One of Great Britain's most popular film stars during the 1930s and a major figure in the history of English popular culture. Beginning as a music hall entertainer, Fields had already achieved considerable popularity when she entered films in 1931. With her boundless optimism, hearty Lancashire humor and inimitable singing voice, Fields practically became a national heroine as her proletariat "Miss Fix-it" persona kept an entire nation cheerful through the worst days of the Depression. Her first film, "Sally in Our Alley" (1931), and particularly "Sing as We Go" (1934), which would later become the title of her autobiography, are her best-known films, but such other films as "Looking on the Bright Side" (1932), "The Show Goes On" (1937) and "Shipyard Sally" (1939) have more than their fair share of delightful and amusing moments.
Fields moved to Hollywood in the middle of WWII and made several films for Twentieth Century-Fox. More matronly than before, she was also somewhat prettified by the Hollywood system, which lightened her hair and glamorized her photography. Although some critics preferred her more plain-Jane days, Fields' first US film in particular, "Holy Matrimony" (1943), basked in the warmth which had made her best British efforts so special. She continued performing the many rousing songs associated with her career for some years after WWII, and was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire shortly before her death.