Born Yootha Joyce Needham in Wandsworth, South London, on the 20th August 1927 , her Father was bass baritone, Hurst Needham and Mother Jessica Revitt a performance pianist and vocalist.
She made her first appearance on the big screen in the 1962 Joan Littlewood Workshop production, ‘Sparrows Can't Sing’ written by Stephen Lewis, famous for playing ‘Blakey’ in the London Weekend Sitcom. ‘On the Buses’ also in the film was Brian Murphy and Roy Kinnear, and her husband, at the time, Glynn
Edwards, later famous for playing ‘Dave’ the barman in ‘Thames Televisions’ comedy Drama ‘Minder’
Between 1962 and 1973 she guest starred in several television series including 'On The Buses', 'Steptoe and Son', 'The Fenn Street Gang', 'The Saint' ,'The Avengers' and 'Jason King', in addition to
co-starring in 'Me Mammy', a British sitcom that was broadcast on BBC1 between1968 to 1971, it starred Milo O'Shea, and was penned by Hugh Leonard.
This series made Yootha a household name.
Her subsequent big screen roles included’ ‘A Man For All
Seasons’,‘The Pumpkin Eater’, ‘Charlie Bubbles’, ‘Fanatic, Kaleidoscope’ and’ Our Mother's House’.
Nevertheless, it was in 1973 she was selected for a role which would transform her life forever. That role was playing a character called ‘Mildred
Roper’, which she totally made her own. The sitcom made by Thames Television was ’ Man About The
House’. written by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer .
She Played the the social aspiring wife to her much put upon, if not somewhat idle, husband ‘George’ played by former Joan Littlewood Workshop friend and colleague, Brian Murphy.
On our screens for six popular series, in all 39 episodes together with a 1974 spin-off movie.
In 1976 the ‘Ropers’ were given their own series, simply called ‘George and Mildred’.
From its beginnings in 1976 to its final 38th
Episode broadcast at Christmas 1979 it was seldom out of the top 5 popular programmes.
A movie spin off was also made in 1980.
Shortly after making the film, Yootha was taken gravely ill, at the same time preparations were in progress for what would have been the
final television series of ‘George and Mildred’, she spent 18 days in hospital before tragically passing away on the 24th August 1980.
She made her final television appearance, which was shown posthumously, on ‘Max’, the Max Bygraves variety show, on 14th January 1981. She sang The Carpenters song, "For All We Know". She told Bygraves, at the finish of her performance, "Thanks, I enjoyed that." Kenneth Williams wrote, of that performance, in his diary that ...she looked as though she was crying... and in a in a later diary entry he commented that she was "a lady who made so many people happy and a lady who never complained"