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Presented by KaronWatson.
Shani Wallis Opens Carnival
Shani Wallis
June 22nd 1956
Those umbrellas tell their own story about carnival day. The crowd gave Shani Wallis a great welcome as she arrived for the opening ceremony at Rushden Hall.

Shani Wallis and her connection to Rushden

In 1915 Shani Wallace's grandparents were evacuated to Wymington to escape the Zeppelin raid in London. They stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson, Mr. Dickerson was the local postman. After the war they returned to London, but kept in touch with the Dickersons, coming to stay on several occasions, they in return went for holidays ito London,also some of Shani's aunts and uncles visited Wymington.
In 1928 Shani's father Jim came to Wymington where he lived for three years with Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson and their five children.
Shani was born at Deen street in the Tottenham High Road on April 14th 1933. Her parents (Jim and Ethel) owned a Delicatessen, and use to supply a lot of the restaurants and hotels in this area. In 1937 she made her first stage appearance.
When in1940 when the bombing got bad in London, her father brought her and her two brothers, Jimmy and Leon, to Wymington arriving at the Dickenson's in the middle of the night. After about three months a cottage became available for them. Her Grandparents came from London and all five stayed there until the end of the war. Shani attended the village school and won a scholarship to The Wellingborough High School. Many of her school friends remember her well. She loved dancing and could tap-dance well.
When the war was over her grandparents decided to remain in Wymington whilst the rest of the family returned home. When her grandmother became ill they returned to London.
Shani's parents paid for her to attend The Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts (RADA), from where on to play many leading roles in the West End. She is best known for the role of Nancy in Carol Reed's 1968 film production of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver, which also starred Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes, Ron Moody as Fagin, Harry Secombe as Mr Bumble, Jack wild as the Artful Dodgerand Mark Lester as Oliver.
Shani became a naturalized citizen of the United States where she lived for some time. She married her agent / manager Bernie Rich on Fridy 13th September 1968. Asked , "Why on that day ?" she replied , "Everything good has happened to me on Friday 13th and Shani means 'Lucky Jewel'. The couple had one child Rebecca, and two granddaughters. Shani is a patron of the theatre charity The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America.



Call Me Madam - London Colliseum (as "Princess Marie") with Anton Walbrook.
Wish You Were Here - London Casino with Elizabeth Larner and Dickie Henderson.
Happy As A King - London Princes Theatre (as "Juliet" ) with Warren Mitchell.
Wonderful Town (1953) - London Casino (as "Fay Tomkin") with Pat Kirkwood and Dickie Henderson.
Finnian's Rainbow (1958) - Liverpool Nerw Shakespeare Theatre (as Sharon") with Bobby Howes.
Irma La Douce (1961) - Lyric Theatre ( title role) with Denis Quilley.
Fine Fettle(1959) - Palace Theatre with Benny Hill and Robertson Hare.
Green Room Rags (1954) - Princes Theatre with Beryl Reed and Larry Adler.
The Dave King Show - London Hippodrome.
Aladdin (pantomime) Streatham Hill Theatre (as "Aladdin") with Hughie Green and Lauri Lupino Lane.
King Cole (pantomime) - Palace Manchester ( as "Miranda") with Alfred Marks, Tommy Cooper and Gary Miller.
Bus Stop (1958) - Goldiers Green Hip.podrome (as "Cherie). Directed by Sam Wannamaker.
You'll Be Lucky - Adelphi Theatre with Laurie Lupino Lane.
A Time For Singing (1966) - Broadway Theatre NYC - opened May 12th and closed after 41 performances with Tessie O'Shea.
Cowardly Custard (1989) - Theatre Royal Bath.
42nd Street - Drury Lane Theatre London (as "Dorothy Brock") with Frankie Vaughan and Maxine Audley.
Always (1996) -Victoria Palace Theatre London (as"Aunt Bessie") with Sheila Ferguson.

A King In New York (as a cabaret singer) with Charles Chaplin, Dawn Addams, Maxine Audley and Sid James.
The Extra Day with George Baker and Richard Basehart.
Oliver! with Ron Moody, Harry Secombe, Sheila White Oliver Reed and Jack Wild.
Mayday at 40,000Feet with David Janssen and Jane Powell.
Arnold with Roddy McDowell
Round Numbers (as"Binki).
Terror in The Wax Museum with Broderick Crawford.
The Pebble and The Penquin (as Narrator)
Mojave Phone Booth (as "Greta")
Walt Disney's Pocahontas 2 (vocal)
Walt Disney's Basil The Great Mouse Dectective (Voice of " Lady Mouse).

The Young and the Restless (as "Frances the Governess")
Charlie's Angels (Guest appearance as"Ellen Jason") with Gene Barry.
Murder She Wrote
Night Gallery
Mickie Finn's
On the Move with Jack Jones
The Ed Sullivan Show - were she was spotted and subsequently auditioned and won the part of Nancy in the 1968 film Oliver !.
The Red Skelton Hour 1965 singing I'm Old Fashioned and singing/dancing "Pass By Me"
Dean Martin Show singing I'm A Girl and "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"

She also appeared in the first television version of "Once Upon A Mattress" as Lady Mattress as Lady Larkin, with most of the original Broadway cast.

British TV
The Tom Jones Show
Give Us a Clue
The Morecambe and Wise Show
Oliver ! (the reunion as herself)

Call Me Madam - Original London stage recording
The Girl From Oliver
I'm A Girl!, Knapp Records Stereo KS - 3472
Personality, Please Don't Say No,
Don't Take Your Love Away From Me, There Goes My Heart, with Wally Stott.
From Atlanta To Goodbye (Richard Ahlert - Leon Carr) and Another Monday (Stanley Jay Gelber): both KAPP K -2044) produced by HY Grill; with musical direction by Jimmy Dale).

Shani's brother Leon also had a record shop in Rushden but later died at Souldrop. Her other brother Jimmy emigrated to Australia. He had eight daughters all of whom followed in their aunts footsteps and become actresses in various soaps.

Shani had an aunt Yvonne who lived well into her nineties.

In September 1992 Shani came back to Bath, England for 5 weeks to appear in a play.

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