The Acting Profession

The complete list of all those I am aware of will be completed in due course.

Sue Johnston (Actress) 1943-

Born 7 Dec 1943

Susan Johnston OBE (née Wright) is an English actress. She is known for portraying Sheila Grant in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside (1982–1990), Barbara Royle in the BBC comedy The Royle Family (1998–2000, 2006–2012), Grace Foley in the BBC drama Waking the Dead (2000–2011), Gloria Price in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street (2012–2014) and Miss Denker in the ITV drama Downton Abbey (2014–2015). She won the 2000 British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actress and was nominated for the 2000 BAFTA TV Award for Best Comedy Performance for The Royle Family.

Early life

Johnston was born on 7 December 1943 in Warrington, Lancashire, and grew up in Prescot, also in Lancashire. She is the daughter of Fred and Margaret Jane Wright (née Cowan).

After working as a Higher Grade tax inspector, when her boyfriend was one of the pop group The Swinging Blue Jeans, she worked for Brian Epstein. From the age of 21, Johnston attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Johnston made her television debut, aged 38, with a minor recurring role on Coronation Street in the summer of 1982, playing the role of Mrs. Chadwick, the wife of a bookmaker.

From 1982 to 1990, she appeared as Sheila Grant in the soap opera Brookside. She appeared in the show’s debut episode on 2 November 1982 – broadcast on the first day Channel 4 went on air – and her last episode was aired in September 1990, when the character was written out of the series following her divorce from Bobby Grant (Ricky Tomlinson) and remarriage to Billy Corkhill (John McArdle).

Since then she has appeared in many drama series and films, including Inspector MorseHetty Wainthropp InvestigatesBrassed Off and My Uncle Silas. In 1992, Johnston appeared in the three-part award-winning drama Goodbye Cruel World, in which she portrayed a woman coming to terms with a muscle-wasting illness.

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1998, when she was surprised by Michael Aspel at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Johnston may be best known as Barbara Royle in the BBC comedy series The Royle Family, appearing with her former on-screen husband in Brookside, Ricky Tomlinson, from the show’s inception in September 1998 until it ended at Christmas 2000. She also appeared in a one-off special which aired in October 2006. From 2000 to 2011, she starred in the television series Waking the Dead, in which she played the role of psychological profiler Grace Foley, alongside Trevor Eve.

In 2004, she appeared in one episode of the series, Who Do You Think You Are?, in which she traced her family tree. She visited the now-demolished Railway Club next to Warrington Central Station as part of that programme.

She starred in Jennifer Saunders’s comedy drama Jam & Jerusalem on BBC One, alongside Joanna Lumley, Maggie Steed and David Mitchell. The first series aired in 2006, the second series began on New Year’s Day 2008 and the third in August 2009. Also in 2008, she played Affery Flintwinch in the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit. In May 2008 it was confirmed Johnston would return as Barbara Royle for another episode of The Royle Family, which aired on Christmas Day 2008 on BBC One. The show returned for further Christmas specials in 2009, 2010 and 2012. She shared a role with Billie Piper in the television adaptation of A Passionate Woman which aired on BBC One on 11 April 2010.

On 2 April 2012, Coronation Street series producer Phil Collinson announced Johnston had joined the soap opera as Gloria, the mother of Stella Price (played by Michelle Collins). She made her first screen appearance on 5 September 2012. It was announced in June 2013 that Johnston would leave the soap opera in 2014 to pursue other acting roles. She departed on 21 February 2014.

In December 2011, she played Eileen Lewis in the BBC one-off drama Lapland, a role which she reprised in 2013 for a series, Being Eileen.

In May 2014 it was announced that Johnston would guest star in the fifth series of the period drama Downton Abbey. She played Denker, a lady’s maid to the Dowager Countess, played by Dame Maggie Smith.

In 2018 Johnston played Ivy-Rae in the BBC drama series, Age Before Beauty and in August 2019, she played Joan in the second series of Hold the Sunset.

Personal life

Johnston is a supporter of the Labour Party and has been an outspoken gay rights campaigner. She is a supporter of Liverpool F.C. and St Helens R.F.C.

In 1967, she married her first husband Neil Johnston and became pregnant at the age of 24. She suffered a miscarriage shortly after and the couple later divorced but she kept his surname as her professional name. She has one son, Joel, from her second marriage to David Pammenter. She has two grandchildren.

Johnston was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours. In November 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Chester at Chester Cathedral.

In 1989 Johnston, assisted by Lesley Thomson, published her first book, a memoir titled Hold on to the Messy Times. In 2011, she published another memoir titled Things I Couldn’t Tell My Mother.

