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Creator / Joanna Lumley

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"I find it a great antidote... lipstick and mirrors and hairspray."

Dame Joanna Lamond Lumley, DBE, FRGS is a British actress, voice-over artist, author and former model, whose career has spanned over four decades. She was born on 1 May 1946 in Srinagar, India, which was then part of The British Empire.

Her acting career began in 1969 with a small role in the film Some Girls Do, as a Bond Girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and as Samantha Ryder-Ross in It's Awfully Bad for Your Eyes, Darling.... She became a star in the UK in the late 1970s thanks to two leading TV roles, first as Action Girl Purdey in The New Avengers, a Darker and Edgier Revival of The Avengers, and second as the questionably benevolent Humanoid Abomination Sapphire in Sapphire and Steel. Her second period of major fame came in the 1990s when she starred with Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous.

Lumley has also starred in a number of documentaries about exotic places in the world, travelling the breadth of the River Nile to ancient Egyptian tombs. She has become well known for her distinctive, breathless way of speaking and cut glass British Accent and as such is the female voice of AOL mail (the male voice being provided by Elwood Edwards).


Notable television roles:

Notable audio roles:

Tropes associated with this actress include:

  • Brainy Brunette: She invoked this when transitioning from modelling to acting, dyeing her hair brown to be taken more seriously.
  • Leslie Nielsen Syndrome:invoked Since Absolutely Fabulous, she became more likely to show up in comedies or parodying her previous image.
  • Nepali With Nasty Knives: In 2008, she attracted much attention in the British media for her high-profile support for the rights of Gurkhas — leading to her being considered a "national treasure" of Nepal. Specifically, she was campaigning for Gurkhas who had served in the British Army prior to 1997 to be allowed to settle in Britain note . Her father, an Army officer, had commanded a Gurkha unit during World War II, and she has clearly taken the family connection very seriously.
  • Statuesque Stunner: At 5'8", she towers above her Absolutely Fabulous co-stars Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha.
  • The Other Darrin: In The Satanic Rites of Dracula she played the role of Jessica Van Helsing, originated by Stephanie Beacham in Dracula A.D. 1972.
  • What Could Have Been: When Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman was brought in by the BBC in 1986 to come up with a way of retooling the show, he suggested having the Doctor regenerate into a female incarnation (after briefly having Patrick Troughton back for one season), with Lumley being one of his top picks. However, discussions with the network's Head of Drama fell through, and the show wouldn't have a female Doctor until Jodie Whittaker was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor in 2017. Lumley would, however, briefly play a female Doctor in the 1999 official parody "The Curse of Fatal Death".