Regular Cast Biography
Page 5 of 11


Joanna Lumley

Purdey, The New Avengers, 1976-77

by David K. Smith

Born on 1 May 1946 (7:30 PM IST) in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, Joanna Lamond Lumley was the daughter of a high-born British military major. Upon moving to Britain in her teens, she trained as a dancer and, after failing her RADA audition, she did a modeling stint, although she was once told that she was "too fat and too ugly." One of her first acting opportunities was a bit part in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (a coincidence in that it starred Diana Rigg).

Her career followed in the same unremarkable vein for several years until she won the role of Purdey in The New Avengers, and the considerable effort it took to do so paid off by finally gaining her some decent exposure. Her career continued smoothly, if unspectacularly, until she wound up on the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous playing the notorious Patsy Stone, at which point critics and fans declared that she had staged a "comeback." Whether or not this was actually the case, her AbFab character nevertheless had become so popular that she was being imitated in TV commercials by John Cleese, and she has been quite busy ever since.

Joanna married comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd in 1971 and divorced soon after. Currently married to Steven Barlow, she is a vegetarian and an animal rights crusader, and has a son named Jamie.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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