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Also Known As: Twiggy Lawson, Leslie Hornby, Leslie Hornsby Died:
Born: September 19, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Middlesex, England, GB Profession: actor, singer, model, hairdresser's assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The original supermodel waif who acquired her name for her stick-like figure (a radical departure from the curvaceous ideals of previous generations), 'Twiggy' (nee Leslie Hornby) burst upon the fashion scene and revolutionized it as a teenage icon of the "swinging 60s." Though the world will never forget her larger-than-life beginnings, she modeled a mere four years (and never walked a runway) before forsaking the industry to enjoy a respectable career in film, TV and the theater, although she did come out of retirement and allow herself to be photographed by the likes of John Fwanel and Annie Liebovitz during the 90s. When director Ken Russell asked her to star in his 1971 film version of "The Boy Friend", she replied, " ... I can't act, I can't sing and I can't dance." Advised by him to "get yourself off to class," she made a charming debut in his typically strange but highly enjoyable adaptation of Sandy Wilson's spoof of 1920s musicals, saying later: "I owe him an incredible debt; I probably would just have gone on modeling."Twiggy's second feature, the thriller "W" (1974) paired her with future husband Michael Witney, and she later appeared in a small role in "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and...

The original supermodel waif who acquired her name for her stick-like figure (a radical departure from the curvaceous ideals of previous generations), 'Twiggy' (nee Leslie Hornby) burst upon the fashion scene and revolutionized it as a teenage icon of the "swinging 60s." Though the world will never forget her larger-than-life beginnings, she modeled a mere four years (and never walked a runway) before forsaking the industry to enjoy a respectable career in film, TV and the theater, although she did come out of retirement and allow herself to be photographed by the likes of John Fwanel and Annie Liebovitz during the 90s. When director Ken Russell asked her to star in his 1971 film version of "The Boy Friend", she replied, " ... I can't act, I can't sing and I can't dance." Advised by him to "get yourself off to class," she made a charming debut in his typically strange but highly enjoyable adaptation of Sandy Wilson's spoof of 1920s musicals, saying later: "I owe him an incredible debt; I probably would just have gone on modeling."

Twiggy's second feature, the thriller "W" (1974) paired her with future husband Michael Witney, and she later appeared in a small role in "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and played a would-be singer in "Madame Sousatzka" (1988, opposite second husband Leigh Lawson), among her other pictures. Though she worked in TV both at home in England and on CBS' short-lived sitcom, "Princesses" (1991), she has made her biggest impact on stage, beginning with her West End debut as "Cinderella" in 1974. In 1983 she reunited with her "Boy Friend" co-star Tommy Tune who was co-directing and starring in Broadway's "My One and Only", a reworking of the 1920s Gershwin classic "Funny Face". Acting in a 1997 London revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" was the first step on the way to playing what may turn out to be a defining role of her career, that of Coward's platonic flame and frequent co-star Gertrude Lawrence. Of Lawrence, Agnes de Mille once said, "She can't sing, but who cares?", and Twiggy brought the same kind of star presence to her off-Broadway turn in "If Love Were All", a musical telling of the famous friendship to the accompaniment of 20 Coward songs.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Kings X (2007)
2.
 Woundings (1998) Viv
3.
4.
 John Carpenter Presents Body Bags (1993) Cathy ("Eye")
6.
 Madame Sousatzka (1988) Jenny
7.
 Diamond Trap, The (1988) Detective Sergeant Charlotte "Charlie" Lawson
8.
 Club Paradise (1986) Phillipa Lloyd
9.
 Doctor and the Devils, The (1985) Jenny Bailey
10.
 Blues Brothers, The (1980) Chic Lady
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Neasden, England
:
Originally nicknamed 'Sticks' because of her figure; later changed to 'Twigs' and then 'Twiggy'
:
Became a top fashion model in the 1960s
1967:
Mattel issued a 'Twiggy Barbie'
1971:
Film debut as an extra in Ken Russell's "The Devils"
1971:
First leading role in features as Polly in Ken Russell's adaptation of Sandy Wilson's pastiche of 1920s musicals "The Boy Friend"; initial collaboration with Tommy Tune
1974:
Made West End stage debut in "Cinderella"
1974:
Made second feature, the thriller "W/I Want Her Dead"; co-starred with future husband Michael Whitney
:
Appeared in several West End shows including "Captain Beaky Presents" and "Funny Face"; also toured in "Funny Face"
:
Hosted own British TV series, "Twigs" and "Twiggy and Friends"
1980:
Made cameo appearance in "The Blues Brothers"
1981:
Starred as Eliza Doolittle opposite Robert Powell in Yorkshire TV production of "Pygmalion"
1983:
Broadway debut in the musical, "My One and Only", starring and co-staged by Tune; earned a Tony nomination
1987:
Played a vaudeville performer in the British TV special "The Little Match Girl"
1988:
Had supporting role in "Madame Sousatzka", opposite second husband Leigh Lawson
:
Cast as Hannah Chaplin, mother to Charles, in the British TV-movie "Young Charlie Chaplin"; aired in US on PBS' "Wonderworks" in 1989
1991:
Co-starred in the ill-fated CBS sitcom "Princesses"
1997:
Acted in London stage revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit"
1998:
Played Gertrude Lawrence in the biographical stage musical "Noel and Gertie" at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island
1999:
Returned to New York stage as Lawrence in Off-Broadway production "If Love Were All", a revised version of "Noel and Gertie", directed by Lawson; what set this edition apart were its tap numbers in period style; starred opposite Harry Groener as Coward
2001:
Co-hosted the English magazine program "This Morning"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kilburn High School for Girls: -

