Sylvia Anderson

Sylvia Anderson

Born in Camberwell, London, producer, writer, and voice actress Sylvia Anderson attended the London School of Economics, graduating with a degree in sociology and political science. Intending to become a social worker at first, Anderson relocated to the United States of America with her first husband, a professional golfer. During her time in the United States Anderson worked as a journalist. Following the dissolution of her marriage, Anderson returned to the United Kingdom, bringing her daughter with her. Her first job in entertainment was as an office assistant at Polytechnic Films. The company did not last long, and following its collapse, Anderson joined AP Films, a collaboration between producer Arthur Provis and editor and director Gerry Anderson. In 1957 AP Films was awarded a project to adapt several children's stories written by Roberta Leigh. Anderson worked on these films as a production assistant, a job which would bring the opportunity for more significant contributions. In 1959 Sylvia and Gerry Anderson were married. Following their marriage, the couple began to work together on a number of projects, co-writing and co-creating series, and contributing to the work in accordance with their strengths. Sylvia's areas of expertise were in plot and character development, costumes and voice-acting. Gerry, for his part, tended to focus on special effects and editing. Anderson and her husband collaborated on a number of beloved UK series including "Supercar" (ATV 1961-62), "Stingray" (ATV 1964-65) and "Fireball X". Most of these series were in the 30-minute format, but Anderson felt that the time was too brief to truly develop the characters, and was able to persuade the show's producer to give the shows an hour-long timeslot. In the 1960s, the Andersons together created the series 'Thunderbirds" (ATV 1965-66). A science-fiction puppet series, the show was intended for American audiences, so in order to appeal to them Anderson developed two characters, a British aristocrat, Lady Penelope, and the Cockney chauffeur" named Parker. The Andersons collaborated on two feature-length films "Thunderbirds Are Go", (1966) and "Thunderbird 6" (1968). The Andersons separated in 1975 and their creative partnership ended then as well. For 30 years Anderson worked as a talent scout for HBO. She wrote an autobiography Yes M'Lady, published in 1991. Anderson died in March, 2016, just a few days shy of her 89th birthday.