Aug. 26th, 1946
Liverpool, England, UK
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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) (TV), 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 (1991), 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).
- Elder son Toby is an illustrator and animator.
- Has two sons, 'Toby Leigh' (qv) and 'Leo Leigh' (qv).
- She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1993 (1992 season) for Best Actress for The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
- She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Best Actress for her performance in The Memory of Water at the Vaudeville Theatre.
- Younger son Leo is starting (as at December 2003) a career as a film-maker.
- She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honors List for her services to drama.
- She was awarded the 1986 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Kafka's Dick.
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