In 1970, Johnston was sexually attacked at the age of 27 which inspired her storyline in Brookside as Sheila Grant, where she was raped.

In her autobiography, Things I Couldn’t Tell My Mother, she states that she was originally going to be called Margaret Jane Wright, after her mother and grandmother, but her father thought that it would be best to call her Susan.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Tim Curry (Actor and Singer) 1946

Born 19 Apr 1946

Timothy James Curry  is an English actor and singer. He was born in Grappenhall, south Warrington, the son of school secretary Patricia (died June 1999) and Royal Navy chaplain James Curry. His father died from pneumonia in 1958, when Curry was 12 years old. His elder sister, Judith, was a concert pianist who died of a brain tumour in 2001.

Curry spent most of his childhood in Plymouth. After his father’s death, his family moved to South London, where he went to boarding school before attending Kingswood School in Bath, Somerset. He developed into a talented boy soprano (treble). Deciding to concentrate on acting, he graduated from the University of Birmingham with a combined BA in English and drama in 1968.

Acting

Rocky Horror

Curry’s first full-time role was as part of the original London cast of the musical Hair in 1968, where he met Richard O’Brien, who went on to write Curry’s next full-time role, that of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (1973). Curry recalled his first encounter with the project:

I’d heard about the play because I lived on Paddington Street, off Baker Street, and there was an old gym a few doors away. I saw Richard O’Brien in the street, and he said he’d just been to the gym to see if he could find a muscleman who could sing. I said, “Why do you need him to sing?” [laughs] And he told me that his musical was going to be done, and I should talk to Jim Sharman. He gave me the script, and I thought, “Boy, if this works, it’s going to be a smash.”

Originally, Curry rehearsed the character with a German accent and peroxide blond hair, and later, with an American accent. In March 2005, in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air, he explains that he decided to play Dr. Frank-N-Furter with an English accent after listening to an English woman say, “Do you have a house in town or a house in the country”, and decided, “Yes, [Dr. Frank-N-Furter] should sound like the Queen”.

Curry originally thought the character was merely a laboratory doctor dressed in a white lab coat. However, at the suggestion of director Sharman, the character evolved into the diabolical mad scientist and transvestite with an upper-class Belgravia accent. This change carried over to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which made Curry a household name and gave him a cult following. He continued to play the character in London, Los Angeles, and New York City until 1975.

In an interview with NPR, Curry called Rocky Horror a “rite of passage”, and added that the film is “a guaranteed weekend party to which you can go with or without a date and probably find one if you don’t have one, and it’s also a chance for people to try on a few roles for size, you know? Figure out, help them maybe figure out their own sexuality”.

In 2016, Curry played The Criminologist in the television film remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Theatre

Shortly after the end of Rocky Horror‘s run on Broadway, Curry returned to the stage with Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, which ran in London and New York from 1975 to 1976. Travesties was a Broadway hit. It won two Tony Awards (Best Performance by an Actor for John Wood and Best Comedy), as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award (Best Play), and Curry’s performance as the famous dadaist Tristan Tzara received good reviews.

In 1981, Curry formed part of the original cast in the Broadway show Amadeus, playing the title character, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was nominated for his first Tony Award (Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play) for this role but lost out to his co-star Ian McKellen, who played Antonio Salieri. In 1982, Curry took the part of the Pirate King in the Drury Lane production of Joe Papp’s version of The Pirates of Penzance opposite George Cole, earning enthusiastic reviews.

In the mid-1980s, Curry performed in The Rivals and in several plays with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, including The Threepenny OperaDalliance and Love For Love. In 1988, Curry did the national tour of Me and My Girl as the lead role of Bill Snibson, a role originated on Broadway by Robert Lindsay and followed by Jim Dale.

In 2004, Curry began his role of King Arthur in Spamalot in Chicago. Written by Monty Python member Eric Idle and based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the show successfully moved to Broadway in February 2005. It sold more than $1 million worth of tickets in its first 24 hours. His performance brought him a third Tony nomination, again for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Curry reprised this role at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End, where Spamalot opened on 16 October 2006. His final performance came on 6 January 2007. He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award as the Best Actor in a Musical for the role, and also won the Theatregoers’ Choice Award (getting 39% of the votes cast by over 12,000 theatregoers) as Best Actor in a Musical.

Television

Curry started off his career with small roles in television series, such as Eugene in Napoleon and Love, and guest roles in Armchair Theatre and Play for Today including as ‘Glen’ in Dennis Potter’s “Schmoedipus”.

