Dawn French is a British actress, comedian, presenter, and writer who is well-recognized for her performance as one of the leads on the BBC comedy sketch show, “French and Saunders” which she wrote as well. French further got much popularity with her portrayal of the lead role as Geraldine Granger in the BBC sitcom, “The Vicar of Dibley”.
Having her film debut with the fantasy film, “The Adventures of Pinocchio” as The Baker’s Wife in 1996, she has appeared in several movies even making her appearance on the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” playing the role of Fat Lady in 2004. As a writer, she has written four novels – “A Tiny Bit Marvellous”(2010), “Oh Dear Silvia”(2012), “According to Yes”(2015), and “Because of You”(2020).
Back in February 2013, French was entitled as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
Recently in October 2021, she revealed how she hated an unauthorized biography for which she even paid £20 to her fans for not to read it. She even thought of taking legal actions but ended up writing on her own, setting record straight.
With her up growing popularity, she has managed to amass followers of over 538k on her verified Twitter: @Dawn_French and over 240k followers on Instagram: @dawnrfrench.
What is Dawn French Famous for?
- Famous as an actress, comedian, and writer.
- Known for her roles in “French and Saunders” and “The Vicar of Dibley”.
Where is Dawn French From?
Dawn French was born on October 11, 1957, in Holyhead, Wales. Her birth name is Dawn Roma French. Her nationality is British. French belongs to the White ethnicity while Libra is her zodiac sign.
Born as the youngest child to her English parents; Felicity Roma(mother) and Denys Vernon French(father), Dawn was raised in her hometown alongside her elder brother, Gary. Her father served at the Royal Air Force, which was stationed at RAF Valley and then RAF Leconfield, where Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother had tea with French when she was 3 years old.
When her father was stationed at the RAF Faldingworth, French attended Caistor Grammar School but for just one year. Later, she was sent to a boarding school at St Dunstan’s Abbey School for Girls in Plymouth, where she was also a member of Downton house and even had won a debating scholarship. Following her graduation, she went on to study for a year at the Spence School in New York.
Her father always taught her to value herself telling her that she was the most precious thing in his life increasing her self-confidence and self-belief. However, her father had a history of severe depression and even made two suicide attempts before his death after committing suicide by car exhaust when French was just 19 years old.
A year later, she went on to study drama at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977. Whilst there, she met her future comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders with whom she shared a flat, and were influenced to do comedy by their flatmates as part of their projects for the college.
Following their graduation, they formed a double-act called the Menopause Sisters and did many “cringeworthy” acts until they came to public attention as members of the Comic Strip in the early 1980s.
Dawn French’s Career Highlights
- Dawn French started her career making her television debut on Channel 4’s “The Comic Strip Presents” series in 1982. She performed her act in 27 of the 37 episodes even writing two of them.
- She alongside Jennifer Saunders was featured on the record album, “Comic Strip”(1981) which exposed them to a wider audience.
- She then starred with Saunders in the ITV sitcom, “Girls on Top” in 1985.
- French got her breakthrough when she starred alongside Saunders in the comedy series, “French & Saunders”, which premiered in 1987. Alongside starring, she even co-wrote the episodes of the show.
- The show ran for over 20 years garnering millions of viewers closing in 2007.
- She then started in the dark comedy series, “Murder Most Horrid” from 1991 to 1999 for over 8 years.
- She co-starred in the Saunders-led sitcom, “Absolutely Fabulous” in 1992, reprising the role in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” in 2016.
- She made her film debut with “The Adventures of Pinocchio” in 1996.
- She appeared in the comedy/drama mini-series, “Ted and Alice” in 2002.
- From 2002, she appeared in the BBC sitcom, “Wild West”, with Catherine Tate till 2004.
- Her biggest solo starrer television role was her title character in the long-running and popular BBC comedy, “The Vicar of Dibley” which ran in 1994. The show had an audience of 12.3 million on one episode which ran for 6 years till 2000 again intermittently from 2004 till 2020.
- She played a major role as Rosie in the sitcom, “Jam & Jerusalem” in 2004.
- The same year, she was seen playing the role of The Fat Lady in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- She then provided the voice for Mrs. Beaver in Disney and Walden Media’s film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in 2005.
- She appeared as Caroline Arless in the BBC television drama Lark Rise to Candleford in 2008.
- She then starred in “Roger & Val Have Just Got In” alongside actor Alfred Molina in 2010.
- She also starred in three series of “Delicious” on Sky 1 from 2016 till 2019.
- Her recent most appearance in series was in “The Trouble with Maggie Cole” alongside Mark Heap in 2020.
- She also has appeared in several plays including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “My Brilliant Divorce”, and “Smaller”.
- Apart from her acting career, she also has written several books and novels including the best-selling autobiography, “Dear FAtty”.
- Other of her four novels include “A Tiny Bit Marvellous”(2010), “Oh Dear Silvia”(2012), “According to Yes”(2015), and “Because of You”(2020).
Awards and Achievements
- Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for TV in 1991
- British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actress in 1997
- Honorary Golden Rose of Montreux award in 2002
- Rose d’Or Light Entertainment Festival Award in 2002
- BAFTA Fellowship – awarded with Jennifer Saunders in 2009
- Assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom in 2013.
Dawn French’s Husband? Who is her daughter?
Dawn French has been married twice to date. Her first marriage was with Lenny Henry with whom she met for the first time while they were on the alternative comedy circuit. Henry is also a popular British actor, comedian, and singer with whom she got married on October 20, 1984, in Covent Garden, London. The couple adopted a daughter, Billie, and together lived for over 25 years till they announced the separation on April 6, 2010.
After a year of their divorce, French began dating charity executive Mark Bignell in 2011. After two years of dating, the couple got married on April 22, 2013, and resided in Fowey, Cornwall, in a mansion overlooking Readymoney Cove. However, just recently in MAy 2021, it was reported that Dawn had sold her Fowey property, and shifted to an 1868 Gothic Revival property in Calstock.
Besides, she is a supporter of the LGBT community and a British football club Plymouth Argyle. She even had supported Keir Starmer during the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.
Dawn French’s Net Worth
Dawn French has quite good earnings from her professional career as an actress and comedian. Having her career started professionally as a comedian with her TV debut in 1982, Dawn has managed to come a long way up becoming one of the popular comedians of all time.
With her appearances on several sitcoms, series, and movies, French has secured herself as a talented actress as well. Her writing career also has added up quite to her fortune as she was paid a £1.5 million advance for her self-written autobiography. Including her income, she has an estimated net worth of around $10 million.
Dawn French’s Height and Weight Loss
Dawn French is a beautiful lady with an average body physique in her 60s. She stands tall with a height of 5ft. (1.50m) while her body weighs around 65kg. She was overweight which she started to lose in 2011 to maintain her health. While she was just 4ft. 11inch. she was reported to weight 19 stone at her heaviest.
In 2014, because of a cancer scare, she underwent a hysterectomy which also prompted her to lose weight. Besides, she has a fair complexion with her newly style grey hair and sparkling green eyes.