Alexandra Bastedo





3/9/1946 , Hove, Sussex, England

Birth Name

Alexandra Bastedo




At the age of three, Alexandra Bastedo wanted to be the Elephant Lady in Billy Smart's Circus, at fourteen she wanted to be a vet and at sixteen she was starring in the movie The Candy Web in Hollywood. She had been discovered by Columbia Pictures and the London Evening News who were looking for "The Teenage Diplomat For Great Britain". Offers ensued from Alfred Hitchcock, the Donna Reed Show and Columbia Pictures but, in spite of her protests, Alexandra's parents sent her back to school to do her "A" levels at Brighton and Hove High School G.P.D.S.T., where she was a scholarship pupil. As a result of the American trip, she gave up the idea of being a vet and concentrated instead on languages.

She was brought up in Worthing and Brighton with her younger brother and sister. They were the children of an Italian-French-German mother (related to Richard Wagner through Therese Wagner) who was brought up in Czechoslovakia, and a Canadian father from the Prairies of Saskatchewan, who was of Spanish Sephardic, Dutch, Scot and native Indian origin (through Ots-Toch, a Mohawk Princess). Alexandra's parents had met in Brighton during the war, married, and after a three year spell in Canada had decided to settle in England. With such mixed parentage, Alexandra learnt Italian, French and Spanish fluently at an early age which proved an asset when she later starred in ten European co-productions and became flatteringly known as 'La Bastedo'. It also led to her being asked to compere the Miss United Kingdom and Miss World contests where she was able to interview the contestants in their own languages and translate to the audience.

She was accepted by London University to study French but realised that she could make a living from what had previously been a hobby - drama, and so she started acting in earnest.

By the age of twenty, Alexandra was starring in the TV series The Champions and followed it with the series Code Name, Scobie Man and The Aphrodite Inheritance. She also did several plays on tour and a Brian Rix farce in the West End, Don't Just Lie There, Say Something, taking over from Joanna Lumley.

As a result of her Canadian nationality and fifty six Canadian relatives she then spent two years in Canada starring at the Shaw Festival Theatre, Niagara, in Arms And The Man and The Admirable Crichton. She also featured in many American-Canadian productions opposite Leslie Nielson, John Candy, Donald Sutherland, Dick Emery, Peter Cook and Mickey Rooney.

Back in England one Christmas to spend the holidays with her family, Alexandra met her old boyfriend, Patrick Garland again. They married shortly afterwards and Patrick was appointed the Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre where he became its longest serving director. That appointment ended in October, 1994. In Chichester, Alexandra appeared in many plays including Ned Sherrin's musical Nickleby And Me, Cavell with Dame Joan Plowright, J.B. Priestley's Time And The Conways with Googie Withers, Venus Observed with Donald Sinden and Denis Quilley and the musical Pickwick with Harry Secombe and Roy Castle with whom she toured for nine months. She appeared in Absolutely Fabulous, in the episode "Fat".

She is also the author of two books, with her third, Cat Care and Cuisine due out in the spring of 1998.

Alexandra is the president of her local RSPCA Branch, vice president of the Brent Lodge Bird Hospital, and patron of the Animal Welfare Trust, Shirrin Persian Cat Rescue, and Cat and Rabbit Rescue Sidlesham. She is a patron of Wildlife Aid, which is a hospital and rehabilitation centre for all British wildlife. Other patrons include the actor Anthony Valentine and his actress wife Susan Skipper, as well as other celebrities including Cliff Richard. She also runs her own animal sanctuary of 180 rescued animals.