French, Dawn (1957–)

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French, Dawn (1957–)

English comedian, actress and writer. Born Oct 11, 1957 in Holyhead, Wales; dau. of Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot; attended Central School of Speech and Drama; m. Lenny Henry (Jamaican-born writer and comedian), 1984; children: (adopted) 1 daughter, Billie.

Best-known for her collaboration with Jennifer Saunders, one of the most successful partnerships in British comedy, 1st worked with Saunders at Comedy Store in London, creating successful double act; came to broader public attention as a regular at the Comic Strip Club (early 1980s); with Saunders, launched successful BBC series "French and Saunders Live" and created and wrote for "Absolutely Fabulous"; independent of Saunders, starred on "Murder Most Horrid" (1991) and then in the long-running BBC comedy "The Vicar of Dibley" (1994–97); returned to stage in Ben Elton's Silly Cow (1991) and Sharman MacDonald's When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout (1998); starred in BBC dramas "Tender Loving Care" (1993) and "Sex and Chocolate" (1997); also starred on BBC sitcom "Wild West" (2002–04).

See also Alison Bowyer, Dawn French: The Biography (Headline, 2000).