Elke Sommer’s payment for her role in Carry On Behind was crazy compared to the other actors

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
3 Min Read

German actress Elke Sommer created ripples in 1975 when she walked away with a jaw-dropping £30,000 for her role in the 27th instalment of the iconic Carry On film series, titled “Carry On Behind.” This hefty paycheck raised more than a few eyebrows, considering the established norm of £5,000 for the film’s stars.

As the rumours swirled around Elke Sommer’s extraordinary earnings, series producer Peter Rogers was in the hot seat. The disparity in pay became a point of contention among the cast, leaving many questioning the rationale behind Sommer’s lucrative deal.

Let’s delve into the financial nitty-gritty. While the standard remuneration for Carry On stars hovered around £5,000, Elke Sommer shattered the glass ceiling. The German star commanded a whopping £30,000 for her portrayal of Russian Professor Anna Vrooshka. This extravagant sum marked her as the joint highest-paid performer in the Carry On franchise, sharing the honour with Phil Silvers from “Follow That Camel.”

Carry On Producer Bent Over Backwards For German Star

Elke Sommer and Kenneth Williams  in Carry On Behind
Many Carry On stars were left perplexed by the astonishing figure.

Now, let’s take a closer look at “Carry On Behind,” the film that sparked this pecuniary debate. Released in 1975, it was a departure from the series’ usual scriptwriting formula. Surprisingly, Talbot Rothwell didn’t pen the screenplay for the first time in 13 years. The absence of stalwart Sid James and the presence of newcomers like Elke Sommer added a fresh dynamic to the ensemble cast.

In “Carry On Behind,” Sommer played the role of Russian archaeologist Anna Vrooshka, collaborating with Professor Roland Crump (Kenneth Williams) on a dig at Riverside Caravan Site. The plot revolves around a comedic web of romantic entanglements, mishaps, and misunderstandings among the characters, providing the perfect backdrop for Sommer’s magnetic performance.

Elke Sommer’s Payment Broke The Mould

The impact of Elke Sommer’s extravagant remuneration reverberated through the Carry On ensemble. Established actors accustomed to a standard fee were left questioning their worth. Meanwhile, the producers faced a backlash for breaking the traditional payment mould. This unprecedented move by the producers raised eyebrows among the cast, creating an atmosphere of discontent on the set.

Elke Sommer is now 83 and lives in Los Angeles.

Elke Sommer’s triumph in negotiating a salary was far beyond the norm. However, it became a precedent that left a lasting mark on subsequent Carry On productions. It paved the way for more assertive negotiations by actors, forever altering the landscape of pay scales in Britain.

Share this Article
Leave a comment