Joanna Lumley

(Joanna Lamond Lumley)

Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
  • Born: May 1, 1946
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Actress, Author, Activist

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Joanna Lamond Lumley OBE, FRGS is an English actress, former model, author and activist. She won two BAFTA TV Awards for her role as Patsy Stone in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012), and was nominated for the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for the Broadway revival of La Bête. In 2013, she received the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards and in 2017, she was honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship award.

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A lot of us are ruled by fear during our lives - afraid we'll get burgled, afraid a dog will bite us, afraid we'll get fat, afraid someone will leave us. Once you lose fear, life becomes sweeter, and that happens as you get older. I'm sure by the time I'm 80, I'll be able to do absolutely anything! Life ;Time
Ah, Scotland. I am three-parts Scottish and terribly proud of it, although maybe we should divide it into eighths, because my two-eighths are Danish and English, the Lumley part. But the bulk of the rest of me is Scottish - and Scottish ministers especially.
All the trouble you will cause by not leaving a will. All the heartache! Family feuds are going to happen anyway, so be as clear as you can. And even if it's only to leave it to the cat's home, make a will. Families, Children & Parenting
All you have to be is kind. That's all you need. Once you've got that, it virtually rules out everything else.
As Brits, we love a do, don't we? I adore our national celebrations. If I see a gold coach, you almost need to put me in a straitjacket, I get so excited. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
As soon as you reach a certain age, you're thrown onto a kind of mental scrap heap.
Buy an atlas and keep it by the bed - remember you can go anywhere.
Cameras love pretty girls and craggy, old character men more than they can take craggy, old character women. But that's what's always happened. Work out how you can fit into it, and make that work. There are never going to be millions of parts for older actresses because there never were. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
China invaded Tibet. It invaded it. So all this nonsense about them being the same country is absurd. It's called Tibet. If it was part of China, it would be called China, wouldn't it?
Clothes that are too tight make you look bigger. If you've been trying to shed pounds, and it doesn't go, buy the next size up. I never care what size my clothes are.
Even clingfilm - if it's gone over a salad bowl, take it off, use it again. I wash out carrier bags; I save brown paper from parcels. I save string; I save ribbons. I separate all my bits and pieces.
Giraffes are completely tranquil - they have no predators as adults because there's not an animal in the jungle stupid enough to go for them.
Giraffes are fairytale animals, almost heraldic - as if from the land of fables. They have extremely beautiful faces, huge eyes, very sensitive nostrils and oh, blue tongues!
Greece has got something like 1,400 islands. There is so much of Greece you can't know even if you're Greek. It's sprinkled out all around the edge of the Aegean, all over the place. It's already a secret place wherever you go, even if it's somewhere huge like Athens or Corinth. The place enchanted me.
Hundreds of political prisoners still suffer in Tibetan prisons. Freedom of speech is not allowed in any sense. It is illegal to possess a photo of the Dalai Lama. Freedom & Liberty
I admire politicians. It is a really tough assignment, and I would fall at the first fence.
I always knew that good stuff would come along when I was older. So when I was 18, I longed to be 30; when I was 30, I longed to be 50. I've always looked forward to my next birthday.
I am mean as cats' meat about handbags: mine don't ever look chic. I always prefer bags that aren't made of leather.
I can't cut out a piece of cloth and make a lovely dress, but I can mend tears in shirts and sew on buttons.
I can't see any difference in having your hair dyed, your teeth fixed, your nose done, or your face smoothed out or lifted.
I could never go into politics, because I'm far too impatient and I'd want to be a dictator, albeit a benevolent one... I would hope. Hope ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I cut my hair myself and colour it. I know everybody in the hairdressing business despairs of me, but it's so much easier to do it yourself. Business, Commerce & Finance
I cut the labels out of my clothes because they scratch. Clothes are just little workhorses, aren't they?
I do not like bad photographs. I don't like to be badly lit. There is a fashion, particularly on stage, for very 'toppy' lighting, which makes a child look 50. Ten o'clock is very good. If someone is taking a picture, you say, 'Lamps at 10 o'clock,' then everybody looks lovely.
