Joanna Lumley says a woman’s life is “the nicest and most beautiful gift”
Joanna Lumley said she was “amazed, delighted and touched beyond words” to become a lady in New Year’s honors.
The 75-year-old actress, best known for her role as the outrageously boozy Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous, has been honored for her services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes.
She said in a statement to the PA News Agency: âI am amazed, delighted and touched beyond words to receive this colossal honor. It’s a complete and unexpected surprise, and it’s the cutest and most beautiful gift you can imagine.
On the sidelines, she has also made a name for herself as an activist, fighting for the rights of Gurkhas to settle in the UK and also supporting numerous environmental campaigns.
The glamorous actress was named OBE in 1995 and received the Bafta TV Fellowship in a star-studded ceremony in 2017.
Accepting the award on stage, she said: “It is paradise for me, I have been in the company that I wanted to keep since I was young. I wanted to be with people who left race, religion, gender and shoe size at the door.
“I wanted to be with these people, I wanted to hang out with the boys in the group, I wanted to be part of the fraternity, I wanted to be in this real circus.”
Absolutely Fabulous originally operated between 1992 and 1996, but was relaunched from 2001 to 2004.
Speaking to ITV about her alter-ego Ab Fab, Lumley said: “She has the morals of an alley cat, and I like to think that I am almost diametrically opposed to her in my primitivity and my property. .
“I drink – not a lot – and I smoke – not a lot – but Patsy is extreme in everything she does and I think people like it.”
Her other career highlights include her role as Purdey in The New Avengers, a role that propelled her to fame in 1976 – and she also made a lesser-known appearance in 1973 on Coronation Street as the posh girlfriend of Ken Barlow, Elaine.
Lumley’s film credits include a role in the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she also shared a kiss with Leonardo DiCaprio while starring in Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Wolf of Wall Street and appeared in two Pink Panther films.
In 2016, she and her co-star Jennifer Saunders made a triumphant return to the big screen as Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone for Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, which included celebrity cameos from Kate Moss, Jon Hamm and more.
Born 9,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas, Kashmir, where her father was an officer in the Gurkha Rifles, Lumley was educated at a convent in Hastings, East Sussex.
After starting out as a model, her talents stretched beyond the catwalks and she quickly made a name for herself on the stage.
Lumley has two Baftas to her credit for her performance in Ab Fab, and in 2000 she won the Special Award for her work in The New Avengers.
Other recent television appearances include a guest role on the sitcom Motherland as well as ITV’s Finding Alice.
Her TV projects in 2022 include Joanna Lumley’s Secret Cities, a three-part documentary series for ITV in which she visits Rome, Paris and Berlin.
She said of the project: âI am drawn to cities full of human life, dragging clouds of history and experience, harboring secrets and showing their achievements. Cities are magnets to all types of people, including me – I’ll raise the curtain on some of their weird and surprising secrets – join me and be amazed.
In 2019, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Chester in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the arts.