Shirley Anne Field

Shirley Anne Field (born Shirley Broomfield; 27 June 1936) is an English actress who has performed on stage, film and television since 1955.

Shirley Anne Field
Field in trailer for Kings of the Sun (1963)
Shirley Broomfield

(1936-06-27) 27 June 1936 (age 84)
Years active1955–present
Spouse(s)Charles Crichton-Stuart 1967–1970) (divorced) 1 child
ChildrenNicola Crichton-Stuart (b. 1969)

Early lifeEdit

Shirley Anne Field was born in Forest Gate, London. She was the third of four children, with two elder sisters and a younger brother, Earnest "Guy" Broomfield (c. 1938–1999). Guy Broomfield was murdered in 1999 by Harry Dalsey, the son of Adrian Dalsey.[2][3]

At the age of six, Shirley was placed in the National Children's Home at Edgworth, near Bolton, and four years later was moved to another children's home in Blackburn, where she attended Blakey Moor School for Girls. She subsequently returned to Edgworth until she was 15, when she moved to a children's home hostel in London, training as a typist while still attending school.

Acting careerEdit

Early rolesEdit

After a course at the Lucie Clayton School and Model Agency, she became a photographic model for pin-up magazines like Reveille and Titbits. She was subsequently spotted by Bill Watts, who ran a theatrical agency and obtained for her roles in late 1950s British films, usually uncredited.

Her first appearance in a film was as an extra in Simon and Laura (1955). She had small parts in All for Mary (1955), Lost (1956), Yield to the Night (1956) (directed by J. Lee Thompson), It's Never Too Late (1956), It's a Wonderful World (1956), The Weapon (1956), Loser Takes All (1956), The Silken Affair (1956), Dry Rot (1956), The Good Companions (1957) (again for Thompson), Seven Thunders (1957), and The Flesh Is Weak (1957). She was in an episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane (1957) and International Detective.

Field's first sizeable film role was in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959). She had minor parts in Once More, with Feeling! (1960) and And the Same to You (1960). Field had a larger role in the controversial Peeping Tom (1960). She appeared on stage in The Lily White Boys with Albert Finney.


Field's breakthrough came in 1960 when she was chosen by Tony Richardson to play the role of model Tina Lapford in The Entertainer (1960), starring Laurence Olivier, distributed by Bryanston Films. "It was Tony Richardson I owe it all to," she said later.[4]

She had a support part in Beat Girl (1960) then appeared in probably her best known role as Doreen, the would-be girlfriend of rebellious Arthur Seaton (played by Albert Finney), in the New Wave film for Bryanston, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Director, Karel Reisz, described her as "difficult to play with".[5] Co-star Finney had previously had a small role in The Entertainer. The film was a huge hit.

Field starred alongside Kenneth More in Man in the Moon (1960). With those three big film starring roles in 1960, she became one of the very few actors ever to have their name above the titles in all the major cinemas around Leicester Square simultaneously.[6][7]

Field was offered a role in A Kind of Loving but turned it down to play the female lead in a Hollywood financed film, The War Lover (1962) with Steve McQueen. "It was the stuff dreams are made of, but I didn't get to enjoy it like I should have," she said later. "When I arrived I was so panicked and tired and the sun was just too yellow and the orange juice too orange. It was very stressful and I had a headache all the time. I just wasn't used to it. I didn't have anyone to look after me."[4]

In England she had the lead in Lunch Hour (1962) which was one of her favourite movies.[8][9]

For Hammer films she starred in The Damned (1963) directed by Joseph Losey. She went to Hollywood to play the female lead in an epic directed by J. Lee Thompson, Kings of the Sun (1963). Thompson had her under personal contract at this stage.[10] She says she turned down roles in a James Bond movie and an Elvis Presley movie.[4]

Field went to Italy to appear in The Wedding March (1966) then back in England made Doctor in Clover (1966) and Alfie (1966). She had a support part in Hell Is Empty (1967).[11]

Later careerEdit

She starred in With Love in Mind (1970) and A Touch of the Other (1970), then made House of the Living Dead (1974).[12]

By the late 1970s Field was more commonly seen on TV, in shows such as Centre Play, Shoestring, Buccaneer, Never the Twain and a long run on Santa Barbara as well as TV movies like Two by Forsyth. She had a notable role in films like My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), Shag (1989), Getting It Right (1989), The Rachel Papers (1989), Hear My Song (1991), UFO (1993), Taking Liberty (1993), Loving Deadly (1994), and At Risk (1994).

Later TV included Anna Lee: Headcase (1993), Murder She Wrote, Lady Chatterly, Rumble, Bramwell, Barbara, Madson, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Bill, Where the Heart Is, Waking the Dead, Monarch of the Glen, Last of the Summer Wine, Doctors. Her most recent films are The Kid, The Power of Three and Beautiful Relics.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Field in 2014

She married the aristocratic RAF pilot and racing driver Charles Crichton-Stuart (1939–2001) on 7 July 1967 and they had a daughter, Nicola Crichton-Stuart, who was born in 1969. The marriage ended in divorce during the late 1970s. She wrote her autobiography A Time for Love (1991).[14]

On 14 November 1993, Field appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs,[15] talking to Sue Lawley about her upbringing in different children's homes in Northern England and her success as an actress in the 1960s. She also reminisced about her friendship with John F. Kennedy and an ill-fated date with Frank Sinatra. Her record choices included Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major and pieces by Rachmaninov, Elvis Presley and the Carpenters. In the September 2009 issue of Cinema Retro, there was a long interview with Field, where she candidly talked about her childhood and the making of Peeping Tom, The Entertainer, Beat Girl and The War Lover.[16]


Selected television appearancesEdit


  1. ^ "The Big Interview: Shirley Anne Field". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 13 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Lee, Henry (6 September 1999). "Son of DHL Founder's Widow Held in Walnut Creek Slaying". SFGate. Retrieved 11 January 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Kerr, Jane (8 June 2001). "SHIRLEY IN BATTLE FOR DEAD BROTHER". The Free Library. Farlex. Retrieved 11 January 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Interview with Shirley Ann Field". Cinema Retro.
  5. ^ "9780060152352: No Bells on Sunday: The Rachel Roberts Journals - AbeBooks - Rachel Roberts: 0060152354". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  6. ^ Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  7. ^ Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. ^ Interview with Shirley Ann Field about the movie on BBC Radio 4 15 April 2011 accessed 19 March 2013
  9. ^ VIEW FROM A LOCAL VANTAGE POINT By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 4 November 1962: X9.
  10. ^ Hopper, Hedda (15 December 1962). "Hedda Predicts Movie Boom Within Year". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1.
  11. ^ DAVID WYNNE-MORGAN London Life; London (30 Jul 1966): 10, 12.
  12. ^ WITH LOVE IN MIND Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 37, Iss. 432, (1 Jan 1970): 171.
  13. ^ "Interview: Shirley Anne Field". Den of Geek. 23 March 2009.
  14. ^ BFI ScreenOnline: "Field, Shirley Anne" Retrieved 2012-12-07
  15. ^ BBC4, Desert Island Disc, 14 November 1993: "Shirley Anne Field" Retrieved 2012-12-07
  16. ^ Cinema Retro, September 2009: Field of Dreams Retrieved 2012-12-07
  17. ^ "Flipside 017: Lunch Hour (Dual Format Edition)" by James Hill, at

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit