Cleo LAINE (1927-)

Cleo Laine
related pages...

All That Jazz

Covering all the notes with the subjects associated with jazz


Family Life

Keeping it in the family

THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Cleo Laine, actress and jazz singer, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre during a performance with her husband, Johnny Dankworth and his band.


Cleo began her singing career in dance halls in the early 1950s, but her real break came when she auditioned for the hugely successful band led by acclaimed musician John Dankworth. Cleo toured extensively with the band and in 1958 she married Dankworth, strengthening their bond as personal and professional collaborators.


In addition to their concert appearances and recordings, Cleo also carved a niche as an illustrious actress, making her legitimate theatre debut in London when she starred in Flesh to a Tiger, directed by Tony Richardson at the Royal Court Theatre.


“Oh God!”

Screenshots of Cleo Laine This Is Your Life (click images to enlarge)

Cleo Laine's autobiography

Cleo briefly recalls her experience of This Is Your Life in her autobiography Cleo, reproduced here with kind permission of the author...


Round about the end of June I was pregnant - and overjoyed. It didn't stop me from performing, continuing up to a few weeks before my daughter was born.


I was three or four months pregnant when I became the subject of a dreadful This Is Your Life that the BBC perpetrated on me.


The researcher must have had a bad day, when assigned the job. None of my family were invited on, no musicians from the days of The Seven; they just about squeezed John in at the end, and there were many guests who had nothing at all to do with me or my life. I did a lot of play-acting that night.

programme details...

  • Edition No: 199
  • Subject No: 200
  • Broadcast date: Tue 23 Oct 1962
  • Broadcast time: 7.55-8.25pm
  • Recorded: Mon 10 Sep 1962 8.30-9.15pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 8
  • Edition: 4

on the guest list...

  • Johnny Dankworth
  • Johnson Haigh
  • Ernest Mills
  • Eric Cluer
  • Mrs Hadley
  • John Basman
  • Patrick Fulman
  • Ronald Duncan
  • Doris Hare
  • Gerald Lascelles
  • Sabu
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Roy Castle
  • Sheila Hancock

external links...

production team...

  • Researchers: Nickola Sterne, John Dalzell
  • Writer: Nickola Sterne
  • Director: Yvonne Littlewood
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 8 subjects: Rupert Davies > Kenneth Revis > Sydney MacEwan > Cleo Laine > Arthur Baldwin > Edith Sitwell > Ben Fuller > Robert Henry MacIntosh > Mabel Lethbridge > Stephen Behan > Ruby Miller > Richard Attenborough > Daniel Kirkpatrick > Michael Wilson > Dick Hoskin > James Carroll > Uffa Fox > George Thomas Cummins > Hattie Jacques > Samuel Ironmonger Derry > Finlay Currie > Phyllis Lumley > Ben Lyon > Bertie Tibble > Zena Dare > Victor Willcox > Learie Constantine > Phyllis Holman Richards > Michael Bentine > Joe Loss > Gladys Aylward