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Beacham in 2009
28 February 1947|
London, England, United Kingdom
John McEnery (m. 1973–1979)
|Partner(s)||Imran Khan (1980)|
Stephanie Beacham (born 28 February 1947) is an English television, radio, film and theatre actress. She is known for her television roles in the BBC drama Tenko (1981–82), the ITV drama Connie (1985), and for playing Sable Colby in the ABC soap operas The Colbys (1985–87) and Dynasty (1988–89). Her film appearances include Dracula A.D. 1972, (1972), Schizo (1976) and Troop Beverly Hills (1989).
Beacham began appearing on British television in 1967 and made her big screen debut in the 1970 film The Games, before starring opposite Marlon Brando in the 1971 film The Nightcomers. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in the NBC sitcom Sister Kate (1989–90). Her other television roles include Phyl Oswyn in the ITV prison-based drama series Bad Girls (2003–06), Martha Fraser in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street (2009), and Lorraine in the Sky One sitcom Trollied (2012). On stage, she starred as Maria Callas in a 2010 UK touring production of the play Master Class.
Beacham, one of four siblings, was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, the daughter of Joan, a housewife, and a father who was an insurance executive and the managing director of the Grosvenor estate. She attended Barnet's Queen Elizabeth's Girls' Grammar School and later travelled to Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, France to study mime with Étienne Decroux, before attending Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
Her initial goal was to teach dance movement to deaf children, but she began a career in modelling and then began acting in television. Her first screen role was in the BBC series The Queen's Traitor in 1967, in which she played Mary, Queen of Scots. During an interview, thinking Barnet sounded uninteresting, she told a reporter from the Northern Echo she was born in Casablanca, where her favourite Bogart/Bergman film was set.
After many further guest appearances in television series such as The Saint, Callan, and UFO, Beacham's first film roles were in The Games directed by Michael Winner, and Tam Lin directed by Roddy McDowall, both released in 1970. She would work with Winner again in 1971's The Nightcomers, in which she starred opposite Marlon Brando. Beacham appeared nude in one scene, during the filming of which Brando wore Y-fronts and wellington boots under the bed clothes to ensure Winner did not film anything lower than was necessary. Horror would be a genre that Beacham appeared in often during this period, and she was subsequently cast as Jessica Van Helsing in Hammer's Dracula A.D. 1972 alongside Peter Cushing.
Beacham continued to appear in film, television and on stage. Her next role was as a repertory player with the Nottingham Playhouse, where she played several lead and feature roles, including the role of Nora in the Henrik Ibsen play A Doll's House. In 1973, she played Georgina Layton in Thames Television's daytime drama Marked Personal. The same year, she made an Italian film, Si può essere più bastardi dell'ispettore Cliff? The film was released in the US in 1977 as Mafia Junction and in the UK as Blue Movie Blackmail. It was later released on home video, now retitled as Super Bitch as the producers of the film attempted to capitalise on the success of the Joan Collins film The Bitch. Beacham also continued to work in horror films, including And Now the Screaming Starts (1973), House of Mortal Sin (1975), Schizo (1976) and Inseminoid (1981) – a film she admits taking for the fee.
From 1981–82, Beacham featured as a member of the ensemble cast of the BBC series Tenko, about a group of women prisoners of war held captive by the Japanese after their invasion of Singapore in 1942. Following this, she continued working in theatre and television before landing the lead role in the 13-part ITV drama series Connie (1985). Her roles in Tenko and Connie helped to springboard her into one of her most well-remembered roles, that of the devious matriarch Sable Colby on the television series The Colbys (1985–87). The Colbys was a spin-off of the opulent prime-time soap Dynasty which had been the highest rating programme in the USA that year. Beacham was cast opposite Charlton Heston as the tent-pole couple of the new show. The Colbys never experienced the success of its parent show and was cancelled after two seasons, though in 1988, Beacham was invited to reprise the role of Sable on Dynasty, playing opposite Joan Collins in a season-long "battle of the bitches" scenario.
After Dynasty was cancelled in 1989, Beacham landed the lead role in the children's fantasy film The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, playing an evil governess. She was then cast in the US sitcom Sister Kate, taking the lead role as a nun taking care of children in an orphanage. The series lasted for one season and was cancelled in 1990, though she earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. She then returned to Britain to play Mrs. Peacock in an ITV game show version of the board game Cluedo (1990). Reuniting with Dynasty producer Aaron Spelling, Beacham also had a recurring guest role in the popular teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210, playing Iris McKay, the estranged mother of Luke Perry's character Dylan. Beacham appeared in six different television series produced by Spelling, including Dynasty, The Colbys, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills, 90210, Burke's Law, and Charmed. In 1993, Beacham signed on to play Dr. Kristin Westphalen in the NBC science fiction series seaQuest DSV, produced by Steven Spielberg. Her character was the chief oceanographer and medical doctor for the submarine seaQuest, however Beacham left the programme after its first season. Throughout the 1990s, she continued to make guest appearances on television programmes, working in both the UK and the US. In 1996, she starred in the BBC drama No Bananas which was set during the war years.
