JOSIE LAWRENCE

Josie Lawrence was born Wendy Lawrence at Old Hill, Dudley (whose most famous son is Lenny Henry), West Midlands, England on June 6, 1959.  She has a brother, John, and sister, Janet, 10 years older who are twins.  They were brought up in Craidley Heath, an industrial suburb of Birmingham, where her father worked for British Leyland.  When she was small she had an imaginary friend who would either be a husband or a girlfriend, whichever she felt she wanted that day.  She says everyone in her family has a wicked, dry, sense of humor.  The primary school she attended had a dress up box and one afternoon a week the students were allowed to exercise their imaginations playing with it.  Josie remembers one of her first improvisations being the Pied Piper and forcing all the little boys to follow her as rats.  She got through school by being the joker.  When she was 16, she joined an amateur dramatic club and played Honey in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?  

She became a professional actress in 1982 after obtaining a Theatre Degree from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, where she later received an honorary doctorate.  She joined a children's group, won a couple of talent competitions (singing MAYBE THIS TIME from CABARET), sang in Black Country social clubs (in a group called Denise Black and the Kray Sisters; and later as part of a trio called KJB which included Kate McKenzie and Philippe Boyer) and took an assortment of jobs from waitressing to flyer-posting as she waited to break into show business.  

She came to London at 23; her first theatre job was playing a rather convincing teenage boy in THE RAGGED TROUSERED PHILANTHROPISTS at the Half Moon Theatre.  She was forced to change her name from Wendy when she joined Equity and so picked Josie, after an aunt, although she toyed with being "Florence Lawrence".

In 1985 when she was playing in SONGS FOR STRAY CATS at the Donmar Warehouse, she stayed after the show one evening to watch the late night show, which was improvisation by a group which included Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen.  She joined the performers the following week and the rest is improvisation history.  She joined the Comedy Store Players in 1986 after meeting Kit Hollerbach and Jeremy Hardy in the streets of Edinburgh, and still performs every Wednesday and Sunday when she is not otherwise engaged.  She made her initial appearance on WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? in 1987 and appeared in seven series.

She has appeared extensively in theatre, TV and radio; and has made several films, all listed below, in addition to voice over work and appearances in commercials.

She lives in a house in  Bethnal Green, East London which she calls Yoghurt Villa, as it was bought on the residuals from a commercial.  In addition to versatility as a performer -- acting, singing, improvising in comedy and drama - she also paints watercolors.  She once dated Neil Mullarkey and others but never married. She has two cats, the long haired ginger Aynoch and the black and white Ayli.  Depending on different sources, she is 5' 9", 5'10" or 5'11.


FILMS

TV - In addition to the following TV films and series, Josie has guested on NEVER MIND THE BUZZCOCKS, DUCK PATROL, PAUL MERTON IN GALTON AND SIMPSON'S, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, QUEEN OF THE WILD FRONTIER (THE COMIC STRIP PRESENTS), I LOVE KEITH ALLEN, THE SOUTH BANK SHOW, POIROT, ALAS SMITH AND JONES, LESLEY GARRET TONIGHT, S.W.A.K. and LUNCH IN THE PARK WITH PAUL MERTON.


RADIO


THEATRE


VOICE WORK


Biography compiled by Judy Harris

Visit her homepage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/index.htm

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