Curry also appeared in the “Dead Dog Records” storyline of the television series crime drama Wiseguy, as Winston Newquay. He also had recurring roles on the short-lived science fiction television series Earth 2 and the sitcom Rude Awakening.

He has also guest starred on other series such as The Tracey Ullman ShowRoseanneTales from the Crypt (which earned him an Emmy award nomination), The Naked TruthLexxMonkWill & GracePsychAgatha Christie’s Poirot and Criminal Minds.

Curry also performed in many television films and miniseries, including Three Men in a Boat, the titular role in Will Shakespeare, playing the role of Bill Sikes in a television adaptation of Oliver TwistBlue MoneyThe Worst WitchTitanicTerry Pratchett’s The Colour of MagicAliceJackie’s BackReturn to Cranford, and many more.

Voice acting

Curry has appeared in such animated television series and films, starting with the performance of the Serpent in The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. Curry won a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance as Captain Hook in the Fox animated series Peter Pan and the Pirates. His longest-running animated role was as Nigel Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys, which ran for five seasons on Nickelodeon.

Curry was mainly known for villainous roles in animated series such as MAL in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Skullmaster in Mighty Max, the Evil Manta in The Little Mermaid, Dr Anton Sevarius in Gargoyles, Klokan in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, George Herbert Walker ‘King’ Chicken in Duckman, Taurus Bullba in Darkwing Duck, Lord Dragaunus in The Mighty Ducks, as various characters Dinosaurs and many others.

Music

Aside from his performances on various soundtrack records, Curry has had some success as a solo musical artist. Curry received classical vocal training as a boy. He has mentioned that his musical influences included jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong and idolised the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as a teenager. In 1978, A&M Records released Curry’s debut solo album Read My Lips.

His second most successful album Fearless was released in 1980. The record included Curry’s only US charting songs: “I Do the Rock” and “Paradise Garage”.

Curry’s third and final album, Simplicity, was released in 1981, again by A&M Records. This record, which did not sell as well as the previous offerings, combined both original songs and cover versions. Still, it was the only Curry recording to hit the charts in Canada, reaching #45 on the album chart. The writing, production, and musician roster for Curry’s solo albums included an impressive list of collaborators, including Bob Ezrin, Dick Wagner, and David Sanborn.

In 1989, A&M released The Best of Tim Curry on CD and cassette, featuring songs from his albums (including a live version of “Alan”) and a previously unreleased song, a live cover version of Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate”.

Personal life

Curry has resided in Los Angeles since 1988.

Curry has used a wheelchair since suffering a major stroke in July 2012. This has shifted his work mostly to voice acting, although he has continued to perform as a singer and make appearances at fan conventions.

In October 2020, Curry reprised his role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a live table reading of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in support of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to raise funds for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Gabriella Leon (Actress) 1966-

Born 29 Mar 1966

Gabriella Leon is an English actress, known for her role as Jade Lovall in the BBC medical drama series Casualty. Leon is deaf and portrayed the first regular deaf character on Casualty. For her portrayal of Jade, she was nominated for a TRIC Award for Soap Actor of the Year.

She was born in Warrington, is “moderately deaf”, and has learnt British Sign Language. She attended Cardinal Newman High School and Priestley College, both in Warrington, later training as an actress at East 15 Acting School. After graduating in 2016 with a BA (Hons) from East 15, Leon began working with theatre company We Are Kilter.

Career

Leon made her professional debut as Julia in a show at the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. In 2015, she made her screen debut as Maria Alpert in the drama film Connections: The Marcello Story. She then continued to make stage appearances in productions such as Little Revolution (2015), Tesla (2016), The Lesson (2017) and Close (2018). Her performance in The Others (2018), which she devised, was praised by critics, with Jeremy Mortimer of BBC Radio describing it as “brilliant and inventive”.

In May 2018, Leon auditioned for the role of Jade Lovall in the BBC medical drama series Casualty; she was informed in July of that year that she had got the role, and began filming later that month. Her casting was announced on 4 October 2018, and she made her debut appearance on 3 November 2018. She described her character as a “bolshie, chaotic loveable rogue, with a lot of her own flaws. She’s a little work-shy and plays by her own rules. She wants to get things right when wanting to impress her mentors but is clumsy. She’s cheeky, a real party girl and great fun to be around – if you’re on the right side of her! I think she’s funny though and also very relatable.” Leon portrays the first regular deaf character on Casualty, and in an interview with Inside Soap, she said: “It is so lovely to play someone like me. I’m able to add such depth and understanding to Jade, having experienced most of what she has experienced regarding her disability. I feel proud to be the first disabled regular in the show’s history.” In 2021, Leon received a nomination for Soap Actor of the Year for her portrayal of Jade. In September 2021, Leon departed from the cast of Casualty. Then in February 2022, she portrayed the role of Pollie Grisham in an episode of the BBC series Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Warren Brown (Actor) 1978-

