Sidney James

Image of Sidney James

With his cauliflower face, crinkly, twinkly eyes, nicotine-ravaged voice and dirty chuckle, famous for his birds, booze and betting, James was the definitive working-man’s man over three post-war decades. He appeared in more than a hundred movies, achieved fame as the nemesis of Tony Hancock, starred as a womaniser in several TV sitcoms and was one of the most prominent Carry On members, appearing in 19 of the films. Long years after his death, he retains a place in the nation’s affection, his work and lifestyle continuing to fascinate.

Although he became famous as an archetypal cockney, SIDNEY JAMES was born a long way from London, in a suburb of Johannesburg, on 8 May 1913, and his real name wasn’t James but Cohen. His grandparents were Latvian Jews who sought sanctuary in Western Europe in the mid 19th Century. His London-born father established a vaudeville double-act with his wife, Reine and Laurie James, before leaving for South Africa. Sidney (as he preferred himself to be called) grew up in Johannesburg – he was a hairdresser, boxer and actor – and didn’t arrive in England until Christmas Day 1946.

Within just six weeks of docking at Tilbury, James made his screen debut in the film Black Memory, playing a shady cockney who traded stolen goods. He had found his niche…

Born: May 8, 1913 in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa

Died: April 26, 1976 (on stage at the age of 62) in Sunderland, Tyne-and-Wear, England, UK



1972 Movies Carry On Matron (1972, Sid James, Kenneth Williams) as Sid Carter
1969 Movies Carry On Again Doctor (1969, Sid James, Jim Dale) as Gladstone Screwer
1968 Movies Carry On Up The Khyber (Anglo Amalgamated 1968, Sid James, Roy Castle) as Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond
1965 Movies Big Job, The (1965, Sidney James, Dick Emery) as George Brain
1965 Movies Carry On Cowboy (1965, Sid James, Jim Dale) as Johnny Finger, the Rumpo Kid
1962 Movies Carry On Cruising (1962, Sid James, Kenneth Williams) as Captain Wellington Crowther
1961 Movies Carry On Regardless (Anglo Amalgamated 1961, Sidney James, Kenneth Williams) as Bert Handy
1961 Movies Raising The Wind (Anglo Amalgamated 1961, Leslie Phillips, Sid James) as Sid
1960-1962 Series Citizen James (BBC 1960-1962, Sid James, Bill Kerr) as Sidney Balmoral James
1960 Movies Watch Your Stern (1960, Kenneth Connor, Eric Barker) as Chief Petty Officer Mundy
1960 Movies Pure Hell Of St Trinian’s, The (1960, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole) as Alphonse O'Reilly
1959 Movies The 39 Steps (Rank 1959, Kenneth More, Taina Elg) as Perce
1959 Movies Carry On Constable (Anglo Amalgamated 1959, Sid James, Eric Barker) as Sgt. Frank Wilkins
1959 Movies Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw, The (1959, Kenneth More, Jayne Mansfield) as The Drunk
1958 Movies Silent Enemy, The (Romulus 1958, Laurence Harvey, Dawn Addams) as Chief Petty Officer Thorpe
1958 Movies I Was Monty’s Double (ABP 1958 with John Mills and Cecil Parker) as Porter Y.M.C.A.
1957 Movies Hell Drivers (Rank 1957, Stanley Baker, Patrick McGoohan) as Dusty
1955 Movies Kid For Two Farthings, A (1955, Celia Johnson, Diana Dors) as Ice Berg
1954 Movies Out Of The Clouds (1954, Anthony Steel, Robert Beatty) as The Gambler
1953 Movies Weak And The Wicked, The (1953, Glynis Johns, John Gregson) as Syd Baden
1953 Movies Titfield Thunderbolt, The (1953 Ealing, Stanley Holloway, John Gregson) as Hawkins
1952 Movies Gift Horse, The (1952, Trevor Howard, Richard Attenborough) as Ned Hardy, Owner Golden Bull