Perhaps best-known to international audiences for her role as Bubble, Edina Monsoon's gloriously vapid assistant on Absolutely Fabulous, Jane Horrocks is a well-established stage and screen actress in her native Britain.
Born in Lancashire, England, to working-class parents on January 18, 1964, Horrocks began performing in a non-professional capacity (or "showing off" as she has said) at an early age, wowing her informal audiences with her gift for mimicry. Although an acting career was seen as unrealistic in her Northern English town, Horrocks nevertheless ended up winning a place at London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where her classmates included Ralph Fiennes, Imogen Stubbs, and Iain Glen. During her studies at RADA, Horrocks was advised to lose her distinctive Lancashire accent. Fortunately, she rejected this "advice;" her decision to nurture her way of speaking would later result in her casting in a number of plum character roles.
Following graduation, Horrocks joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Despite the RSC's prestige, the actress felt unchallenged and underused in her work with the company. Thankfully, she found some form of relief in her collaboration with playwright Jim Cartwright while performing in a production of one of his plays; Cartwright was so impressed with Horrocks' uncanny impersonations of such singers as Edith Piaf and Judy Garland that he promised to write a play expressly to showcase her talents. A few years later, he made good on his promise with The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, a play about a painfully shy girl (Horrocks) possessing a remarkable ability to mimic some of history's most famous singers. Horrocks earned lavish praise for her performance; in 1998, the play was made into a well-received film, Little Voice, in which Horrocks co-starred with Ewan McGregor, Brenda Blethyn, and Michael Caine.
Horrocks also began appearing on both the big and small screens during the late '80s, doing supporting work in a number of films and television series. She had her screen breakthrough in Mike Leigh's acclaimed family comedy Life Is Sweet (1991), earning awards from the Los Angeles film critics and the National Society of Film Critics for her portrayal of an anorexic girl who at one point asks her boyfriend (David Thewlis) to lick chocolate off her breasts.
Bouncing back and forth between comedy and drama and film and television during the rest of the decade, Horrocks continued to establish herself as one of her country's most versatile performers. The 1998 release of Little Voice brought with it lavish acclaim for the actress, who earned a number of international award nominations and honors for her singular performance in the film.