The Entertainer and Alfie actress Shirley Anne Field dies aged 87

The Entertainer and Alfie actress Shirley Anne Field dies aged 87​

The Entertainer and Alfie actress Shirley Anne Field dies aged 87

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 11/12/2023

- 17:33

Updated: 12/12/2023

- 07:10

The star of stage and screen passed away over the weekend surrounded by her family

Actress Shirley Anne Field, who starred in The Entertainer and Alfie, has died at the age of 87.

Her family has released a statement paying tribute to her "unbreakable spirit".

A statement from her family said: "It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news that Shirley Anne Field passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 10 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."

Actress Shirley Anne Field, October 28th 1958

Actress Shirley Anne Field, October 28th 1958


She also starred in Doctors, Last Of The Summer Wine, The Bill and Dalziel And Pascoe.

Field first found fame as a model in the 1950s but rose to prominence as Tina Lapford in The Entertainer alongside Laurence Olivier.

She went on to star as Albert Finney's on-screen girlfriend Doreen in cult new wave film Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, and as Carla in Alfie opposite Michael Caine.

Born in Forest Gate, Newham, on June 27 1936, she was originally known as "Shirley Broomfield". When she was five, she was moved to a Bolton orphanage when her East London home was bombed during the Second World War.


Shirley Anne Field

Shirley Anne Field alongside Albert Finney and Alan Silitoe in 1960


Her sister Sonny was married four times by the age of 34 and had six children before she died of cancer. Shirley didn't meet her other sibling, Joy, until she was in her 30s.

Meanwhile, her mother had disappeared into southern America, where she married a South American serviceman, a fact that Shirley only discovered all this much later in life.

After leaving the orphanage at 15, she made her way back to London and worked for the Gas Board typing pool where she was "bored silly".

However, when she was spotted by a photographer and took up modelling, she became famed for her natural beauty, her photos appeared in the likes of Reveille and Titbits magazine and was crowned "Miss London".

Shirley Anne Field

Shirley Anne Field in 2004


By the mid 60s she had established her name in the film world.

She starred in Man In The Moon with Kenneth More, Kings of the Sun alongside Yul Brynner, and The War Lover with Steve McQueen.

Despite this, her motivation was never about become a film icon. She said: "It was always about hoping my mother would come and get me. But there I was, all over the place, and she didn't see it."

Shirley finally met her mother, and her extended family, in 1978.

You may like