Felicity Kendal (Actress)

felicity-kendal.jpgFelicity Ann Kendal, CBE (born 25 September 1946) is an English actor known in the United Kingdom for her television and stage work.

Born in 1946, Kendal spent much of her childhood in India, where her father managed a touring repertory company. First appearing on stage at the age of nine months, Kendal appeared in her first film, Shakespeare Wallah, in 1965.

Kendal began playing Barbara Good in The Good Life, the BBC sitcom in 1975. This made Kendal a household name. Later sitcoms where she was the lead did not achieve the popularity of The Good Life. In 2003, Kendal first played Rosemary Boxer in Rosemary & Thyme, a murder mystery drama that aired for three series ending in 2006.

Felicity Kendal was born in Olton, Warwickshire (now West Midlands), England, in 1946, and is the younger sister of Jennifer Kendal and the daughter of Geoffrey and Laura Kendal.

Her father was an English actor-manager who made his living leading a repertory company on tours of India after the Second World War. They would perform Shakespeare before royalty one day, and in rough rural villages the next where audiences included many schoolchildren.

Her father had adopted his birthplace of Kendal, then Westmorland now Cumbria, as his stage name, his original surname being Bragg. Felicity Kendal was educated at six convents in India.

Kendal made her stage debut aged nine months, when she was carried on stage as a changeling boy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Later she started her career proper at the age of 19 and starred in the Merchant Ivory film, Shakespeare Wallah (1965), loosely based on her family's real-life experiences.

At 21, Kendal returned to Britain against her father's wishes, where she found that her film appearance was not a passport to immediate success. She made her London stage debut in Minor Murder (1967), and went on to star in a number of well regarded plays.

In 1975 she got her big break on television with the BBC sitcom The Good Life, in which Kendal and Richard Briers played Tom and Barbara Good, a middle-class couple who decide to quit the rat-race and become self-sufficient, much to the consternation of their snooty, but well-meaning neighbours, played by Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

When the series ended in 1978, she starred in several other BBC sitcoms, including Solo, The Mistress and Honey for Tea, but none were as successful.

Kendal's stage career blossomed during the 1980s and 1990s when she formed a close professional association with Sir Tom Stoppard, starring in the first productions of many of his plays, including The Real Thing (1982), Hapgood (1988), Arcadia (1993), and Indian Ink (1995).

In 2002 Kendal starred in Charlotte Jones's play Humble Boy when it transferred from the National Theatre to the West End. In 2006 she starred in the West End play Amy's View by David Hare.

Her most recent television work was the ITV murder mystery series Rosemary & Thyme, in which she played gardener Rosemary Boxer, who, together with colleague and ex-policewoman Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris), solved mysteries near their various workplaces as landscape gardeners. The series ran from 2003 to 2006.

In 2008 she made a guest appearance in Doctor Who alongside David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp". Also in 2008 she appeared in the West End in a revival of Noel Coward's play The Vortex.

In 2009 she appeared in the play The Last Cigarette (by Simon Gray) and in 2010 in Mrs Warren's Profession (by Shaw). Both played at the Chichester Festival Theatre and subsequently in the West End.

In September 2010 it was announced that she would appear in the BBC series Strictly Come Dancing where she was partnered by Vincent Simone. However, they were voted out in the eighth week when the competition was staged in Blackpool.

Related Links:
Felicity Kendal on Wikipedia


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