- Was the second of six children; the family moved to Britain in 1960.
- Father was a jazz musician and encouraged her to perform with him in local clubs.
- Left school at 16 and studied for her A-levels in night school while working as a clerk at Barclays.
- Performed on stage in Jesus Christ Superstar, Black Mikado and Hair before getting the part on Play School.
- Author of numerous books, including the memoir Coming to England, published in 1995.
- Took up marathons as a hobby when she turned 50, and made good on her vow to run in the London Marathon for 10 consecutive years in support of children's charities.
- In 2010 joined the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat life peer and gained the title Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in recognition of her charity work.