I don't do girlfriendy sort of things, like shopping or going to spas. Spas fill me with horror. Frankly, I'd be more interested in doing a walk through the sewers of London!
I don't lose my temper. I used to, but I realised I would probably die of a brain hemorrhage. So I've governed myself not to mind about things. I have no road rage or anything like that. Because it's life-shortening. And also, there's no need for it; it uses up energy.
I don't think men are that attracted by glamour. I think women are attracted by glamour. I think men are attracted by a sense of friendship. Women ;Friendship
I find it a great antidote... lipstick and mirrors and hairspray.
I hate the hand that comes out of a car and just drops litter in the street. I hate that! For some reason, it just fills me with fury! It's just utter laziness, lack of interest in other people, lack of interest in the planet, in the hedgehog who might eat the plastic bag, it's a lack of concern.
I have a toy giraffe on my bed. I've got photographs over my desk as well as a mask of a giraffe in my kitchen. I am totally hooked.
I have never felt the constraints of social acceptability.
I have never had anything done to my face because then you end up looking as they all do in America. Look at Judi Dench: she would never be as good if she had had work done. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I haven't got a very sweet tooth, but I love salted things like nuts. I would have to be dragged in by a lorry if I ate as many salted peanuts as I would like to. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love a cardboard coffin. Both Mummy and Daddy went off in cardboard coffins, painted - Daddy's was rifle green. Beautifully made. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love being a grandmother. That feeling you have for your own child - you don't ever think it will be replicated, and I did wonder if I would have to 'pretend' with my grandchildren. But my heart was taken on day one. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I never go to the gym - I can't be doing with it. But I run up and down the stairs, wash my feet in the basin to keep supple, and I don't eat things that have a pulse.
I never mind scrubbing floors, vacuuming or bending and carrying stuff. Each time I do it I think, this is instead of going to the gym. Time
I never wanted to go to university: books seemed to have all the answers, and the questions, too. I went to work for Jean Muir as her in-house model. Miss Muir - as she will always be to me - was interested in everything. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I quite often don't have breakfast, and I never have lunch. I find it helps not to wake my stomach up because if I had a good big breakfast, I would be ready for a snack at 11 and then a three-course lunch, then I'd be ready for tea, then a cocktail and then an enormous dinner.
I switch off lights like a maniac. I drive at reasonable speeds so that I don't waste petrol.
I think I'm a spiritual person. I don't really go to church often when services are on, but I like going in when they are empty and quiet, and just sitting there and thinking for a little while.
I think laptops should be banned from schools. Until you can prove you can add up on your fingers or think independently in your head, you have learnt nothing.
I think most of the world would like to be Scottish. All the Americans who come here never look for English blood or Welsh, only for Scottish and Irish. It's understandable. The Scots effectively created the face of the modern world: the railways, the bridges, the tunnels.
I think that unless you can take judgments of right and wrong like an automaton, you must have emotions because that is our only way of moral guidance.
I think we could jam a bit more in our coffins than we do. I'm going to have some books, some I haven't finished or haven't read, some feathers and nice bits and pieces, the odd note. Just on the journey for the next bit.
I used to go out wearing any old rubbish, no make-up, nothing, but since mobile phones, that has all had to stop. People do come up to you so often and say hello, or want a photograph, and I just can't do it anymore in what I used to wear. They don't want to be seen hanging off a rabid old granny any more than I do.
I used to panic and get rattled when I was young, but as I've got older, I've started literally to live day to day. With age, you work out what matters. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I was 21 and had been going out with my boyfriend for two years when I found out I was pregnant - despite being told by doctors that I was sterile. Jamie's father and I hadn't discussed marriage, and to me, it wasn't something to be entered into just to stop gossip. Families, Children & Parenting
I was involved with the landmines before the Princess of Wales, and nobody gave a damn about people losing their limbs. It only became a success when she came along. Success
I was once kissed on the lips by a giraffe, and I don't think I've ever got over it.
I would do anything to keep looking the job. I think you make an extra effort if you're on show.
