Best-known for her role as the tolerant receptionist of "boss from hell" David Brent on the BBC comedy hit "The Office" (2001-'03), the wide-eyed British blonde, Lucy Davis, had previous notoriety in the UK as a radio actress on a popular soap opera. Following her success on "The Office," she relocated to Los Angeles and began to make a name for herself in recurring roles on American series like "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006).
Born on Jan. 2, 1973, Davis grew up in Knowle, Birmingham, England. Though her father was Jasper Carrott, a popular British comedian and actor, Davis and her three siblings were raised very much out of the spotlight by parents who preferred to keep home and professional life separate. Despite their preventative efforts, their daughter had a passion for acting, taking up drama studies early on at the Birmingham Youth Repertory Theater and appearing in school plays. When she was 18, she moved to London and attended the glitzy Italia Conti Drama school. After several years, she switched to the Carlton TV Junior Workshop and found it more fitting with her down-to-earth personality.
While there, the newcomer got her first break with a role on the classic miniseries, "Pride and Prejudice" (BBC, 1995). Around the same time, she snared a guest role on "The Archers," which would lead to a decade-long stint on the popular radio soap opera. Davis was managing to build a budding career, but several health crises soon interrupted. In 1994, she suffered from kidney failure and in 1997 received an organ transplant from her mother. A long recovery period followed, during which Davis developed diabetes. Throughout her life, she had to adhere to a strict regimen of medications, one that affected her weight and landed her unfairly in the brutal British tabloids.
As she was able to work again, Davis built up some momentum with various TV and commercial spots until 2000, when she auditioned for what would become the runaway BBC hit, "The Office." Producers were immediately taken with her naturalistic, "non-acting" style of acting, which lent itself perfectly to the tone of their mockumentary. Davis was cast as Dawn Tinsley, and for two seasons portrayed the receptionist to Office boss David Brent (Ricky Gervais), enduring Brent's managerial ineptitude and delusions of grandeur while harboring a crush on office-mate Tim. "The Office" was imported to the cable channel BBC America, where it became one of the few foreign comedies to find a loyal U.S. audience. The show won the 2004 Golden Globe award for best comedy, and Davis found herself at a post-show press conference being questioned on "what designer" she had worn to the ceremony. Part deadpan humor and part newcomer humility, Davis confessed that she was wearing an off-the-rack dress from the British equivalent of Kmart.
In 2004, Davis made entertainment news for turning down a role opposite Cameron Diaz in the comedy "In Her Shoes," when the script sent for her consideration described the role as Cameron's "fat, ugly sister." Instead, that year she appeared in the zombie slacker cult hit, "Shaun of the Dead" (2004). Davis moved to Los Angeles in early 2005. In a short period of time, she landed roles in "The TV Set" (2005) with David Duchovny and added her voice to the animated film, "Garfield Two"(2006).
The versatile actress also became a recurring face on the American tube, including the series "Ugly Betty" and "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip," in which she portrayed a British Comedy writer on the latter. Within a year of her move, she also met a fellow émigré, Welsh actor Owain Yeoman. The two were married in 2006. Their wedding made big news as it took place at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, which was usually reserved strictly for royal weddings.
Played Maria Lucas in "Pride and Prejudice"
Landed her breakout role as Dawn Tinsley in the original BBC version of "The Office"
Landed a recurring role on IFC's "Maron"