Alison Steadman

Alison Steadman

Alison Steadman was born in 1946 in Liverpool.   She  is one of Britain’s premier actresses, particularily associated with the works of her one-time husband Mike Leigh.   She came to national fame wth “Abigal’s Party”.   Other films include “Shirley Valentine”, “A Private Function” and “Let Them Eat Cake”.   She was delicious as Mrs Bennett in a recentltelevision adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”.

Her IMDB entry:

Liverpool-born actress Alison Steadman was born in 1946, the daughter of George Percival Steadman and Marjorie Evans. Educated at Childwall Valley High School, she studied at the East-15 Acting School from 1966-1969, then toiled as a secretary at the Liverpool Probation Service before deciding on a full-time acting career. She made her professional stage debut in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” at the Theatre Royal in 1968, where she also played Ophelia in “Hamlet.” Following repertory experience she met playwright Mike Leigh and appeared in his plays “The Jaws of Death” and “Wholesome Glory,” the latter making her London debut in 1973. She won the London Evening Standard Theatre Award in 1977 playing the lead role in “Abigail’s Party” and appeared in a definitive TV version of the play directed by her husband that same year. Over the years Alison came to be known for her quirky roles and such dazzling stage work in “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice” (winning an Olivier Award in 1992), The Memory of Water (1999), Joe Orton’s “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” (2001) and “The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband” (2002), playing a wronged wife who does the unthinkable, only served to prove the extent of her versatility. Although her film appearances have been spotty, she greatly enhanced the few she has done in support, including A Private Function (1984),Coming Through (1985), Clockwise (1986), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), and Shirley Valentine (1989), not to mention her director-husband’s critically lauded pictures Life Is Sweet (1990), for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award, Secrets & Lies (1996), and Topsy-Turvy (1999). She and Leigh divorced in 2001. Alison has also entertained in many classy TV costumers, including The Singing Detective(1986), as the mother of Michael Gambon, and Pride and Prejudice (1995).

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh /

Her IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.

TCM Overview:

This blonde British character actress is perhaps best known to American audiences for her performances in two highly-praised British TV series. Steadman was the wife of Michael Gambon’s “The Singing Detective” (1986) and portrayed the excitable Mrs. Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice” (1995).A native of Liverpool, Steadman trained at the East 15 Acting School and made her stage debut alongside Vanessa Redgrave in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969). She went on to appear occasionally on the British stage, earning her best notices for then-husband Mike Leigh’s “Abigail’s Party” in 1977. (She reprised the role in a British TV production.) On the big screen, she was first seen in John Irvin’s “Champions” (1984), a biopic of British jockey Bob Champion (John Hurt), played the mayor in Mike Figgis’ moody “Stormy Monday” (1988) and was the heroine’s fickle traveling companion in “Shirley Valentine” (1989). Her best screen role to date was as the wife and mother struggling to hold her family together in Leigh’s comedy “Life Is Sweet” (1991), which earned her the National Society of Film Critics Best Actress Award.

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