The actress famous enough to be known simply as Helen is a Bollywood living legend. Helen will forever be known as the girl who became famous for playing a tramp-actually, she played multiple tramps. Born Helen Richardson on October 21, 1939 in Burma. Helen has the unique distinction of being the daughter of an Anglo-Saxton mother and a Burmese father. Many credit her unique beauty with unique ancestory, while Anglo-Indians are common, Anglo-Burmese is a rare combination. Helen had two brothers, Roger and Patrick and a younger sister, Jennifer.
Helen's mother, Mary was a nurse. When Helen was a little girl, Mary fled Burma in the wake of World War Two and settled with her children in India. Mary did not make enough money on a nurse's salary to support four children, so Helen left high school to make a living in Indian films. Helen had been taking Kathak dance, a classical form of Indian dance. She felt she was good and it. And sure enough during her film-making heyday of the 1960's, Helen was known for her new-fangled dances and cabaret style dance performances.
Helen was friends with Anglo-Indian dancer and actress, Cukoo. She helped Helen land jobs working as a chorus girl extra in many Bollywood films. Her early performance included, Shabistan and Awarra, Alif Laila, and Hoor-E-Arab. Helen's big break came in the 1952 film Howrah Bridge. Helen's career hit new heights, she was frequently sought after to play vixens and cabaret dancers. The Cabaret Queen was born.
In the 1970's, Helen's career hit new lows. Younger actresses were taking the roles that she had been traditionally typecasted to play. Helen fell into financial limbo. By the late seventies, things were looking up for Helen. In 1980, she married Indian actor and scriptwriter, Salim Khan. She has four stepchildren. The couple live in separate households. Helen briefly returned to Bollywood in 1999 after a lengthy retirement.