Joanna Lumley

Active - 1969 - 2017  |   Born - May 1, 1946 in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India  |   Genres - Comedy, Spy Film

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The daughter of a high-born British military major, actress Joanna Lumley was a model before entering films with 1968's Some Girls Do. In 1976, she took on the Diana Rigg-like female lead on the British TV action series The New Avengers, costarring Patrick MacNee of the old Avengers. Joanna also costarred in two of Blake Edwards' Pink Panther movies of the '80s. Thoroughly jettisoning her previous cool-glamour image, Joanna Lumley costarred with Jennifer Saunders in the 1993 British TV sitcom Absolutely Fabulous as a pair of boozing, bawdy functionaries in the '90s fashion world (the series was picked up by the American cable network Comedy Central in 1994). So popular was Ms. Lumley's characterization of potty-mouthed, cheap-thrill-seeking Patsy that, shortly after the premiere of Absolutely Fabulous, she was being imitated in TV commercials by comic actor John Cleese!

On the big screen she appeared in Cold Comfort Farm, James and the Giant Peach, and The Cat's Meow before returning to her signature role as Patsy Stone for another run of Absolutely Fabulous in 2001. After that she could be seen in Eurotrip, and provided voiceover work in both Doogal and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. She starred in the series Clatterford, and had a prominent part in the 2011 project Late Bloomers.

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  • The daughter of a British military major who fought in a regiment known as the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
  • First acting job was in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Considered one of the most recognizable voices in the United Kingdom, she lent her voice to the AOL recorded greeting "Welcome to AOL." 
  • Well-known for her alter-ego, Patsy Stone, her drunk and merciless character on the BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous.
  • Was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1995.
  • Attended the 2005 wedding blessing of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at Windsor Castle.
  • Published her autobiography, No Room for Secrets, in 2005.
  • A member of the Gurkha Justice Campaign, which fights for settlement rights for the Nepalese veterans.