Born 11 May 1978

Warren Martin Brown is an English actor and former professional Thai boxer, best known for his roles as Donny Maguire in Shameless and Andy Holt in Hollyoaks, DS Justin Ripley in the BBC crime drama Luther and as Sergeant Thomas “Mac” McAllister in the British-American action television series Strike Back, starting with Strike Back: Retribution.

Brown was born in Warrington and studied at the University of Salford.

Career

After appearing in two episodes of the television series Shameless, Warren played the evil Andy Holt in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Despite being 27 years old at the time, it was said his youthful good looks and diminutive height helped him win the role of the student.

Brown was nominated for a number of awards for his performance in the show including Best Villain, Most Spectacular Scene, and Best Exit at the 2006 British Soap Awards. Brown’s character Holt met his demise in February 2006.

Brown won a role in the short-lived ITV show Jane Hall in the summer of 2006. This was followed in March 2007 by his role as Tommo in ITV’s Mobile. Also in 2007 he starred as Chris in one episode of Casualty. In September 2007 he starred in the second series of BBC Three’s Grownups, playing barman Alex Salade and has played the part since. In the 2009 Comic Relief Special of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, which was a crossover between GrownupsTwo Pints and Coming of Age, he played Alex again.

In 2008, Brown performed the voiceover for the film trailer of Gomez: A True Story, based on the life of boxer Michael Gomez and starring Emmerdale’s Kelvin Fletcher. In October 2008, Brown played the role of Marky in E4’s zombie drama Dead Set. In November 2008, he appeared in Casualty, but not playing the same character as he did in 2007. In 2009 Brown appeared in the three part BBC Iraq war drama Occupation, alongside James Nesbitt and Stephen Graham Brown, has appeared in two episodes of The Bill playing Jake Clegg, who was a part of the operation of trafficking young girls illegally. These episodes were titled “The Forgotten Child”.

From May 2010, he appeared as the regular character of DS Justin Ripley in the BBC drama Luther, a role that he reprised in June 2011 in the second series of Luther. Brown left the series in 2013. Brown appears in the deadmau5 music video for the song “I Remember”, also starring Stephen Graham, Aston Kelly (Graham’s brother), Greg Walsh and ex-Coronation Street actress Emma Edmondson. In October 2010, Brown appeared as Matt in the BBC drama Single Father. In February 2012, he played one of the main characters in the BBC drama series Inside Men. He appeared as a member of Bane’s Mercenary Security in The Dark Knight Rises, the third instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

First broadcast in August 2012, Brown starred as PC John-Paul Rocksavage in the four-part BBC police drama Good Cop. From 2017, he plays Sergeant Thomas “Mac” McAllister in Retribution, the British-American action television series, in the sixth series and second revamp of Strike Back opposite Daniel MacPherson. The eighth series finished filming and aired in February 2020.

Brown has appeared in many audio dramas for the company Big Finish Productions, the most notable of which including a recurring role in their UNIT series, a spin-off based around the military organisation that regularly appeared in Doctor Who, since 2016, and playing Keith Burrow in Big Finish’s original 8 part thriller ‘Transference’. In 2020, Brown would make his debut appearance in the Television series in the episode Praxeus albeit as a different character, former police officer Jake Willis, who was looking for his husband.

Boxing

Brown has competed at world-level in Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and is a two-time World Champion.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

George Sampson (Dancer and Actor) 1993-

Born 29 Jun 1993

George William Sampson is an English street dancer, television presenter, singer, and actor. He was born in Warrington and won the second series of Britain’s Got Talent on 31 May 2008 at the age of 14. He is an official ambassador of the United Dance Organisation.

Britain’s Got Talent

2007 series

In 2007, dance teacher Dominic Chambers told Sampson that there were auditions in the area that would be right up his alley. He discovered he’d be auditioning for the first series of Britain’s Got Talent only when he arrived. In his audition, he danced to “Drop” (Timbaland featuring Magoo & Fatman Scoop), receiving a yes vote from all three judges. However, despite Simon Cowell’s enthusiasm, he was unable to convince the other two judges, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan, to let Sampson proceed to the live semi-finals. This experience made Sampson determined to re-audition the following year and prove Holden and Morgan wrong. In the intervening time, he continued dancing on the streets of Manchester to improve his technique, and to raise money for his family.

