Joanna Lamond Lumley, OBE, FRGS (born 1 May 1946) is an English actress, voice-over artist, former model and author, who starred in the British television series Absolutely Fabulous as Edina Monsoon's best friend, Patsy Stone, as well as in The New Avengers, Sapphire & Steel, Jam & Jerusalem and Sensitive Skin. In film she has appeared in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) and James and the Giant Peach (1996).
She later appeared in Maybe Baby (2000), Ella Enchanted (2004) and Corpse Bride (2005). She appears alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the upcoming Martin Scorsese crime drama, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). She has also appeared in several stage roles and in 2011 was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in La Bête.
She has spoken out as a human rights activist for Survival International and the Gurkha Justice Campaign and is now considered a "national treasure" of Nepal because of her support. She is an advocate for a number of charities and animal welfare groups such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians' International Voice for Animals. She also won the Special Recognition Award at The National Television Awards in 2013.
As of July 2012, she is planning, in collaboration with the designer Thomas Heatherwick, a pedestrian bridge across the Thames in London, 'Garden Bridge'. This is planned to feature trees and gardens.
Joanna Lamond Lumley was born on 1 May 1946 in Srinagar, in the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, which was then part of British India. Her parents were Major James Rutherford-Lumley, who served in the 6th Gurkha Rifles, a regiment of the British Indian Army, and Beatrice Rose Weir. They married in 1941.
After the independence of India in 1947, the Lumleys moved to Kent, England. The family also spent time in Malaya (now Malaysia). Lumley was educated at St Mary's Convent School in St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England, and afterwards attended the Lucie Clayton Finishing School, after being turned down by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 16.
Lumley spent three years as a photographic model, notably for Brian Duffy by whom she was photographed with her son. She also worked as a house model for Jean Muir. Over forty years later, she participated in another photoshoot – again with her son – for Duffy as part of a retrospective of the photographer's work.
Lumley appeared in an early episode of the Bruce Forsyth Show in 1966. She appeared in a British television advertisement for Nimble bread first screened in 1969. Lumley did not receive any formal training at drama school. Her acting career began in 1969 with a small role in the film Some Girls Do and as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service; she played the English girl among Blofeld's 'Angels of Death' and had two lines. She went on to have a brief but memorable role in Coronation Street, in which her character turned down Ken Barlow's offer of marriage. She appeared as "Jessica" on the big screen in The Satanic Rites of Dracula, released in the UK on 13 January 1974, which was the last of Hammer Film's Dracula series starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
She has worked with Tim Burton on two film projects, in James and the Giant Peach (1996) and Corpse Bride (2005). She has also appeared alongside Hugh Laurie in the British romantic comedy Maybe Baby (2000) and alongside Anne Hathaway in Ella Enchanted (2004).
She has appeared twice in Agatha Christie's Marple, in the episodes; 'The Body in the Library' (2004) & 'The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side' (2009). In 2010 she appeared in a 4-episode guest arc on the BBC drama, Mistresses as Vivienne Roden.
In 2012 she was cast in the Martin Scorsese crime drama, The Wolf of Wall Street.