Actress Shirley Anne Field has died at the age of 87. Her family have confirmed the sad news in a statement, which read: “It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news that Shirley Anne Field passed away peacefully on Sunday 10 December 2023, surrounded by her family and friends.
“Shirley Anne will be greatly missed and remembered for her unbreakable spirit and her amazing legacy spanning more than five decades on stage and screen.” Shirley Anne first rose to fame in the 1960s after landing her role in The Entertainer, co-starring the late Laurence Olivier.
She then appeared in hit films including Alfie, and Saturday Night And Sunday Morning. Shirley Anne began her career as a model in the 1950s, before moving into acting in British films.
The star was born in Essex and was the third of four children. She was placed in a children’s home near Bolton at the age of six and was moved to another children’s home a couple of years later.
Shirley Anne previously opened up about her experiences in children’s homes as a young girl. She told MailOnline: “I grew up in children’s homes.
“I finally met my mother again when I was 38 and discovered my whole other family – three lovely American half-sisters.
“My mother lived to 98. She had a lot of stamina.”
Shirley Anne began to pursue her career in the industry when she took a course at the Lucie Clayton School and Model Agency, before becoming a model for pin-up magazines.
Her modelling career led to her being spotted by a theatrical agent.
Her first film appearance was as an extra in Simon and Laura in 1955.
She was then cast in small roles in All For Mary, Lost, Yield to the Night, It’s Never Too Late and It’s a Wonderful World.
The actress portrayed model Tina Lapford in The Entertainer, which became her breakout role.
More recently, Shirley Anne acted in Doctors, BBC’s Last Of The Summer Wine, The Bill, and Dalziel And Pascoe.
In her personal life, Shirley Anne became a mother for the first time in 1969, as she welcomed a daughter, Nicola Crichton-Stuart, with her then-husband, aristocratic RAF pilot and racing driver Charles Crichton-Stuart.
In the late 70s, the actress’ marriage broke down and the couple got a divorce.
Fans took to X (formerly Twitter) to pay tribute to the star, with one writing: “Sad to hear of the death of Shirley Anne Field a fine actress, a familiar figure in North London and a loyal supporter of the National Childrens Home (now called Action for Children) one of whos homes she was once upon a time a resident .”(sic)
Another shared a photo of the actress from her younger years, and added: “Sleep well Shirley. #shirleyannefield.”