Not to be confused with Janet Webb who was famous for
appearing at the end of The Morecambe
& Wise Show where she would come out and say ''I'd like to thank all
of you for watching me and my little show here tonight. If you've enjoyed it,
then it's all been worthwhile. So, until we meet again, good night, and I love
Rita Webb was a comedy actress who was constantly on our television screens during the 1950's to the end of the 1970’s.
You may not have known her name, but you will recognise her face and voice.
With her ear piercing shriek and her coloured flame-red hair, she was often cast as the embarrassing wife or the stereotypical Cockney character.
It’s been a pleasure to watch her again on ‘The Arthur Haynes Shows’ which have been recently released on DVD.
Rita's first part in TV was in a play called ‘’War on Crime - Burn The Evidence", which was broadcast live on the BBC on August 7th 1950 at 8.45pm.
After that she gradually began to get more work, the actress Sandra Dorne arranged for a meeting with the producer of a film she was working on entitled "Hindle Wakes".
She subsequently got the role as the landlady ‘Mrs Slaughter’ and she was paid £25 a week! She also blagged a part in ‘Moulin Rouge’ after being encouraged by Sandra Dorne to contact the studio and request to speak to John Huston, the Director, although the part turned out to be non-speaking.
Her TV appearances were becoming more frequent every year. In 1955, ITV started its service, which of course lead to more job prospects.
Although never top of the bill, this type of work was idea for bit part players like Rita Webb it’s what Rita perfered to do, and when it came for the part of an ‘ugly old hag’ Rita was your women..
By and large TV would continue to be her most well-paid medium, although now and again she would appear in Film, Radio and Theatre production, working with the like of "Sidney Poitier", "Elizabeth Taylor", "Gary Cooper" and "James Mason."
Sadly she was never asked to join the Carry-On Team" in any of their many films. Although she had worked with many of the "Team" on an individual basis, she undoubtedly would have been an tremendous and highly entertaining addition to the regulars.
Personally whenever she appeared it would always bring a
smile to my face.
No sitcom of the 1960's or 70's was complete without Rita.
Her last advert in "Spotlight", the professional actors directory, she decided not to list her acting credits, which was customary, instead writing "If you don't know me, you must be a native of another land, whereupon I will come and see you, should you so desire".
Rita Webb was admitted to The Samaritans women's hospital in Westminster, and was diagnosed with having cancer. Rita died on Sunday 30th August 1981 and her funeral was held at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, known as 'The Actor's Church, where she was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance. She was survived by Jeffie, her brother, Henry, and Henry's three children, whom she had regarded as her own.
For loads more information about Rita, her life and career visit: