Laura Elizabeth Campbell (born 24 May 1953), sometimes known as Nell Campbell or Little Nell, is an actress, singer, and former club owner from Australia.
She is well known for her performance as Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), as well as the stage play from which it was derived. Campbell’s EP, The Musical World of Little Nell (Aquatic Teenage Sex & Squalor), was released in 1978 by A&M Records.
In the 1981 film Shock Treatment, she played Nurse Ansalong.
Campbell was born to Ruth and Ross Campbell in Sydney, Australia. In his family life column in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Ross, a writer1, refers to her as “Little Nell” (after a character in Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop). Sally, Patrick, and Cressida are her three siblings.
Campbell started dancing at the age of ten in order to stay healthy after being diagnosed with hepatitis A. She was known as Laura E. Campbell until she was approximately 17 years old, when she adopted the moniker “Sonny” (pronounced “Donny”), short for “Sonata.” She worked as a waiter while in high school at Sydney’s Abbotsleigh School for Girls.
Following her family’s relocation in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, Campbell chose the stage moniker “Little Nell.” She had a stall adjacent to Freddie Mercury’s in Kensington Market, where she sold garments.
She also worked as a busker and a soda jerk in a café, where her tap dancing is credited with landing her the role of Columbia in the original Rocky Horror Show during an impromptu audition.
She played Nurse Ansalong in the 1981 sequel, Shock Treatment, and revisited the character in The Rocky Horror Picture Show3 in 1975.
Campbell earned a recording contract with A&M Records after The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1975, she released her first song, “Stilettos and Lipstick,” which was followed by “Do the Swim.”
Campbell has also appeared on stage in the Off-Broadway drama You Should Be So Lucky and the Broadway musical Nine.5 In the British TV series Rock Follies of ’77, she played Sandra LeMon.
Campbell, Keith McNally, and Lynn Wagenknecht launched the nightclub Nell’s on W. 14th St. in Manhattan in 1986. She founded two restaurants in New York in 1995: The Kiosk (uptown) and E&O (downtown) (downtown).
Since the December 1999 issue of Talk magazine, Campbell has published various magazine articles, including recurring features dubbed “MamaTalks” and “FirstLook.”
Campbell relocated to Australia with her children after selling her Boerum Hill home in Brooklyn in December 2005.