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.
BRITISH HUMORISTS as HILO HEROES: Tony Hancock | James Joyce | Peter Sellers | Edward Lear | Jerome K. Jerome | Jimmy Finlayson | Stan Laurel | Screaming Lord Sutch | Eric Idle | Roald Dahl | Joanna Lumley | Keith Allen | Ricky Gervais | Steve Coogan | Sacha Baron Cohen | Stephen Merchant | PG Wodehouse | Flann O’Brien | Samuel Beckett | Kingsley Amis | Tommy Cooper
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 Boomer generation (1943-54).