Sid James (May 8, 1913 - June 26, 1976) was a film and television actor.
Sid James (Sidney Joel Cohen) was born in Natal in South Africa. During World War II, he was enlisted in an entertainment unit, and subsequently took up acting as a career.
He came to Britain in 1946 on the back of his service gratuity. Initially he worked in repertory work before being spotted by the nascent British post-war film industry.
His first major comedy was The Lavender Hill Mob: with Alfie Bass he made up the bullion robbery gang headed by Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway. In the same year he also appeared in Lady Godiva Rides Again and The Galloping Major.
In 1954 he began working with Tony Hancock in BBC radio's Hancock's Half Hour playing a character with his own name, who was a criminal who would usually manage to con Tony. When this was turned into a television series his part was greatly increased to the extent that some viewer considered it to be a double act. James was soon getting as many laughs as his partner and in the final series it was renamed simply Hancock and Sid was not included in the cast. The show was one of the most popular comedy series in Britain on both television and radio.
When Hancock had Sid dropped from the show, Sid returned to films to become a leading member of the 'Carry On' team. He made 19 films with them all together.
He later enjoyed success at the head of casts of TV situation comedies, notably George and the Dragon, Taxi and Bless This House. He died of a heart attack on the opening night of The Mating Season at the Sunderland Empire and died on the way to the hospital at the age of 62.