Barbara Ann Windsor, MBE (born Barbara Ann Deeks on 6 August 1937) is an English actress. Her best known roles are in the Carry On films and as Peggy Mitchell in BBC soap opera EastEnders, and she is now considered as something of a "national institution".
Born in Shoreditch, London in 1937, Windsor was the only child of a costermonger and dressmaker, John and Rose Deeks. She passed the 11 plus exam with high marks, and her mother paid for her to have elocution lessons. Her first film appearance was in The Belles of St Trinian's in 1954. She joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, coming to prominence in their stage and film production of Sparrows Can't Sing in 1963, achieving a BAFTA nomination for Best British Film Actress. She also appeared in the 1964 film comedy Crooks in Cloisters and in the sitcoms The Rag Trade and Wild, Wild Women.
However, Windsor came to real prominence with her portrayals of a 'good time girl' in nine Carry On films beginning with Carry On Spying and ending with Carry On Dick and several TV specials between 1964 and 1977. Her most famous scene was in Carry On Camping during which she was doing outdoor aerobic exercises and her bikini top flew off. Her ten Carry On films were: Carry On Spying, Carry On Doctor, Carry On Camping, Carry On Again Doctor, Carry On Henry, Carry On Matron, Carry on Abroad, Carry On Girls, Carry On Dick, and the compilation show That's Carry On.
She also starred on Broadway in the Theatre Workshop's Oh! What a Lovely War and received a 1965 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Barbara Windsor was the recipient of the inaugural Rear of the Year title in 1976.
After a gradual fall from the top, which also saw her first husband, Ronnie Knight, flee to Spain on bank robbery charges, she considered quitting acting. Windsor once claimed that her biggest professional regret was that they only wanted unknown faces in TV's EastEnders. However, in 1994, Windsor was offered the role of Peggy Mitchell in the series. For this role she was rewarded in 1999 with Best Actress from the British Soap Awards.