Carole Joan White (1 April 1943 – 16 September 1991) was an English actress.
She achieved a public profile with her performances in the television play Cathy Come Home (1966) and the films Poor Cow (1967) and I'll Never Forget What's 'isname (1967), and by the end of the 1960s, was hailed as "The Next Julie Christie." However, alcoholism and drug abuse damaged her career, and from the early 1970s she worked infrequently.
White, the daughter of a scrap merchant, was born in Hammersmith, London, on 1 April 1943. She attended the Corona Stage Academy.
White played minor roles in films from 1949 until the late 1950s, when she began to play more substantial supporting roles in films such as Carry on Teacher (1959) and Never Let Go (1960) in which she played the girlfriend of Peter Sellers. She also acted the part of Evelyn May, a "girl in the bar" and court witness in Sidney J Furie's The Boys (1962).
After marrying, she became disenchanted with acting due to the quality of her roles. She moved back to her home borough of Hammersmith to settle down to married life. Growing bored with married life, White began to audition for roles again, and was cast in the television version of Nell Dunn's Up the Junction (1965) by director Ken Loach. She followed this up with two other Wednesday Plays for Loach, The Coming Out Party (1965) and Cathy Come Home (1966), which made her a TV star in the UK.
She followed this success with the lead in Ken Loach's film Poor Cow (1967), based on another Nell Dunn book, which brought her international renown. She also appeared in I'll Never Forget What's'isname with Oliver Reed in 1967, by which time her career was approaching its apogee. (1967) White followed this up by co-starring opposite Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde and Ian Holm in Hollywood A list director John Frankenheimer's film adaptation of Bernard Malamud's The Fixer (1968), which was a critical success, bringing Bates an Oscar nomination.
Subsequently, she traveled to Hollywood in 1968 to make Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1969). Her career started to cool off by the time she appeared in director Andrew V. McLaglen's western comedy, Something Big (1971), which starred Dean Martin at the time his star was going into eclipse. She had major roles in Dulcima, alongside John Mills and Stuart Wilson (1971), and Made (1972), with the singer Roy Harper.
During the late 1960s, White was considered one of the most promising actresses in British cinema, but her alcoholism and substance abuse, as well as unhappy relationships with male stars[clarification needed Professional or romantic relationships?] such as Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Oliver Reed and Paul Burke, hindered her career.[citation needed ] She did, however, have a prominent role as a hostage in The Squeeze (1977).
After living in Hollywood for several years, White returned to London to star in Nell Dunn's play Steaming at the Comedy Theatre in the West End, and filmed Nutcracker at the same time. Despite receiving excellent reviews for Steaming, she was often late, missed performances, and was finally sacked.[citation needed ]
In 1982, a biography, Carol Comes Home, by Clifford Thurlow, was published. Although White received publicity for the play and the biography, she was unable to revive her career. She returned to the United States, where she lived the rest of her life.
White dated Terence Stamp, who also had been involved with Julie Christie, the actress she was most compared to. Stamp introduced her to Lionel Bart, who introduced her to her future husband Michael King, of The King Brothers pop group. They settled down in Hammersmith, where she had been born, and raised their two children, Sean and Stephen. Bored with married life, she began to audition for roles again, and achieved success in the works of Ken Loach.
White died in 1991 in Florida, at the age of 48. The cause of her death is disputed, with some sources claiming she took a drug overdose, and others (The Sunday Times in 1991 and Upton writing in 2004) suggesting she succumbed to liver disease from chronic alcoholism. She had two sons from her first marriage.
A television film of her life, The Battersea Bardot, was shown in 1994, with White portrayed by Wendy Morgan.
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