On Cowboy (as Sidney James) The Rumpo Kid
1965 Three Hats For Lisa (as Sidney James) Sid Marks
1965 The Big Job George 'The Great Brain'
1964 The Beauty Jungle (as Sydney James) Butlin's Judge
1964 Taxi! - Series 2 (as Sidney James) Sid Stone
1964 Carry On Cleo (as Sidney James) Mark Antony
1963 Taxi! - Series 1 (as Sidney James) Sid Stone
1963 Carry On Cabby (as Sidney James) Charlie Hawkins
1962 Citizen James - Series 3 (as Sidney James) Sid James
1962 Carry On Cruising (as Sidney James) Captain Wellington Crowther
1961 What A Whopper (as Sidney James) Harry
1961 Citizen James - Series 2 (as Sidney James) Sid James
1961 It's A Deal (as Sidney James) Sid
1961 A Weekend With Lulu (as Sidney James) English Gambler
1961 Carry On Regardless (as Sidney James) Bert Handy
1961 Double Bunk (as Sidney James) Sid Randall
1960 The Pure Hell Of St. Trinian's (as Sidney James) Alphonse O'Reilly
1960 Citizen James - Series 1 (as Sidney James) Sid James
1960 Carry On, Constable (as Sidney James) Sgt. Frank Wilkins
1960 And The Same To You (as Sidney James) Sammy Gatt
1959 Too Many Crooks (as Sidney James) Sid
1959 Tommy The Toreador (as Sidney James) Cadena
1959 Make Mine A Million Sid Gibson
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4 Sidney Balmoral James
1958 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 4 (as Sidney James)
  1. E2 - Underpaid! Or, Grandad's SOS
Sid's Grandfather (Voice)
1958 Next To No Time! (as Sidney James) Albert
1958 The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw (as Sidney James) The Drunk
1958 East End - West End Actor
1957 Hancock's Forty-Three Minutes (as Sidney James) Sidney James
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3 Sidney Balmoral James
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2 Sidney Balmoral James
1957 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2 (as Sidney James)
  1. E3 - The Russian Prince
General Sidski
1957 The Smallest Show On Earth (as Sidney James) Mr. Hogg
1956 Dry Rot (as Sidney James) Flash Harry
1956 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1 Sidney Balmoral James
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 3 Sidney James
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 2 Sidney James
1955 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1
  1. E10 - Cinderella Hancock
Tailor
1954 Hancock's Half Hour - Series 1 Sidney James
1954 The Crowded Day (as Sidney James) Joe
1954 The Belles Of St. Trinian's (as Sidney James) Benny
1954 For Better, For Worse (as Sidney James) The Foreman
1953 The Titfield Thunderbolt (as Sidney James) Harry Hawkins
1952 Miss Robin Hood (as Sidney James) Sidney
1951 The Lavender Hill Mob (as Sidney James) Lackery
1951 Here's Television (as Sidney James) Actor

Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Sid James on IMDb

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