In 2003, Beacham returned to the UK to take a role in the ITV prison drama Bad Girls. She played inmate Phyllida "Phyl" Oswyn for four years, partnered with Beverly "Bev" Tull (played by Amanda Barrie) as the "Costa Cons". She remained with the series to the end in 2006. She also appeared in the 2006 movie Love and Other Disasters. She returned to stage work and toured the UK in 2007 as a lead in the Noël Coward play Hay Fever. Later that year, she competed in the 2007 series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing with professional partner Vincent Simone, though she was eliminated early in the competition (the second of fourteen celebrities) on 14 October 2007.
On 27 November 2008, it was announced that Beacham had joined the cast of ITV's Coronation Street portraying Martha Fraser, a love interest for Ken Barlow (played by William Roache). She made her first appearance on 26 January 2009 and her last on 4 May 2009.
In 2012, Beacham reunited with her Dynasty co-star Joan Collins in a UK television advert for Snickers, however the ad was later re-edited and Beacham's appearance cut. She also appeared as store manager Lorraine Chain in Sky1's supermarket-based sitcom Trollied for eight episodes between August 2012 and October 2012. The same year, she also appeared in three episodes of Sky Living's Mount Pleasant as Aunty Pam.
In recent years, Beacham has appeared in Christmas pantomime. In 2006, she played the Wicked Witch in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Guildford. She appeared there again the following year in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
On 3 January 2010, Beacham entered Channel 4's seventh and final series of Celebrity Big Brother as a housemate; she was the only female to make it to the final and finished in 5th place on 29 January 2010.
Beacham was involved in launching the Sense-National Deafblind and Rubella Association Fill in the Gaps campaign which aims to give the elderly the support they need to maintain a good quality of life. She also attended the Parliamentary launch of the campaign in June 2006.
In September 2016 Beacham was a guest on BBC Radio 2's Graham Norton Show and discussed her forthcoming role as Princess Margaret. The new play, A Princess Undone by Richard Stirling, will premiere at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in October and is "set to scandalise admirers of the Royal family".
Beacham is partially deaf, having been born with no hearing in her right ear and 80% hearing in her left ear.
She married actor John McEnery in 1973; she became pregnant shortly after the wedding but suffered a miscarriage when she was 3 months pregnant because she fell. Beacham and McEnery separated in 1979 but stayed married for over another 10 years. They have two daughters, Phoebe (1974) and Chloe (1977). She dated Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1980s.
|1970||The Games||Angela Simmonds|
|1971||The Nightcomers||Miss Jessel|
|1972||Dracula A.D. 1972||Jessica Van Helsing|
|1972||The Aries Computer|
|1973||And Now the Screaming Starts!||Catherine Fengriffen|
|1975||House of Mortal Sin||Vanessa Welch|
|1989||Troop Beverly Hills||Vicki Sprantz|
|1989||The Wolves of Willoughby Chase||Letitia Slighcarp|
|1990||Harry and Harriet||Christine Petersen|
|1996||Wedding Bell Blues||Tanya's Mother|
|2002||Unconditional Love||Harriet Fox-Smith|
|2002||Would I Lie to You?||Amaelia|
|2006||Seven Days of Grace||Dana|
|2006||Love and Other Disasters||Felicity Riggs-Wentworth|
|2006||The Witches Hammer||Madeline|
|2007||Plot 7||Emma Osterman|
|1967||Out of Town Theatre||The Girl||1 episode "The Picnic"|
|1967||The Queen's Traitor||Mary Queen of Scots||TV Movie|
|1968||ITV Playhouse||Lisa Wendle||1 episode "Bon Voyage"|
|1968||The Saint||Penny||1 episode "Legacy for the Saint"|
|1968||The Jazz Age||Charlotte Tonn||1 episode "Black Exchange"|
|1969||Armchair Theatre||Linda||1 episode "On Vacation"|
|1969||Public Eye||Shirley Marlowe||1 episode "My Life's My Own"|
