An acclaimed British actress noted for her portrayals of high-strung females, Jane Lapotaire has more or less concentrated on the stage but has offered memorable turns in features and TV programs. Bor...
Supported Laurence Olivier in the National Theatre production of "The Merchant of Venice"
Played "Piaf" in syndicated TV version
Played the servant Charmian in "Antony and Cleopatra", directed and adapted by and starring Charlton Heston
Had featured role in ABC miniseries "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story"
Played Cleopatra in "Anthony and Cleopatra" on the PBS broadcast of "The Shakespeare Plays"
Starred as Maria Callas in "Master Class" on tour in the United Kingdom; tour interrupted when she underwent emergency brain surgery
Abandoned at age three months by her teenage mother and raised by her "Gran"
Moved to the Prospect Theatre Company
Toured USA in RSC production of "Henry VIII", playing Katherine of Aragon
Recreated London stage role of "Piaf" on Broadway; received Tony Award as Best Actress in a Play
American TV-movie debut "To Catch a King" (HBO)
Played title role in British TV production, "Marie Curie"
Played the artist's first wife in the Merchant-Ivory film "Surviving Picasso"
Had career breakthrough role in stage play "Piaf"
Returned to the RSC for three years
Spent one year with RSC
Became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
Rejoined the RSC as company member
Had early film role in "Isadora"
After mother's marriage, "adopted" by stepfather when she was 12 years old (date approximate)
Member of Bristol Old Vic Company; made professional stage debut in "When We Were Married"
Co-starred with Nigel Hawthorne in the London production of "Shadowlands"
Joined the National Theatre, London
An acclaimed British actress noted for her portrayals of high-strung females, Jane Lapotaire has more or less concentrated on the stage but has offered memorable turns in features and TV programs. Born and raised in Ipswitch, she was trained for the stage at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, joining their company in 1965. After two seasons, Lapotaire moved to the newly-formed National Theatre where she distinguished herself in secondary roles. She moved up to leading lady as one of the co-founders of the Young Vic Theatre, undertaking Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew" and Jocasta in "Oedipus" (both 1970-71). After a decade spent playing leads in many of Shakespeare's comedies, Lapotaire landed the breakthrough role of Edith Piaf in Pam Gems' acclaimed "Piaf". Fully capturing the petite chanteuse, she earned numerous accolades and traveled to the USA to recreate the role on Broadway in 1981. (The show was filmed and aired in syndication.) Since her acclaimed turn, she has continued to create finely etched characters in plays as varied as "Shadowlands" (1989-90), "Ghosts" (1993) and "Henry VIII" (1998).<p>After a bit role in the biopic "Isadora" (1968), Lapotaire made an impression as the doomed French maid in the thriller "Crescendo" (1969). She again played a servant, this time the handmaiden Charmian to Hildegard Neff's Queen of the Nile in Charlton Heston's film adaptation of "Antony and Cleopatra" (1971). Among her other occasional forays into film are the title role in the 1977 TV biopic "Marie Curie", the alcoholic wife of a wealthy man (Gene Hackman) in "Eureka" (1983), a troubled Mary Tudor in "Lady Jane" (1986) and the Russian-born wife of the phlegmatic artist in "Surviving Picasso" (1996).
had son together; divorced c. 1978
born c. 1972; father, Roland Joffe
British; had fling with visiting American serviceman as a teenager and became pregnant with Lapotaire; abandoned daughter at age of three months; after marriage to Yves Lapotaire, reclaimed 12-year-old daughter; was an alcoholic; died in 1999