She was cast in her debut part in 1947, and during the height of her career, she was named the sexiest lady on British television.
Felicity Kendal, who starred in The Good Life, now leads a different life, and she has been the subject of several rumors for years.
The 76-year-old singer continues to wow us, and many of her most recent confessions are rather moving despite having lived with grief, shattered romances, fatal diseases, and frightening stalkers.
Felicity Kendal is a renowned actress who may not be well-known to you, but in the UK, she is a TV and theater legend best known for the BBC series The Good Life.
But regardless of whether you’ve heard of her or not, her life story is interesting and filled with amazing facts.
A glimpse into Kendal’s life provides an understanding of her two weaknesses, men and wine, as well as her world of infidelity and botox.
Felicity Kendal entered the world in September 1946, not long after World War II came to a conclusion. She spent her early years in Birmingham and was born with acting in her blood. Geoffrey, her father, was a manager and actor. Jennifer, Felicity’s sister, was also an actress, but her life would eventually take a sad turn that would have a lasting impact on Felicity.
Felicity’s family relocated to India when she was seven.
The British had ruled India for 200 years, but India had just gained its independence when Felicity arrived in the country. Her bohemian childhood in the Far East would make an everlasting impression on the actress.
”I wasn’t a girlie girl. I climbed trees and played with boys or the goats in the yard. Dressing up for me wasn’t a fun thing: it was simply what I did as a child actor in my parents’ touring theatre company in India,” Felicity mentioned.
Her father, Geoffrey, saw business opportunities in India, and he led his own repertoire company around the vast country. The ensemble would perform Shakespeare for royalties one day, and the next, they would set up a play in the desolate countryside, entertaining poor farmers.
The family was always traveling, and Felicity went to six different schools during her upbringing.
”When we weren’t performing we were travelling: long, tiring journeys the length and breadth of India on trains and buses, on which the routine never varied,” Felicity said in 2012.
But in a nation where chaos and order coexisted, Felicity and her family did not have an easy life in India. When Felicity, a 17-year-old, developed typhoid disease in Calcutta, things appeared to be very bad.
About 10 to 30 percent of all instances of the extremely contagious and deadly infection result in death, although relatively few do so if you receive modern therapy. But Felicity claimed that getting typhoid in the early 1960s was the “closest” thing to death she had ever experienced.
Road to fame
Felicity made her stage debut in India when she was only nine months old – but it would take until 1975 before she would get her big break.
She catapulted into stardom when she starred as Barbara Goode on the hugely popular BBC sitcom The Good Life. The first episode aired in 1975 and Felicity was 29 years old when the series exploded in popularity. Her character, Barbara Good, was a middle-class housewife living together with her husband Tom, played by Richard Briers.
The series centers around Barbara and Tom, a middle-class couple trying to escape the rat race of life and their attempt to “become totally self-sufficient.” The suburban couple decides to live off the grid, living with chickens, pigs, goats, and homegrown vegetables.
Although all the actors in the series were unknown at the start of the sitcom, The Good Life became a great success. It has been voted one of the best sitcoms ever in the UK and has been described as a ”landmark light entertainment.” According to Felicity, her character Barbara won the hearts of the audience for several reasons. The actress star claimed that she hit the British ”national psyche” with her loyal, cheerful, and sexy bearing.
The series aired on PBS in the US, under the name Good Neighbors. The series premiered in the 1980s but never reached the same popularity as in Britain.
Felicity’s darker side
In real life, Felicity Kendal was pretty far from the doting housewife Barbara Good. While the beautiful actress reached stardom with The Good Life, things crackled behind the scenes. Her marriage to her first husband, the English actor Drewe Henley, was in bad shape.
”It was really hard doing The Good Life while my first marriage was disintegrating. The show was the very opposite of what was going on in my home life,” Felicity confessed.
In 2013, the Good Life actress talked about her ”dark side” – a characteristic far from her famous housewife character in the 70s sitcom.
