An actress who starred in one of the most famous films of all-time has recently moved to a town near Aylesbury.
Edwina Carroll, who starred in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking sci-fi epic, has now moved to nearby Amersham.
Carroll who was also a professional model, has bought a new apartment at McCarthy Stone’s Chiltern Place Retirement Living Plus development.
Edwina explained how she was invited into the glamourous world of Hollywood, the former actor said: “My entry into the world of stage and screen ‘just happened.
“I was spotted in the mid-1950s. Someone said to me that I should get over to Drury Lane as they were auditioning for The King and I. Well that particular role wasn’t meant to be, but I ended up being cast in The Teahouse of the August Moon, which ran at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London for 964 performances. The rest, as they say, is history.
“It was a great period in my life and I shared a flat with the wonderful actor and dancer Jacqui Chan who was also in the production. We were both aspiring actors with very little money but we used to laugh so much, I have such fond memories of our time together.
"I attended acting and dancing classes and also picked up quite a lot of modelling jobs. One thing simply led to another. I consider myself very lucky as regular work came in, without me having to try too hard. Of course, the world of acting and modelling was so innocent compared to what it is now."
Growing up in Oxford, Edwina had originally set her sights on a place at art school, while her mother had insisted she go to secretarial school - neither was meant to be and fate seemed to play its part in dictating the future star’s destiny.
Edwina’s acting career took her to London, just ahead of the swinging 60s, she said: “I got married in 1960 and we lived just off the Kings Road in Chelsea. My husband was a music
producer and was working with lots of up-and-coming artists, it was a very exciting time.
"The Kings Road really was the place to be back then, particularly on a Saturday night – I used to love seeing everyone dressed up.
“I was landing parts in films – some ridiculous ones when I look back, such as Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s and Carry on up the Jungle! But it was great fun and I got paid for it. I was also getting booked for lots of modelling jobs at that time too - being considered as a ‘versatile’ model meant.
"I was lucky enough to shoot campaigns which were seen all over the world. I could be shooting an advert for one of the Arab countries in the morning and then in the afternoon being photographed for a Chinese brand, no one day was the same.”
Unsurprisingly, Edwina sees working in one of the most revered films ever as the pinnacle of her career, she said: “My career highlight has to be working on Space Odyssey 2001, which was produced and directed by the immensely talented Stanley Kubrick.
"I met the most interesting people on set including scientists from NASA, who had come over to the UK to advise on some of the concepts in the film. I remember going out for dinner with them and I sat mesmerised and completely captivated by their knowledge. They were absolutely fascinating.
“Having the opportunity to work with such a well-respected director like Kubrick was just amazing. He knew absolutely everything about the production including what everyone’s job roles were, he was such a talent.
"All the cast and crew were pretty fearful of getting anything wrong as they wanted to impress. I remember having to walk in the rain from my dressing room to the set which was quite
"When Stanley found out about this he immediately arranged a portable dressing room to be put near the set so I wouldn’t get cold or wet and could quickly and comfortably get to where I needed to be. He was so kind and so considerate as well as being a true genius.”
When the acting roles dried up Edwina turned her hand to the boutique industry, successfully running her own store in London. Edwina explained: “It all happened really quickly and I was given the chance to take on a shop in Covent Garden.
“Always ready for a new challenge, I decided to go for it! The shop was called Edwina Carroll and I sold jewellery, clothing, artwork along with other items – all from British designers. We have such a lot of home grown talent here in the UK which I’ve long been passionate about so I was delighted to be able to support them.
“It was a really exciting time, but I worked such long hours, day after day. I would source like mad, travelling across the country on buying trips then coming home in the middle of the night and dressing the windows.
"Although I was working around the clock and my social life took a nosedive, I actually ended up running the business for 15 years before I made the decision to retire and enjoy some much-deserved time for myself.”
Edwina was enjoying her retirement years in a three-storey townhouse in Barnes when she made the choice to swap the bright lights of London for a move to Amersham.
She said: “It was a period of ill health which prompted my move out of the city.
“I have a very good friend - Rebecca - who lives in Amersham. She often visited and was worried about me on my own in London while I was unwell. She mentioned that there was a McCarthy Stone development being built in Amersham so I went to take a look at it – from the moment I arrived I was totally amazed, it was beautiful and had such a warm and wonderful atmosphere with stunning grounds. I knew instantly that I could feel at home there.
“Initially I was nervous about moving to Chiltern Place as I’m fiercely independent and thought it might be like a care home, but it’s not like that at all. I live in my own beautiful apartment and can be as independent as I choose while having the peace of mind that I’m safe and help is at hand should I need it.
“The other homeowners are all very nice and the dining room is a really social place where we tend to get together over lunch, prepared by our lovely chef Rose. We recently had a dinner party where everyone got dressed up and there was a live singer, it was great fun and the wine was definitely flowing!
"Each Friday there’s a drinks party in the communal lounge where we take our favourite tipple - I always take sherry! It’s a lovely chance to chat to like-minded people and share our
experiences and memories.
“There are times when I like to close my front door and enjoy my own company but if staff haven’t seen me for a while they always pop round and check I’m ok. They’re so kind and caring and go above and beyond for everyone who lives here, our health and happiness is so important to them.
"I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful place to live and feel so lucky to be able to call this brilliant place my home.”
Looking to the future, Edwina hopes to travel more and is determined to continue the free and spirited life which she’s always enjoyed: “There are still places I want to see, I might just close my eyes, spin a globe and see where my finger lands,” she laughs.
McCarthy Stone’s Retirement Living Plus developments are designed exclusively for the over 70s and provide the opportunity to maintain an independent lifestyle, while also having access to tailored domestic and personal assistance packages as required.
More information on the development is available online here, curious septuagenarians can also call 0800 201 4743 to find out more.