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Monday 30 September 2013

Happy 80th birthday to Barbara Knox

Today marks the 80th birthday of Barbara Knox, who of course has played the radiant Rita for over forty years.

We've seen her play Rita as she matured from saucy songstress to the Duchess of the street and as everybody knows, she is my all-time favourite character.
Barbara was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1933. Her father worked in a foundry and later became a fireman while her mother worked in a mill. She left school in 1948 and worked as a telegraph operator in the Post Office while also doing stints in shops and a factory. She joined the Oldham Reparatory Theatre in the early 1950s and spent 12 years there learning her craft. Time well spent I'd say!
After her time in rep, Barbara began appearing in ITV shows like George and the Dragon (1966-1968), Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width (1967-1971) and A Family at War (1970-1972). Of course, she made her first appearance as Rita in one episode in December 1964. She would return to the role eight years later and has stayed since. She had a small role as a dancer in the musical Goodbye Mr Chips in 1969 and worked with various comedians like Ken Dodd on radio on the show Comedy Half Hour.
Barbara shuns publicity and rarely appears as herself - only in documentaries. Although in recent years she has done interviews on Paul O'Grady Live, This Morning and Lorraine.
As you know, Rita can sing and Barbara released and LP titled On the Street Where You Live in 1973 that included cover songs that were originally recorded by the likes of Ginger Rogers, Connie Francis, Glenn Miller, Elvis Presley and Lesley Gore.
She won awards for her portrayal of Rita during the Alan Bradley saga in 1989; won a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' in the British Soap Awards in 2004; and a 'Best On-Screen Partnership' award with Malcolm Hebden (Norris Cole) in the BSA in 2006.
Knox was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her services to drama and charity work.
She married Denis Mullaney in 1954 and had three children: John (born 1957), Amanda (born 1962) and Maxine (born 1970). She divorced in Denis in 1977 and married John Knox the same year but divorced him also in 1994. 
You can read a tribute I made to Rita last year here.
And a heads up - I believe Barbara will be making an appearance on This Morning on Thursday, 3rd October as they celebrate their 25th anniversary and I'm sure her 80th birthday will be mentioned. Just in case you want to watch it or maybe put it on your Sky+!
So, let's raise a glass to Barbara Knox as she reaches a wonderful milestone and wish her a very happy birthday and hope she'll be on Corrie for many years to come!
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Wim said...

I think it's incredible how young and vibrant Ms Knox still looks at 80... Especially when looking back at older episodes, it seems she's simply stopped ageing somewhere in the mid-1990s.

Wonderful character played by a great actress... I hope Rita still has plenty of years ahead of her.

lizzieizzard said...

Wishing Ms Knox a wonderful birthday 80 years young, Thankyou for being that beautiful person on Corrie and heres to many more years enjoying her magic on the screen.

Anonymous said...

I just hope I have some of her stamina and good health when I reach that milestone!

Carry On Blogging! said...

Happy Birthday Barbara! Undoubtedly the reigning Queen of the Street :)

Humpty Dumpty said...

Happy Birthday to the lady. Barbara looks simply amazing.

Anonymous said...

Imagining that the actors of Corrie read your blog, I would like to say ; Cheers from Canada, Barbara & HaPpY hApPy!!
Looking forward to hearing you sing on Corrie again (?).. rumor has it, Dennis is going to try and get you back into showbiz.
Stay beautiful xo

Anonymous said...

Such a nice, warm, funny lady and superb actress, the show's biggest asset. Rita can make you laugh and cry.


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