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Ashley Jensen

Ashley Jensen

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Also Known As: Ashley Samantha Jensen Died:
Born: August 11, 1969 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although primarily known to American audiences as seamstress Christina McKinney on the hit comedy series "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), actress Ashley Jensen had long reached prior notoriety in the UK on screens both large and small. Honing her craft on the stages of London and Scotland, the versatile actress made a name for herself on British TV projects, such as the comedies "May to December" (BBC, 1989-1994) and "Bad Boys" (BBC, 1995-96). Jensen also landed feature film roles, first in Mike Leighâ¿¿s "Topsy-Turvy" (1999) and later alongside comedic actor Steve Coogan in "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story" (2005). She made substantial inroads with U.S. audiences on the Ricky Gervais cable comedy "Extras" (BBC/HBO, 2005-07), in which she played a socially awkward, man-hungry aspiring actress to riotous perfection. Her major stateside breakthrough came with three seasons of "Ugly Betty," followed by more appearances in the UK, as well voice work in the hit animated family adventure, "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010). A true double threat, equally adept in the genres of comedy and drama, Jensen continued to enjoy success on both sides of the Atlantic in roles ranging from ditzy best friend to...

Although primarily known to American audiences as seamstress Christina McKinney on the hit comedy series "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), actress Ashley Jensen had long reached prior notoriety in the UK on screens both large and small. Honing her craft on the stages of London and Scotland, the versatile actress made a name for herself on British TV projects, such as the comedies "May to December" (BBC, 1989-1994) and "Bad Boys" (BBC, 1995-96). Jensen also landed feature film roles, first in Mike Leighâ¿¿s "Topsy-Turvy" (1999) and later alongside comedic actor Steve Coogan in "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story" (2005). She made substantial inroads with U.S. audiences on the Ricky Gervais cable comedy "Extras" (BBC/HBO, 2005-07), in which she played a socially awkward, man-hungry aspiring actress to riotous perfection. Her major stateside breakthrough came with three seasons of "Ugly Betty," followed by more appearances in the UK, as well voice work in the hit animated family adventure, "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010). A true double threat, equally adept in the genres of comedy and drama, Jensen continued to enjoy success on both sides of the Atlantic in roles ranging from ditzy best friend to leading lady.

Born Ashley Samantha Jensen on Aug. 11, 1969 in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland to parents Ivar and Margaret Jensen, she was raised solely by her mother, a special needs teacher, with the assistance of her grandparents after her fatherâ¿¿s early departure from the family. Jensen expressed an interest in performing as a young student, and after initially hesitating, her mother eventually agreed to send her to Londonâ¿¿s National Youth Theater at the age of 15. A few years later, Jensen enrolled at Edinburghâ¿¿s Queen Margaret University, where she studied drama and speech. Scotlandâ¿¿s theater scene would become home for the young actress, where she worked with such companies as Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Traverse in Edinburgh, as well as the edgy theater troupe 7:84, with which she toured the country. For 7:84, she performed opposite actor David Tennant in a production of "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui." Before long, Jensen was also appearing in a succession of guest spots on UK television, beginning with a 1990 turn on the comedy series "City Lights" (BBC, 1986-1991). Other work included a pair of early-1990s appearances on another popular comedy, "Rab C. Nesbitt" (BBC, 1989-1999), which led to joining the showâ¿¿s theatrical tour, culminating with a sold-out performance at Londonâ¿¿s Hammersmith Apollo Theater.

As Jensen⿿s professional résumé began to grow, so too did the size of her roles. She joined the cast for the final season of the beloved British sitcom "May to December" (BBC, 1989-1994), as well as two other short-lived programs ⿿ the oil rig dramedy "Roughnecks" (BBC, 1994-95) and the bizarre slapstick comedy "Bad Boys" (BBC, 1995-96). Jensen⿿s first role in a major motion picture came in the form of Mrs. Tringham in director Mike Leigh⿿s "Topsy-Turvy" (1999), a comedic biopic about the early career of theatrical legends Gilbert & Sullivan. With her career picking up momentum, she became a bit of a UK TV staple, branching out from comedy to drama in efforts like the crime series "City Central" (BBC, 1998-2000) and on "Clocking Off" (BBC, 2000-03), a blue-collar drama examining the personal lives of a group of textile workers. Jensen returned to the big screen in director Michael Winterbottom⿿s "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story" (2005), as the agent of an actor (Steve Coogan) playing the lead in a film adaption of Shandy⿿s autobiography.

