Susan Hampshire, an English television and film actress, was born on 12 May 1937 in London. Her father was a director of ICI and she has an elder brother and two elder sisters. Since Susan Hampshire was a dyslexic, she had problem with reading. She attended the school founded by her mother, who was a teacher by profession. Her initial aspiration was to become a nurse, but due to dyslexia she joined a theatre in her teens to hone her acting skills. She is popularly known as “Lady Kulukundis” and fits the romantic image of the “English rose”.
Susan Hampshire started her film career when she appeared in the movie, The Woman in the Hall. In 1962, she played the lead role in the BBC adaptation of What Katy Did. Following her impressive performance in What Katy Did, she acted in The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963) and The Fighting Prince of Donegal, produced by Walt Disney Productions. In the former film, she co-starred with Patrick McGoohan, an American-born actor, who became popular in the British film industry. She co-starred with him in two episodes of the British television series, Danger Man. In 1972, Susan Hampshire acted as conservationist, Joy Adamson in Living Free, a sequel to the classic, Born Free. She has also acted in musicals opposite the English singer and actor, Cliff Richard in Wonderful Life, Follow That Girl and The King and I.
Susan Hampshire has given notable performances in a couple of famous TV series. She acted as Fleur on BBC’s The Forsyte Saga, which led to the making of the PBS program, Masterpiece Theatre. She performed the role of Sarah Churchill in The First Churchills, which was the first series broadcast for the program. She won the Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her exceptional string of performances in The Forsyte Saga (1970), The First Churchills (1971) and Vanity Fair (1973). Susan Hampshire ventured into the American television world in 1973. She joined hands with the American actor and film producer, Kirk Douglas, in the musical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She also performed as Molly Macdonald in the TV series, Monarch of the Glen aired on BBC One. She has made prominent appearances in TV series, The Barchester Chronicles (1984), The Pallisers, Don't Tell Father (1992) and Coming Home (1998).
In 1958, Susan Hampshire first appeared on stage in the Expresso Bongo. Since then, she has played the leading role in a number of popular plays on stage, like the Relative Values, Lady in the Van, The Importance of Being Earnest and For no good Reason. She has also played the role of Fairy Godmother at the New Wimbledon Theatre (2005–2006) and the New Victoria Theatre (2006-07). Susan Hampshire acted in the 2007 play, The Bargain, which was about an encounter between the British media proprietor, Robert Maxwell and Mother Teresa. She performed as Elizabeth Champion-Cheney in the Somerset Maugham's play, The Circle and also as Lady Catherine Champion-Cheney in the same play at the Chichester Festival Theatre, thus finding a place among the group of actors, who have in various occasions performed two generations in the same play.
Susan Hampshire has released her autobiography, Susan's Story, and a book on Dyslexia, titled Every Letter Counts. In 1995, she was chosen as the Officer of the OBE for her brilliant literary work. Some of her other publications include The Maternal Instinct and a series of books for children, which talks about 'Rosie' and her ballet adventures. Being a dyslexic herself, Susan Hampshire has campaigned for dyslexia in the UK. She loves gardening and has also published several books on it. Susan Hampshire patronises the UK charity and campaign group, Optimum Population Trust.