Notes

Twiggy introduced a line of skin care products, Aroma Therapies for Face and Mind, in Great Britain in 2001.

"I only actually worked as a model for four years. That 60s thing and that phenomena, whatever it was, was as much a shock to me as it was to everyone else." --Twiggy Lawson quoted in USA Today, July 25, 1991.

About her modeling heydey: "I brought in a whole new look. And there was a revolution coming out of England: the Beatles, pop music, fashion. When I came (to America), it all just went bananas. I was on Newseek and Time. It was madness. I couldn't go out, actually. I'd just get mobbed. It was horrible. I was only 17. It really frightened me." --Twiggy to Sam Whitehead in Time Out New York, May 13-20, 1999.

"I know it's awful to say, but it has been a bit of a bane that nothing I can ever do in my life could make me more famous than that girl in the Sixties with the eyelashes. When I'm 85 and people hear my name, that will still be their first image. And it was something I had no control over.

"I only know about it [today's modeling game] the same way as everyone else: reading about it. And if all I read is true, it's shocking. It's not a world I mix in at all. I probably shouldn't say this, but the only time I see Vogue and Harper's [Bazaar] is when I go to the hairdresser or the dentist." --Twiggy quoted in Newsday, July 15, 1998.

Remembering one of her meetings with Noel Coward: "When he found out I was just learning my dances to 'The Boy Friend', he said, 'Show me!' Then he got up and danced with me. Just then there came a loud knock on the door and in walked Merle Oberon, looking absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't believe it. And she joined us for tea." --Twiggy to Matthew Gurewitsch in The New York Times, June 7, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Justin de Villeneuve. Manager. Introduced by his brother Tony with whom she worked; born c. 1939; together in the 1960s when he managed her career until c. 1972; gave her famous nickname of 'Twiggy', which evolved from brother Tony calling her 'Sticks'.
husband:
Michael Witney. Actor. Met during the filming of the psychodrama, "W" (1974); married on June 14, 1977 in Richmond, England; divorced; died of a heart attack in 1983 at age 52; struggled for years with alcoholism.
husband:
Leigh Lawson. Actor, director. Born on July 21, 1945; married on September 23, 1988 in Tony Walton's Sag Harbor backyard; has son from relationship with actor Hayley Mills.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Norman Hornby. Carpenter.
mother:
Helen Hornby.
sister:
Vivian Hornby.
sister:
Shirley Hornby.
daughter:
Carly Witney. Born on December 1, 1978; father, Michael Witney; studying animation at a university in Scotland c. 1999.
step-son:
Jason Lawson. Born c. 1976.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Twiggy" Hart-Davis-MacGibbon
"Unlimited Twiggy"

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