Pauline Collins

Actor, Teacher
This lovely British actress with china-blue eyes and a childlike smile is best-known in the USA for her role as the feisty Sarah in the TV series "Upstairs Downstairs", but has since played other widely-praised roles ... Read more »
Born: 09/02/1940 in Devon, England, GB


Actor (15)

Lust 2014 (Movie)


Quartet 2012 (Movie)

Cissy Robson (Actor)

Albert Nobbs 2011 (Movie)

Mrs. Baker (Actor)

Merlin 2011 (Tv Show)


You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2010 (Movie)

Cristal (Actor)

Doctor Who 2006 (Tv Show)


Mrs. Caldicot's Cabbage War 2003 (Movie)

Thelma Caldicot (Actor)

My Mother's Courage 1997 (Movie)

Elsa Tabori (Actor)

Paradise Road 1997 (Movie)

Margaret Drummond (Actor)

City of Joy 1992 (Movie)

Joan Bethal (Actor)

Shirley Valentine 1989 (Movie)

Shirley Valentine (Actor)

No, Honestly 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)


Upstairs, Downstairs 1974 (TV Show)


Bleak House (TV Show)


The Black Tower (TV Show)



This lovely British actress with china-blue eyes and a childlike smile is best-known in the USA for her role as the feisty Sarah in the TV series "Upstairs Downstairs", but has since played other widely-praised roles. Raised near Liverpool, Collins was a teacher until 1962, when she began to act part-time. She made her West End debut in "Passion Flower Hotel" in 1965, and spent the next few years building her reputation as a stage actress in many London (and touring) productions.

Collins didn't become an international star until 1970, when she appeared as the charming, saucy maid Sarah in the first season of London Weekend Television's classic "Upstairs Downstairs" (debuting in the US on PBS in 1974). Her ability to switch from boisterous comedy to stark tragedy made her the hit of the series. Collins' husband (since 1969), John Alderton, appeared on that show, and the two were also featured on such British series as "Thomas and Sarah" (an ill- advised "Upstairs Downstairs" spin-off), "Forever Green", the popular "No--Honestly" and the amusingly fey "Wodehouse Playhouse". Sans Alderton, Collins was seen in "Country Matters" (shown on PBS in 1979) and "The Black Tower" (shown on PBS in 1988).

The second blossoming of Collins' career came in 1988 with a starring role in "Shirley Valentine", a one-woman show about a discontented, middle-aged housewife. Winning a Laurence Olivier Award, Collins brought the show to Broadway, where she won several more awards (including a Tony) in 1989. She reprised the role later that same year in the feature version of "Shirley Valentine", which had been expanded from its monologue format. She followed with a co- starring role opposite Patrick Swayze in Roland Jaffe's "City of Joy" (1992) as the operator of a dispensary in Calcutta, India. Collins ventured to Germany to film "My Mother's Courage" (1995, released in the USA in 1997), a concentration camp drama in which she protrayed writer George Tabori's mother. More recently, she was one of the European women detained in a prison camp in Malaysia in Bruce Beresford's "Paradise Road" (1997).



Born 1964; father, Tony Rohr; given up for adoption; later worked as teacher in Japan

John Alderton Actor

Married 1969 Acted together on "Upstairs, Downstairs" (ITV)

Kate Alderton

Father, John Alderton

Nicholas Alderton

Father, John Alderton

Richard Alderton

Father, John Alderton

William Collins


Mary Collins


Elaine Reid



Convent of the Sacred Heart

Central School of Speech and Drama

London , England



Played a retired opera singer opposite Tom Courtenay, Maggie Smith, and Billy Connolly in "Quartet," Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut


Cast as hotel owner Margaret Baker in "Albert Nobbs," starring Glenn Close


Appeared in Woody Allen directed romantic comedy "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"


Guest starred as Queen Victoria on "Doctor Who" (BBC)


Featured in BBC drama miniseries "Bleak House"


Played one of the women detained in a Malaysian prison camp opposite Glenn Close and Frances McDormand in "Paradise Road"


Played the real-life mother of writer George Tabori, a Jewish woman who had escaped from the Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII in "My Mother's Courage"


Appeared in support of Patrick Swayze in "City of Joy"


Broadway debut, "Shirley Valentine"; won Tony Award for one-person show


Made feature film debut recreating her stage role in "Shirley Valentine"; received Oscar nomination as Best Actress


Reprised role on "Upstairs, Downstairs" spin-off series "Thomas and Sarah" (ITV)


Landed breakthrough role as the maid Sarah on ITV's "Upstairs, Downstairs"


London stage debut, "Passion Flower Hotel"


Made stage debut at Windsor in "A Gazelle in Park Lane"

Raised in Liverpool, England

Bonus Trivia


"I always work instinctively. It's like putting a sweater on...I never analyze anything too much when I do it, because I think the playwright has provided a voice for the character and you, the actor, are the channel." – Collins quoted in TheaterWeek, Feb. 20, 1989


Collins was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 2001.