I'd been a Bond girl and in Dracula films and 'Coronation Street,' but I was always hunting for work. After 'The New Avengers,' I never had to wait for work again. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I'd describe myself as a saver, but just sometimes I can spend like a kicking horse! Ryman is the one shop I can't go past without going into. I just can't resist lovely stationery.
If the Gurkhas can't live in Britain, then I don't want to, either.
If you haven't understood that if you are born you die, you scarcely deserve to be able to be alive.
If your family loves you, you're fine. What you can't grow up without is love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Families, Children & Parenting
If you're an enthusiast and you love the world like I do, it comes naturally. But I think charity must become more fun to give, more interactive and imaginative. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I'm a pathetic haggler and often give more than the original price out of a misplaced sense of duty.
I'm a vegetarian, and I long for people to eat less meat, but the thing to do is not to go, 'Eat! Less! Meat!' It's to say, 'I am fit as a flea and I'm 63, I haven't eaten meat for 40 years, and I never get diseases, I'm never ill, and I'm full of energy. So how's about that?'
I'm aware of my body.
I'm boiling about the rainforests being chopped down to make disposable chopsticks. I'm boiling about the fact that we have palm oil put into every single one of our substances.
I'm not terribly good at three-page recipes - I tend to skip bits - or anything that involves marinating things in juniper berries.
I'm tall with broad shoulders, and therefore, I like clothes with a bit of a swagger - mannish clothes that you can wear with a lot of feminine, sweet tops. I put my own looks together - a favourite coat, a bit of vintage, a bit of high street.
I'm three quarters Scottish, but I sound English. I don't really see British as a race.
I'm very good at getting up in the morning - so much of my life has been spent on film sets where we start at the crack of dawn. Life ;Morning
In Ethiopia... you might find a seven-year-old expected to take 15 goats out into the fields for the whole day with only a chapati to eat and his whistle. Why are we so afraid to give our children responsibilities like this?
In Kenya you've got the great birds and monkeys leaping through the trees overhead. It's a chance to remember what the world is really like.
In petrol stations on the motorways where people have left the place looking messy, I clear up each lavatory I happen to have occupied. When people drop paper on the ground, and everything like that, I pick it up, put it in the lavatory, and make that room look nice.
It's an incredibly difficult thing to bring a giraffe down. They can kill a lion with a single blow from their feet.
It's nice when you happen into a vegetarian restaurant, but really, you can find veggie food everywhere. Pastas, salads, a vegetable plate - I actually like ordering vegetarian in a meaty place because it gives them a jolt to come up with something and recognize the demand. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
It's not often you get to hang out with someone you're really intrigued by. So when Will.i.am invited me to visit him at home, I couldn't resist.
It's so important to keep a marriage alive with small treats and doing little things for each other. Just remembering to say nice things and to have listening time is vital. That ghastly phrase 'quality time' means taking three minutes to sit down and be still with someone rather than yelling over your shoulder as you rush out. Time ;Families, Children & Parenting
I've always used my hair for whatever it is needed for. I had it an inch long and jet black for a Pinter play I did. Changes you completely.
I've been dealing with the press for 45 years. You need a very long spoon to sup with them. While you are always grateful, they are like badly trained dogs. They smile and wag and bite your arm off.
I've got lots of good friends. I could have affairs. I can read a book all night, put the cat on the end of the bed. I can pick up my passport and go to France. I don't have to ask anybody.
I've had my run-ins with department stores, like Harrods, which stopped selling fur coats, but I found some there with fur trim, which is just as disgusting. Foie gras production is appalling - there's no excuse for selling it.
I've looked forward to being older because you will have that many more miles covered. We mustn't be led into thinking getting old is bad. Growing old is good.
I've never been interested enough to have a career trajectory. I've never had any ambition or thought of what I should be doing or had any idea of what I'd like to do. Never. And still don't. And if something comes along, I say 'Fine.'
I've never felt the constraints of social acceptability.
Learn from nature. Stuff lives and stuff dies all the time, you know. Animals and birds and flowers. Trees come and go, and we come and go. That's it. So we should all seize life and make the most of what we have while we can. Life ;Time ;Nature
My great-great-great uncle - or maybe it's only two 'greats' - crossbred the first Aberdeen Angus.
