Jill Summers



Real name: Honour Margaret Rosell Santoi Fuller
Born: 8 December 1910, Eccles, Lancashire
Parents: Alf Rozelle and Marie Santoi


  2. Clifford Simpson-Smith (1949; d: 1984)

Children: Stewart (adopted)
Died: 11 January 1997


  1. Bessie Procter (November 1972 - March 1973)
  2. Phyllis Pearce (1982 - 1997)

Jill was in showbusiness all her life. Her father was a circus tightrope walker and her mother was a singer in revue - but her childhood wasn't a happy one as her parents often left her with foster parents whilst they toured - one couple beat her and made her steal, and another offered her to the workhouse.

She took to the stage as a child at the age of six, performing a music-hall comedy double act with her brother Tom, but after her mother died when Honour was only 13, she went to work in a cotton mill. When she was 16 she married her first husband, more than 20 years her senior, and together they ran a combined newsagents and hair dressing salon in Sale, Manchester, but her husband died after only a few years of marriage.

She formed a singing act with her brother, during which time she performed at nearly every theatre in Britain. Reaching for a top A note one night, she heard her voice crack, and by the end of her turn she was left with her distinctive gravelly voice. Honour was in ENSA as a singer during the Second World War and was asked for a stage name - it was a summers day and she'd just had a gill of beer - so Jill Summers was born. She only became a comedienne after tripping on a stage entrance and swearing. The audience lapped this up, thinking it was part of the act, and a new career started.As an actress, Jill appeared in the serial Castlehaven, How We Used To Live, Stay With Me Till Morning, This Year, Next Year and the Alan Bennett play Sunset Across The Bay. She also had her own series, Summers Here, featuring a different star guest each week. She was expecting her second Street role to only last as long as her first - just a few weeks, but played the part of Phyllis for 14 years, and over 500 episodes of Coronation Street. In 1984, her second husband, a surgeon, died and she credits the cast with helping her through her grief.Over her last few years she suffered from a heart condition and worsening angina, and although very ill through much of her last couple of years, refused to allow the part of Phyllis to be written out, and occasionally made fleeting appearances - the last one was in the spring of 1996.










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