|1969||The Distracted Preacher||Lizzy Newberry||TV Movie|
|1970||Callan||Beth Lampton||1 episode "God Help Your Friends"|
|1970||Sentimental Education||Rosanette||1 episode "The Philanderer"|
|1970||UFO||Sarah Bosanquet||1 episode "Destruction"|
|1971–1972||ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Jenny Draper/Anna Trenton||2 episodes|
|1972||Jason King||Cora Simpson||1 episode "Chapter One: The Company I Keep"|
|1972||Man at the Top||Paula Fraser||2 episodes|
|1973||The Adventurer||Contessa Maria||1 episode "Icons Are Forever"|
|1973||The Protectors||Chrissie||1 episode "Your Witness"|
|1973||Special Branch||Sue Arden||1 episode "Threat"|
|1973||Jane Eyre||Blanche Ingram||1 episode "Part 3"|
|1973||Ego House||Adèle Hugo||TV Movie|
|1973–1974||Marked Personal||Georgina Layton||62 episodes|
|1975||Whodunnit?||Helen Brent||1 episode "Too Many Cooks"|
|1975||Prometheus: The Life of Balzac||Fanny Lovell||TV Mini-series|
|1976||Hadleigh||Susan Debray||1 episode "Film Story"|
|1976||Forget Me Not||Jeanne Teliot||1 episode "Rich"|
|1978||Rainbow||Special Guest Narrator||1 episode "Wild Animals"|
|1979||I vecchi e i giovani||Nicoletta||4 episodes|
|1981–1982||Tenko||Rose Millar||19 episodes|
|1984||Sorrell and Son||Florence Palfrey||1 episode|
|1984||Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense||Rosemary Richardson||1 episode "A Distant Scream"|
|1985–1987||The Colbys||Sable Scott Colby||49 episodes|
|1985; 1988–1989||Dynasty||Sable Colby||Guest Role (Season 6), Main Role (Season 9) 23 episodes|
|1986||The Love Boat||Elaine Riskin||1 episode "The Shipshape Cruise"|
|1987||Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story||Therese Tallien||3 episodes|
|1988||French and Saunders||Doreena Petherbridge||1 episode|
|1989–1990||Sister Kate||Sister Katherine 'Kate' Lambert||19 episodes|
|1990||Cluedo||Mrs. Peacock||6 episodes|
|1990||Lucky/Chances||Susan Martino Santangelo||TV Mini-series|
|1990||The Lilac Bus||Judy||TV Movie|
|1991; 1993–1994||Beverly Hills, 90210||Iris McKay||8 episodes|
|1992||Secrets||Sabina Quarles||TV Movie|
|1992||To Be The Best||Arabella||TV Movie|
|1993||Star Trek: The Next Generation||Countess Bartholomew||1 episode "Ship in a Bottle"|
|1993||Foreign Affairs||Rosemary Radley||TV Movie|
|1993||Riders||Molly Carter||TV Movie|
|1993||Blossom||Mrs. Robinson||1 episode "Hunger"|
|1993–1994||seaQuest DSV||Dr. Kristin Westphalen||23 episodes|
|1994||Burke's Law||Victoria Lancer||1 episode "Who Killed Skippy's Master?"|
|1994||A Change of Place||Marie||TV Movie|
|1995||Legend||Vera Slaughter||1 episode "Birth of a Legend"|
|1995||High Society||Stella, the acting coach||1 episode "We Ought to Be in Pictures"|
|1996||No Bananas||Dorothea Grant||10 episodes|
|2000||Charmed||Martha van Lewen||1 episode "Reckless Abandon"|
|2002||Having It Off||Vernice Green||1 episode "Perms of Endearment"|
|2003–2006||Bad Girls||Phyllida Oswyn||Seasons 5–8 • 40 episodes|
|2006||New Tricks||Rhoda Wishaw||1 episode "Wicca Work"|
|2007||Strictly Come Dancing||Herself||Voted out on 2nd week|
|2009||Free Agents||Wendy||1 episode|
|2009||Coronation Street||Martha Fraser||21 episodes|
|2010||Celebrity Big Brother||Herself||Left in 5th place in the final|
|2010||Material Girl||Sylvie Montrose||1 episode|
|2010||Casualty||Monica Shapiro||1 episode "Love of a Good Man"|
|2012||Mount Pleasant||Aunty Pam||3 episodes|
|2012||Trollied||Lorraine||Main role • Season 2 • 8 episodes|
|2013||Death in Paradise||Nicole Seymour||1 episode|
|2018||The Real Marigold Hotel||Herself|
|1986||Soap Opera Digest Award||The Colbys||Outstanding Villainess on a Prime Time Serial||Nominated|
|1988||Soap Opera Digest Award||The Colbys||Outstanding Villainess: Prime Time||Nominated|
|1990||Soap Opera Digest Award||Dynasty||Outstanding Lead Actress: Prime Time||Nominated|
|1990||Golden Globe Award||Sister Kate||Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
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