Joanna Lumley
By: Lynn Peril | Categories: HiLo Heroes

Tall cool blonde JOANNA LUMLEY (born 1946) cut her chops before the camera as both a model and a Bond girl (in 1969, she had two lines as “The English Girl” in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) — but it’s her hilarious turn as the boozy, self-absorbed Patsy Stone on television’s Absolutely Fabulous (1992-1996 and 2001-2004) with which she will always be joyfully associated. Blessed with a gift for physical comedy on par with Lucille Ball’s, Lumley’s Patsy clambers over airport luggage conveyer belts and slides down stairwells, dressed to the nth degree in short-skirted 1990s power slut fashion and a towering up-do that recalls late-period Ivana Trump. Perhaps it’s Lumley’s own altruistic impulses (the Gurkha Justice Campaign and Survival International are just two of many humanitarian organizations with which she is associated) that give the acid-tongued Patsy a sliver of human dignity, even during the direst crisis — having her real age printed in the tabloid press in the aftermath of an affair with a member of Parliament, for example. Lumley/Patsy fans can only rejoice with the recent announcement that another series of AbFab may soon be in the works.

***

HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Don Rickles | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Jerry Lewis | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1943-54).

Share

MORE POSTS by

Lynn Peril is the author of Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making It in the Office. She lives in Oakland, California.