2008 series

In 2008, Sampson returned to, and successfully got through the first round of Britain’s Got Talent series 2 auditions by dancing to “Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)”. He then came top in the audience’s vote in his semi-final with his arrangement of Mint Royale’s big beat remix of “Singin’ in the Rain”, complete with an artificial rain machine on-stage, a formula that had previously been produced in a television advertisement for the Volkswagen Golf GTI. He subsequently won the audience’s vote in the final, beating dance duo Signature (second place) and Andrew Johnston (third place). He broke into tears when his win was announced. Sampson was due to perform a different routine for the final, to a track by the Bee Gees, which he described as involving “a lot of movement without me actually doing anything”. An hour before the final started he changed his mind and, after consulting Simon Cowell, opted to re-perform his winning act from the semi-final.

The Mint Royale version of “Singin’ in the Rain” went to number 1 in the UK on download sales alone in the week following Sampson’s performance and Cowell’s label Syco had several requests for a video.

In an interview the day after the final, George Sampson told of his return to normality the Monday after the event.

After Britain’s Got Talent

On 20 July 2008, Sampson was a guest on stage at the T4 on the Beach music festival at Weston-super-Mare beach teaching presenters Steve Jones and Rick Edwards how to dance.

On 4 August 2008, Sampson made his stage debut in the West End hip-hop musical Into the Hoods. With some exceptions, he appeared in the show until it closed on 30 August. Of his new role, he said: “This year is getting better and better – Into the Hoods show is funky and young and I love the music in it – I can’t wait to get dancing on that stage!” Into the Hoods played at the Novello Theatre in London and features music from popular artists such as Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Basement Jaxx and many more. Sampson appeared as one of the lost boys.

On 18 November 2008, it was announced that Cowell’s record company and Bebo would work together to make an online television show called Follow My Lead, which would include some dance move tutorials by Sampson, but also a behind-the-scenes view of events and rehearsals. They previously worked together to create a similar show with Leon Jackson.

On 23 January 2009, Sampson helped to promote the new Nokia 5800 phone in London’s Regent Street. He handed over the first Nokia 5800 sold and performed a live dance routine to “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic which he choreographed to go with a touch-sensitive dance floor.

On 29 January, he launched the game Battle Strikers at Toy Fair 09. He also designed a plate for Blue Peter’s Mission Nutrition appeal.

On 7 and 14 March, he hosted a ‘Street Dance Weekend’ at the Alton Towers Resort as part of their new family-themed weekends, alongside street crew Flava. Fans could attend workshops to learn one of his routines and dance alongside him.

On 28 May, Sampson was the guest star at the third Britain’s Got Talent semi-final and performed before the results were announced. He also was a guest star in Britain’s Got Talent: the Live Tour 2009 and he said that Nottingham was his favourite on 20 June 2009.

On 26 June 2009, Sampson became a Patron of Dance Aid organised by the UK registered charity Hope and Homes for Children.

Acting career

On 2 February 2011, Sampson joined the cast of the BBC drama series Waterloo Road. His character, a 17-year-old student named Kyle Stack, first appeared in the second half of the sixth series in February 2011.

In 2012 he joined the cast of Mount Pleasant in its second series. He also starred in the feature film StreetDance 2 as Eddie. He has also appeared in Friday Download (series 3, episode 1). Sampson appeared in the Pantomime Peter Pan, as the lead role of Peter Pan, performed in Derby from 5 December until 6 January.

In 2013 Sampson returned to Waterloo Road as now 19-year-old Kyle Stack in episode 30. Kyle was last seen when character Simon Lowsley took him away from the roof he was about to jump from, so it was unknown what had happened to Kyle. He had a minor role in a 28th-season episode of the TV series Casualty. He danced in the documentary The Nation’s Favourite Dance Moment, a television film which aired in June. George also starred in a pantomime, as Jack, in Jack and the Beanstalk at The Playhouse Theatre in Weston-super-Mare.

Sampson continued his television career by acting in Season 2, Episode 5 of The Dumping Ground on CBBC in 2014. He acted again in season four of Mount Pleasant but later left the role.

He joined the cast of Emmerdale in January 2016 and made his on screen debut the following month, when he played a character named Ryan who became involved in Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller)’s child sex abuse storyline.

Sampson appeared as the character Reecey in the 2018 tour of Our House (musical). He is currently playing the role of Dean in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.