: I had not expected to end up on my own in a small rented flat. [After 50 years in show business and in reference to her flat in Kensington]
Irene Joan Marion Sims was an English actress remembered for her roles in the Carry On films.
Her father was a station master and she spent much of her childhood entertaining passengers with impromptu stage routines on the station platform and befriending any poor soul who missed their train and became stranded there. Such diversions sparked an interest in pursuing showbusiness and Joan soon became a familiar face in a growing number of amateur productions.
Simms first starred in Carry On Nurse, then Carry On Teacher, followed by Carry On Constable and Carry On Regardless, and this sealed her future as a regular Carry On performer. Following a bout of ill health, Dilys Laye had to be brought in to take her place in Carry On Cruising at very short notice; however, Sims rejoined the team with Carry On Cleo.]
Sims's characters evolved from objects of desire in the early films to frumpy, nagging wives in the later ones, epitomised by the Emily Bung role in Carry On Screaming. Following the success of Carry On Cleo, she stayed with the films all the way through to the final one in the original series, Carry On Emmannuelle.
Sims appeared in 24 Carry On films in all; she did not return for the one-off revival film, Carry On Columbus (1992).
Sims, like her fellow Carry On star Kenneth Williams, never married. Williams, who was homosexual, did, however, propose a marriage of convenience to her, which she promptly declined. From 1958, she lived for three years with fellow actor Tony Baird but, every time her parents visited, she asked Baird to remove all of his belongings from their London flat.
After she told her mother on a visit that she was living with Baird, her father wrote her a stern letter, condemning the relationship. Sims replied, telling her parents that they had to come to terms with Tony being an extremely important part of her life. For the next six months she had no contact with her parents. Sims was a devoted daughter and found the separation from her parents difficult.