It was, however, with creator Ricky Gervaisâ¿¿ television series "Extras" (BBC/HBO, 2005-07) that Jensen truly established a name for herself on both sides of the Atlantic. As Maggie Jacobs, best friend and cohort of struggling actor Andy Millman (Gervais), her character was consistently and hilariously socially inept, particularly in her pursuit of men. For her work on the celebrated series, Jensen won British Comedy Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Actress, in addition to garnering BAFTA and Emmy nominations. Jensenâ¿¿s other high-profile television project at the time was on the science-based thriller series, "Eleventh Hour" (BBC America, 2006), in which she portrayed a bodyguard assigned to protect a government scientist (Patrick Stewart). Although the highly-anticipated series lasted only a season, she was soon to join the cast of an American show which would bring her to an entirely new level of recognition.

An Americanized version of the popular Columbian telenovela " Yo soy Betty, la Fea," "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010) followed the trials and tribulations of Betty Suarez (America Ferrara), a plain, sturdily-built young woman trying to make it in the superficial world of high fashion. Jensen played Bettyâ¿¿s friend and confident, Christina, an aspiring designer and resident office gossip maven. Although Jensen left the series after the third season due to location conflicts once the showâ¿¿s production moved to New York, her popular character did manage to return for the series finale. Now in popular demand, the actress kept busy with film and television work, landing a regular role on the Jenna Elfman single parent sitcom "Accidentally on Purpose" (CBS, 2009-2010). Although the show lasted for only a single season, Jensen was busy with various other projects, including the lead in the romantic comedy "Accidental Farmer" (BBC, 2010) and voice work on two highly successful animated features, "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) and "Gnomeo & Juliet" (2011).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Lobster, The (2015)
3.
 Small Time (2014)
4.
 All Stars (2013)
5.
 Pirates! Band of Misfits, The (2012) The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
6.
 Arthur Christmas (2011)
7.
 Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
9.
 Nativity! (2009)
10.
 Taking Liberties (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1994:
First TV role, playing the eccentric secretary Rosie McConnichy, in the series finale of BBC comedy "May to December"
1996:
Played Clare Donnelly, the daughter of Glasgow criminal Jo-Jo Donnelly (Billy Connolly), on the BBC drama "Down Among the Big Boys"
1998:
Appeared on the BBC series "City Central"
1999:
Cast in director Mike Leigh's "Topsy Turvy"
2001:
Appeared in the award-winning series "Clocking Off" (BBC)
2005:
Played Steve Coogan's agent in "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story"
2005:
Cast alongside Ricky Gervais on the BBC2/HBO series "Extras" as the socially inept Maggie Jacobs; her role in the 2007 Christmas special earned her an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress
2006:
Starred on the short-lived drama series "Eleventh Hour" (ITV1)
2006:
Cast as the title character's best friend Christina McKinney on the ABC comedy "Ugly Betty"
2009:
Cast opposite Jenna Elfman on the CBS sitcom "Accidentally on Purpose"
2009:
Starred in the BBC comedy "Nativity" as Jennifer Lore, a Hollywood producer's secretary
2010:
Starred in the BBC comedy drama "Accidental Farmer"
2011:
Voiced Nanette the frog in the animated production "Gnomeo and Juliet"
2011:
Landed voiceover role for the character Bryony in the animated feature "Arthur Christmas"
2012:
Voiced the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate in the animated adventure "Pirates! Band of Misfits"
2012:
Played supporting role opposite Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the period comedy "Hysteria"
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Education

Queen Margaret University College: -
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain: -

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