Susan Hampshire, the English actress who has won three Emmy Awards, was born in Kensington, London on May 12, 1937. Her original ambition was to be a nurse, but she could not pass her O-Level exam in Latin. (She found out when she was 30 years old that she was dyslexic, and her work on dyslexia subsequently brought her the Officer of the British Empire award.) She decided to become an actress and gained training in the theater. She made her movie debut, at 10 years old, in The Woman in the Hall (1947) but her proper debut was in the Laurence Harvey picture, Expresso Bongo (1959), in 1958. Her career has never faltered.
Hampshire made a name for herself in her native Britain, appearing in Katy (1962) on TV in 1962 for the BBC. Walt Disney signed her to star in the 1964 family picture, The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963), but it was her role in the 1967 BBC mini-series, The Forsyte Saga (1967), that made her famous and won her the first of her three Emmy Awards. Shown in the United States on the precursor to PBS, the great popularity of the series led the new PBS to create Masterpiece Classic (1971). The First Churchills (1969), in which Hampshire played “Sarah Churchill”, was the first series offered on “Masterpiece Theater” and brought her her second Emmy. In 1973, she won her third, playing “Becky Sharp” in Vanity Fair (1967), for a mini-series that had been released in the UK in 1967.
Susan Hampshire has continued to be active on television and in the theater. She has been married to her second husband, the theatrical impresario, Sir Eddie Kulukundis, since 1981.
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