Sue Lloyd

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Sue Lloyd Pencil Portrait
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Last Update : 9/5/15

Beautiful, talented and gregarious, there was a time when it looked like Sue Lloyd was on the cusp of international stardom with roles in films such as The Ipcress File,’ Revenge Of The Pink Panther,’ The Stud,’ and The Bitch’, as well as starring roles in several high profile television action series.

It never quite happened, yet her eternal good humour suggested a woman ‘at one’ with herself and that infinitesimally thin line between public recognition and stardom. Ultimately, she would model in her early years, act before a camera for a quarter of a century, and develop her passion for art in her late 40’s.

Writing in her entertaining biography “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” (published in 1998,) she said “I was born in the charming seaside town of Alderburgh, Suffolk on 7 August 1939, just as war was about to break out – although I am assured there was no connection between the two events. My father had his doctor’s practice there. My parents weren’t rich, but came from backgrounds where it was usual to employ a nanny and household staff.” According to Sue, her father, William Jeaffreson Lloyd, assisted Sir Harold Gilleys in one of the world’s first ever sex-change operations.

Born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, her family moved to Birmingham and she attended high school there. She went on to win a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School at Sadlers Wells Theatre, and in 1958 she was one of the last to be presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The girl had talent. However she would grow to be tall for her era (5’ 8”), and a career in ballet passed her by.

Tall, willowy and good looking, she became a dancer in Lionel Blair’s troupe and also took up modelling. She was on the cover of Vogue at one stage. This in turn led to an acting career and she made her screen debut in the TV series ‘The Sentimental Agent’ in 1963. She then appeared in a string of classic 60′s/70′s shows including ‘The Saint’, ‘The Persuaders,’ ‘The Sweeney,’ and most notably, a lead role in ‘The Baron’ (‘66 – ’67), where she played Cordelia Winfield, a DAF 33 driving antiques dealer working for the British government undercover. In 1970 she had another star role in ‘His and Hers’.

When it came to movies she was no slouch either. ‘The Ipcress File’ was a major breakthrough for her, with a good part alongside Michael Caine. She also starred with Peter Cushing in the horror film ‘Corruption’ (1968). Her lifestyle and looks led her to meet many interesting people, and it is said that she bought her London flat with the proceeds of selling her story of affairs with Peter Sellers and Sean Connery.

Work never really dried up, although by the early 70’s her film career was in the doldrums. Turning back to the theatre, she would star in a stage show of ‘The Avengers’ Although parts were beginning to slow down, she would eventually star in ‘The Bitch’ and ‘The Stud,’ and this led to her longest role of all, in the day-time soap ‘Crossroads’. She starred in 714 episodes until she was axed. Off screen the romance with her on screen husband blossomed, and they married in 1991, unfortunately only six weeks before Ronald Allen died of lung cancer.

Recalling this period of time working in Birmingham, Lloyd would recount in her autobiography – ‘It was a decision which was to change my life. I probably reached more people in that simple, much vilified series than I ever did in some of the highly acclaimed films in which I’d appeared. Suddenly I couldn’t walk down the street without being recognised. Dustmen chased after me for my autograph, cab drivers fell over themselves to offer me lifts, star-struck shoppers hung on my every word in the supermarket. I had fan mail pouring through my letterbox as never before and, most important and unlikely of all, I met the love of my life, the man who was to become my husband – my darling Ronnie Allen – a man who until then everyone thought was gay.’

More work would follow after ‘Crossroads.’ She starred with Allen in ‘Eat The Rich,’ and also guested in the long running BBC Tv series ‘Bergerac’. She was amazingly reunited with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in ‘Bullet to Beijing’ in 1995, a role for which she felt compelled to undertaker some cosmetic surgery. Inevitably the parts slowed down and Lloyd would allow her artwork and painting to provide a creativespark, eventually running a successful business for a number of years.

She died on October 20th, 2011, after a protracted period of ill health..

Recommended viewing

The Baron (ITC Series) 1966-67

A complete episode guide can be found via\

All thirty episodes of the classic 1960s espionage adventure series, starring Steve Forrest as John Mannering, playboy antiques dealer and unofficial head of the British Diplomatic Intelligence unit, are now available via a Network 8 disc DVD box set. Together with his glamorous assistant Cordelia (Sue Lloyd), Mannering foils daring bank robberies, global espionage and brutal murders.

Attack on an iron coast (1968)

Suitably buoyed by the worldwide success of ’633 Squadron,’ producer Walter Mirisch proposed a series of British made films with a military theme, featuring major American stars in the lead that would comply with the Eady Levy* requirements and cost no more than $1 million US$.

*The Eady Levy, established in 1957, was in fact, a tax on box office receipts in the United Kingdom, and specifically designed to support the British film industry. In order to qualify as a British film, at least 85% of the film had to be shot in the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth, and only three non-British individual salaries could be excluded from the costs of the film, thus ensuring the employment of British actors, technicians and film crew. Since a direct governmental payment to British-based producers would have qualified as a subsidy – thus antagonising American film producers – the ‘indirect’ nature of the levy did not qualify as a subsidy, and so was a suitable way of providing additional funding for the UK film industry, whilst avoiding criticism from abroad. This end objective was facilitated by pooling a proportion of the ticket price, with half to be retained by exhibitors (i.e. effectively a rebate on the tax) with the other half being divided among qualifying ‘British’ films in proportion their UK box office revenue. producers were under no obligation to invest in further production.

In order to qualify as a British film, no less than 85 per cent of the film had to be shot in the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth, and only three non-British individual salaries could be excluded from the costs of the film, ensuring the employment of British actors, technicians and film crew

Walter Mirisch would sign the American star Lloyd Bridges – thirteen years before his hilarious appearance in “Airplane as a glue sniffing air traffic controller – to work alongside several key British stars of the day. The film began shooting in May 1967, and the Mirisch Corporation would produce several other titles – ‘Submarine X-1,’ (which i recall seeing in its day), ‘Hell Boats,’ ‘Mosquito Squadron,’ ‘The Thousand Plane Raid’ and ‘The Last Escape.’ Each of the films were approximately 90 minutes long making them suitable for half of a double feature – ‘Attack on a iron coast’ would play second second fiddle to The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ animated fantasy; an incongruous pairing to say the least!

In the movie, Lloyd Bridges plays a WWII commando leader who leads a group of soldiers on a suicide mission to destroy a Nazi naval stronghold on the French coast.

Sue’s appearance as Bridges’s wife is comparatively brief but suitably emotive, and would give her a name check on the theatrically released poster. Sadly, it would not lead to bigger roles.

The Two Ronnies - 'Done to Death' (BBC Tv 1972

There were four modern-day mystery serials featuring the comic detective characters “Piggy Malone” (Barker) and “Charley Farley” (Corbett). ‘Done to Death’ (1972), a mystery about a murdered family, featuring Lloyd at her most alluring.

Hardly BAFTA award winning material, but a fond reminder of 70’s saturday evening light entertainment scheduling, and the millions who watched and laughed. A popular cast member, Lloyd worked well with the comic duo; her bedroom scenes with the diminutive Corbett particularly amusing.

Recommended reading

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (1998) Susan M. Lloyd with Linda Dearsley (Author)