I was born on 7th October 1959 in Kingston-upon-Thames,Surrey. I have three sisters and one brother.From a very young age I always felt that I would be involved
with the entertainment business,either singing,dancing,or acting.Attending Italia Conti Stage School in London,I trained and passed numerous LAMDA examinations (mostly with Honours),in Acting,Singing and Dance. Italia Conti felt like home,I loved every moment of it, and being with like-minded students.My first love was always singing,and at this time,I was in a Band called Encore.My Father would always sing-
all the old songs (which I still sing today),and I had been in the Church choir for many years.
At the age of ten,I saw "Angels with Dirty Faces",with James Cagney,and from that moment I was in Love with him. While I had posters plastered on my bedroom walls of James Cagney,all my friends had Donny Osmond or David Cassidy!.
One of my first significant jobs was as Zuckuss (and then Woikettle on the Cloud City set) in The Empire Strikes Back. I was asked to go to Elstree studios at Borehamwood,where the Zuckuss costume was explained to me.....and what wearing it would entail.I was shown designs of the costume and head-dress....it felt quite daunting but I was o.k. with it. I had quite a few fittings for 'Zuckuss', I remember the head-dress was not too heavy,although once fitted it was difficult to hear or see and quite claustrophobic. I was quite nervous on my first day on set,especially being so young and the only Lady!....but everyone was so kind to me.
I felt spoilt,especially as I had a personal wardrobe assistant standing by on set-this was because of the head-dress which was lock/twisted on,just like a diving helmet.
When I signaled, the assistant would remove the head-dress,as I could not take it off
myself.Because it was so hot in the costume under studio lights,I was also allowed a chair on set,whenever I needed a rest. From inside the head,I had to blow into a tube which was connected to a cylinder attached to the front of my costume,blowing into the coloured liquid would create bubbles in the cylinder. Although interacting with the other 4 Bounty Hunters,it was mainly with Chris Parsons (4-Lom)- who is a very dear friend to me. Dave Prowse (Darth Vader) was also very kind and helpful.
I was extremely lucky to be asked back to play Bespin Snaggletooth,later called
Woikettle with 'Trevor Horne'.Unfortunately I cannot remember my very tall partners name....but they nicknamed us Mr. and Mrs. Pig. This costume was so much easier to wear-I could take the Mask off when I liked on my own! The Cloud City set was so beautiful to work in-it was like being in a dream!....I was awe struck at meeting Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill for the first time. For me,at the time it was just another job....I had no idea what a fantastic film it would become....I really feel so lucky and privileged to have been a small part of it.
Shortly after ESB I became a full Equity member,but was dismayed to learn that I could not keep my name- Catherine Munroe- as it was already registered, and so took the name Katy Jarrett which I still use today. I've also seen lots of other spellings such as Cathy Monroe. I went on to work on such things as The Singing Detective,The Shinning,Dr.Who,She Devil,etc....(please see my Bio.),and I am still
working today in Eastenders for the BBC.
In 1980 James Cagney came out of retirement to make a film entitled 'Ragtime'.
12 Dancers were required,so along with my sister we went to the auditions.Among the thousands that applied we were both lucky to be picked,as 'Champagne Dancers'. We danced with Donald O'Connor to a song called 'He could love a million Girls'.- our dresses were truly exquisite.Word got out that James Cagney wanted to watch us rehearse. I was Numb...as my dreams of meeting him had come true.Then a very old man, he sat down with his wife to watch us perform. That was the best
moment of my life- to meet and then perform in front of my idol. We were also invited to Pat O'Connors' 80th Birthday party..........Champagne,and Cake....another fantastic memory!
Other great memories include working on 'The Shining'...I had one line-but it took
other two weeks to complete the scene! I have been very fortunate to have worked
with so many great stars,including Sir John Mills, Jack Nicholson,Vincent Price,Peter
Cushing,Ronnie Barker,Hannah Gordon,Tom Baker,Joan Hickson, Dennis Waterman,Pat O'Connor,and of course James Cagney......to name but a few.
I have been very lucky to have had continuous work in several series and soaps,
including Dr. Who,The Bill,Telfords Change, The Love's and Live's of a She Devil,and Eastenders (which I still work today). 4.50 From Paddington,was also a great job.
I have been in 'The Business' for over 35 years,and have recently started a new journey.....with Star Wars.......meeting fans at conventions,and fellow actors who I had lost contact with....including Chris Parsons (4-Lom),and another dear friend-Star Wars Actor Derek Lyons ( Medal Bearer/Rebel Guard)who has helped me so much.
It was while enjoying a long Tea break at the BBC,a few actors started reminiscing
about past work,I mentioned that I had worked on ESP,the costume I wore ,and the scenes I were in....and a fellow actor nearly fell off his chair! He told me that Star Wars fans had given up looking for me...and assumed that I was dead! I never realised that people were trying to locate me under my original name for so many years,or that anyone would be interested in me or the characters I played.
I feel very humble and priviledged to have been involved in such an important film,and hope that I can continue (as long as possible) to meet and talk about my story and ESP....a story which started all those light years ago..........