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Jane Horrocks

Jane Horrocks

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 18, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Lancashire, England, GB Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This petite, waifish blonde actress first caught audiences attention as the anorexic teen who memorably insists that David Thewlis lick chocolate off her breasts in Mike Leigh's comedy "Life Is Sweet" (1991) and went on to create an indelible impression as the aptly named Bubble, the dim-witted, kooky assistant to Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) in the cult British sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous" (1993-95). Born and raised in Lancashire, Jane Horrocks matriculated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (where her classmates included Iain Glen, Imogen Stubbs and Ralph Fiennes). While in school, she was advised to work on losing her nasal native accent as it would limit the roles she could play. Almost in defiance, Horrocks has nurtured her distinctive, working-class Lancashire twang, and that decision has led to a string of interesting character parts. Fresh out of drama school, Horrocks landed at the Royal Shakespeare Company where she felt underutilized and unchallenged. In 1986, she appeared in Jim Cartwright's "Road" (later filmed for British TV). The playwright was fascinated by the actress' facility with impressions (including Julie Andrews, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich) that he promised to...

This petite, waifish blonde actress first caught audiences attention as the anorexic teen who memorably insists that David Thewlis lick chocolate off her breasts in Mike Leigh's comedy "Life Is Sweet" (1991) and went on to create an indelible impression as the aptly named Bubble, the dim-witted, kooky assistant to Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) in the cult British sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous" (1993-95). Born and raised in Lancashire, Jane Horrocks matriculated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (where her classmates included Iain Glen, Imogen Stubbs and Ralph Fiennes). While in school, she was advised to work on losing her nasal native accent as it would limit the roles she could play. Almost in defiance, Horrocks has nurtured her distinctive, working-class Lancashire twang, and that decision has led to a string of interesting character parts.

Fresh out of drama school, Horrocks landed at the Royal Shakespeare Company where she felt underutilized and unchallenged. In 1986, she appeared in Jim Cartwright's "Road" (later filmed for British TV). The playwright was fascinated by the actress' facility with impressions (including Julie Andrews, Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich) that he promised to write a play around her gifts. Five years later, Horrocks had a stage triumph as LV, a child-like, painfully shy girl who finds release in impersonating divas like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Billie Holliday, in "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice". Although she had achieved a degree of fame, Actors Equity in the USA would not allow her to recreate the role on Broadway. Instead, Horrocks continued to show her versatility on stage as Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' landmark 1994 revisionist staging of "Cabaret" in an actual nightclub and as Lady Macbeth in a rare 1996 outing in Shakespeare.

Horrocks entered features with a supporting turn in "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" and moved up to a more prominent part in "The Dressmaker" (both 1988). She continued in distinguished projects like "The Witches" and "Memphis Belle" (both 1990) before breaking out in "Life Is Sweet". Her mesmerizing turn as the deeply unhappy, vitriolic teenager was one of the year's best and the Los Angeles Film Critics awarded her their Best Supporting Actress prize. Horrocks' refusal to go Hollywood (where she feels British actors are often oddly dropped into unsuitable films) may have hampered her career somewhat, but her uncompromising attitude has not stopped her from working in her native land. She essayed a Welsh woman who resorts to murder after a ghostly visitation in the black comedy "Deadly Advice" and supported William Hurt and Alan Cumming in "Second Best" (both 1994). Four years later, Horrocks recreated her stage role as LV in Mark Herman's "Little Voice". Some reviewers noted problems with the film's script, but hailed the cast (which included Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine and Ewan McGregor), particularly citing Horrocks' lead performance. To be as true to the material as possible, the director took the unusual step of shooting all the musical numbers live as opposed to having the actress lip synch to a pre-recorded track. The effect enhanced Horrock's portrayal, bringing a depth and immediacy to it and set the stage for her ascension from cult figure to international star, if she should so chose.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Arthur Christmas (2011)
2.
 Tinker Bell (2008)
4.
6.
 Christmas Carol: the Movie (2001) Voice Of Ghost Of Christmas Past
7.
8.
 Chicken Run (2000) Voice Of Babs
9.
 Born Romantic (2000) Maureen 'Mo' Docherty
10.
 Little Voice (1998) Little Voice
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England
1985:
Spent a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company after graduating from RADA
1986:
Had featured role in Jim Cartwright's stage play "Road" at the Royal Court Theatre; production filmed for broadcast on British TV in 1987
1988:
Feature film debut, "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase"
1989:
Appeared with Anthony Hopkins in the BBC telecast "Heartland"
1990:
Co-starred with Anjelica Huston in "The Witches"
1991:
Breakthrough stage role as Little Voice in Cartwright's play "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice"
1991:
Breakthrough film role, "Life is Sweet"
:
Played recurring role of Bubble in hit TV series "Absolutely Fabulous"
1994:
Received critical raves for her performance as Sally Bowles in the Sam Mendes-directed environmental staging of "Cabaret" in London; production co-starred Alan Cumming
1994:
Made cameo appearance in Cumming's short film "Butter"
1994:
Appeared in support of William Hurt and Cumming in "Second Best"
1996:
Played Lady Macbeth in a stage production of "Macbeth"
1996:
Starred in own British TV special "Never Mind the Horrocks"
1997:
Provided the voices for the characters in the animated British children's series "The Blobs"
1998:
Recreated breakthrough stage role in film "Little Voice"
2000:
Had co-starring role in the ensemble comedy-drama "Born Romantic"
2000:
Lent her voice to the character of a dim-witted hen in the blockbuster Claymation film "Chicken Run"
:
Signed to co-star in the BBC comedy series "Mirrorball", reuniting with the cast of "AbFab"; series aborted
2001:
Brought back to the new "Absolutely Fabulous"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England - 1985

Notes

"A cross between Audrey Hepburn and Olive Oyl." --director Mandie Fletcher

"I'm not a great fan of Shakespeare's. I find it quite hard work." --Jane Horrocks quoted in Newsday, June 22, 1995.

"She's a chameleon really, The roles she's played are so diverse that people don't really know who she is. They've seen her, but they don't know they've seen her." --"Little Voice" director Mark Herman quoted in Los Angeles Times, November 8, 1998.

"I had tears in my eyes . . . it's the first time I've actually watched a star being born." --co-star Michael Caine on working with Horrocks, quoted in Los Angeles Times, November 8, 1998.

"I think I'd probably give up acting. It's a new discovery, the singing. I've not really explored what I am capable of, whereas I feel like I have in the acting world. I don't get sent a lot of stuff, and what I do get sent isn't on the whole very good. . . .

"I found myself a bit of a phoney. I thought, I feel an idiot pretending to convey this emotion because I don't feel it at all. I used to immerse myself in it. Now I feel at one remove, saying, 'This is a ludicrous profession and I'm too old to be dressing up and pretending to be somebody else.'

"I think I am a bit more settled now. If an actor does start to feel like that, they probably don't need to act any more. They don't need to escape into some role. I just find it a bit of an effort now." --Horrocks quoted in The Daily Telegraph, September 28, 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Sam Mendes. Playwright, director. Together from 1992 to c. 1995.
companion:
Nick Vivian. Writer. Live together.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Dylan Vivian. Born on April 28, 1997.
daughter:
Molly Vivian. Born in 1999.

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