“I always did have affairs when I wanted,” she explained:
“It’s just how you are at the moment. Look, the aura of sweetness and light associated with Barbara Good has got b****r all to do with my life.”
Twice in her life, Felicity Kendal has been married and divorced.
She anticipated a successful future with the renowned British actor when she wed Drew Henley in 1968. Charley, a son they had together, went on to become a well-known special effects technician. In addition to his work on Prometheus, Charley has contributed to Gladiator, the Harry Potter films, and the 85th Academy Awards.
Felicity’s marriage with Drew ended in 1979 and in hindsight, Felicity felt sorry for her first husband.
”I gave him a hard time,” she said.
Four years after divorcing Drew, she walked down the aisle with her new husband, US theatre director Michael Rudman.
Before tying the knot in 1983, she had converted to Judaism. Some claimed it was Rudman who forced her into converting, but the actress denied it.
“My parents were converts to Catholicism and I have great respect for that religion,” she explained.
“But I was drawn to Judaism partly because of what I missed about India. When I came here to England there was something, I don’t know, lacking, something about life that did not have the openness, hospitality, and warmth I had found in India.”
The couple had one son, Jacob.
“Jacob, my second son, has had the most complete Jewish upbringing. I just know he will carry it on through his life. And I have the sense that it will go on and on down the generation,” Felicity said.
In 1990, Felicity parted with Michael Rudman and embarked on a high-profile romance with Sir Tom Stoppard, a famous playwright.
When her acting career blossomed during the 80s and 90s, Felicity formed a close bond with Tom Stoppard. Felicity starred in many of his productions, but the partnership soon developed into love.
However, the actress claimed that she never cheated on Rudman.
”I didn’t ever have affairs. I just went from one person to another, maybe overlapping a little bit,” she said in 2019.
In 1998, the story of Felicity’s love life took a new turn when she reunited with her former husband, Michael Rudman. The couple apparently fell in love again, but they never remarried.
”Michael is the big love of my life. We have a history together: going through a divorce is like going through a tragedy and if you come out the other side it really does bind you together,” the screen legend says.
Sister’s tragic death
Felicity has valued her family and traditional family values ever since she was a young child in India. She shared a close bond with both her sister Jennifer and father.
The actress Jennifer Kendal was born in 1934. She assisted in raising her younger sister, and the two developed a strong bond.”My sister Jennifer’s love for me was always maternal. There was a 13-year age gap, so sibling rivalry didn’t exist,” Felicity said.
Unfortunately, Jennifer was taken away from her family, at only 51 years old. After being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 1982, she died in 1984.
“These days, we are so much more open about serious illness and death. Back then it was almost seen as an embarrassment. I was with Jennifer when she was diagnosed and told her cancer was likely to be fatal. The doctor couldn’t even meet her eyes,” Felicity said in 2009.
Felicity Kendal botox
Today, Felicity Kendal is 76, and she is still active as an actress and she has no plans of retiring.
She looks far younger than her 76 years, but the acting star puts a lot of energy and effort into maintaining her youthful expression.
In amagazine interview, she said: “I work out three times a week, a mixture of stretching, yoga, and weights. I’ve also mastered press-ups. I’m so pleased. Now, if I could only stand on my head.”
Felicity has acknowledged using Botox to minimize facial wrinkles, though. But she claims that the only procedure on the table is Botox because she has never had a facelift or any other big surgery.
Overall, Felicity is content with how she looks and doesn’t back down when discussing aging.
“There was a time when you’d think, I’m over 60, I can not possibly wear a short skirt again because of my crinkly knees.
“Then you come out the other end and say, f *** it, I’ve got good legs, I’m going to put on tights and a short skirt.”
Do you have any memories from Felicity Kendal, or do you remember the TV series that made one famous? I am happy that she continues to work as an actress, and she also seems to have a fantastic attitude towards aging.