My mother early on taught us to respect all animals, and I mean all animals - not just cats and dogs but rats and snakes and spiders and fish and wildlife, so I really grew up believing they are just like us and just as deserving of consideration. Respect
NASA space scientists have been studying giraffe skin so they can apply what they learn from it to the construction of spacesuits.
Nobody tells you Rwanda looks like Tuscany with its tiled roofs.
Oh, I'm not beautiful. I can look beautiful; I can put beauty on. When I'm tired, I look bloody awful. I think I'm turning into the actress from 'Dynasty,' Linda Evans.
Our bodies will be recycled one way or another, but what about our ideas and minds and characters? Primordial soup? The bourne from which no traveller returns? Interesting and exciting.
People have always tut-tutted about actors stepping out of line politically. And I can sort of see it because what you've got your fame for is not being someone who can influence things, so it's cheating.
Romance is quite an overblown word. This idea of chocolates and champagne and that's it. There's more to love than that. Romance is quite a soppy word. Love is much more important. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
That's the staggering, humorous thing about money. If you haven't got taste, money doesn't matter: You'll always look ghastly. Money, Coins & Minting
The concept of Shwopping is so clever, I think. The idea is that every time someone goes shopping, they can take an unwanted item of clothing and pop it in the recycling bin in their M&S store for Oxfam. Time
The maddening thing is as actors of either sex, we get better as we get older, and so when you are 65, you think, 'I could play Juliet now. I understand it.'
The press have given me affairs I've never had and killed a few I did have. After a while, you learn.
There is something so quiet and so industrious, something so Viking about the Scots.
There was one 'crime' during the whole time I was at school, when a fountain pen went missing. Stealing just didn't happen. I was taught not to shoplift, not to steal, not to behave badly. We weren't even allowed to drop litter. Time
There's an appetite for vigour in films. The camera loves a bit of movement. Movement is usually attached to younger people and men, and that's just the way it is. I think that it's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's a fact that there aren't going to be masses and masses of roles for older women because there isn't the audience for it. Women
Though I was a mother at 21, being a grandmother makes the whole thing absolutely normal and gorgeous. The relief, the joy of being a grandmother is wonderful.
To be in something as iconic as a Dracula film, and to be playing Jessica van Helsing, who would have been Dracula's choice for a bride, through history and beyond the grave, was a thrill. History
Way back in the 1970s, I was eating a steak, and I looked down, and for the first time it suddenly looked like flesh to me - like a dead creature. In a flash, I realized that every time I ate any kind of meat, something had been killed for me, and I stopped eating all animals, not just cows and pigs but chickens and fish. Time
We met and married when both of us knew exactly what our jobs were. He was only 32, but he'd been all over the place. I'd been working on films and television shows all over the world.
We transported eight giraffes, and there are now nine because one gave birth to a male shortly afterwards. They carry their pregnancies very well-they all looked the same.
We've forgotten to respect clothes and consider who made them and where the material came from. We've been encouraged to buy things and, if we don't like them, bin them. When I grew up, we'd repair things or alter them. Respect
When I was trying to get into acting, to have been a model was about as low as you could get in the acting profession. But that wasn't sexism, it was snobbery, which I knew and took very humbly.
When you're young, you think life is forever, but it's finite. I'm 68, so even by the maddest measurements, I'm in the last bit of life. Life
Women are very different to men, and that hasn't been respected. So when people say there's never been a good woman painter or poet or engineer or whatever, they don't understand that our skills are many simultaneously and men's skills are single. Women
You can't be vain as an actor. In 'Ab Fab,' we were made up as old women with bald wigs and jowly necks, and we looked fantastic. Women
You have to feel more involved than just writing out a cheque. Charity is almost the wrong word - I think people are beginning to feel more responsible for the world.
You only have one go at life, which is thrilling. Only you can make yourself into who you want to be. Don't blame anybody else. You are entitled to free fresh air, and that's it. Do the rest yourself. Life
You see, there weren't these magazines like 'Heat' in my day. Always waiting to trip up these pretty girls and make them seem something horrible, something to make them look stupid and small and ugly and disgusting.