Oct. 11th, 1957
Holyhead, Wales, UK
Guest TV Roles
French was born in Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales to English parents Denys Vernon French and Felicity "Roma" O'Brien from Plymouth. She was educated at the independent St Dunstan's Abbey School (now absorbed by Plymouth College) boarding school on North Road West in Plymouth, Devon, England. She has a brother, Gary French, who was born in 1955. Her father, Denys (5 August 1932 – 11 September 1977),was a member of the Royal Air Force being stationed at RAF Valley. The RAF partly funded her private education.When her father was stationed at the former RAF Faldingworth, she attended Caistor Grammar School in Lincolnshire, boarding in the school's Lindsey house.She later won a debating scholarship that brought her to study at the Spence School in New York.
French has claimed that her self-confidence and self-belief stems from her father, who told her how beautiful she was each day. She stated, "He taught me to value myself. He told me that I was beautiful and the most precious thing in his life.He had a history of severe depression and attempted suicides but managed to conceal his illness from Dawn and her brother.He committed suicide in 1977 when French was nineteen and he was forty-five,having left the RAF.
She then went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977, where she met her future comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders.Both came from RAF backgrounds.They had grown up on the same base, even having had the same best friend,although never meeting.At first,as far as Saunders was concerned,French was a "cocky little upstart".The hatred was mutual: French considered Saunders snooty and aloof.The comic duo originally did not like each other as French actually wanted to become a drama teacher whereas Saunders loathed the idea and thus disliked French for being enthusiastic and confident about the course.
French and Saunders shared a flat whilst at college and were influenced to do comedy by their flatmates as part of their projects for college. After talking in depth for the first time, they came to be friends.During her time at the college, French also worked as a chambermaid to earn money.It was while at college that she broke up with her fiancé, David Smyth,a former Royal Navy Officer. After they graduated, they formed a double-act called The Menopause Sisters. Saunders has described the act,which involved wearing tampons in their ears, as "cringeworthy".The manager of the club where they performed recalled,"They didn't seem to give a damn. There was no star quality about them at all.French and Saunders would eventually come to public attention as members of The Comic Strip,part of the alternative comedy scene in the early 1980s.
French has also written a best-selling epistolary autobiography, entitled Dear Fatty. Released in 2008, French was paid a £1.5 million advancement for the book.On an appearance on The Paul O'Grady Show on 6 October 2008, French said that "Fatty" is her nickname for Jennifer Saunders.Dawn also said that she became great friends with Jennifer well before they started working together,which was "over 30 years ago"
* The Comic Strip (1982)
* Five Go Mad in Dorset (1982)
* Five Go Mad on Mescaline (1983)
* The Young Ones (1982-1984)
* Girls On Top (1985-1986)
* Happy Families (1985)
* French and Saunders (1987-2007)
* Murder Most Horrid (1991-1999)
* Absolutely Fabulous (1992)
* The Legends of Treasure Island (1993-1995)
* The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007)
* Sex & Chocolate (1997)
* Let Them Eat Cake (1999)
* Ted and Alice (2002)
* Wild West (2002-2004)
* Marple: Sleeping Murder (2005)
* Jam and Jerusalem (2006, 2008, 2009)
* Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy (2006)
* Little Britain Abroad (2006)
* Marple (2006)
* High Table (2007)
* The Meaning of Life (2007)
* Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy (2007)
* Lark Rise to Candleford (2008)
* Psychoville (2009)
* The Paul O'Grady Show (2009) [Guest Host]
* Alan Carr: Chatty Man (2009)
* Kate Bush - Experiment IV (Video)(1986)
* Roger & Val Have Just Got In (2010)
* Paul O'Grady Live (2010)
* Me and Mamie O'Rourke
* When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout
* All Souls' Night, Lyric Theatre
* Swan Lake (1996)
* Then Again (1997)
* Side By Side (1997)
* A Midsummer Night's Dream (2001)
* My Brilliant Divorce (2003)
* Smaller (2005)
* La fille du régiment (2007)
* Still Alive (2008-2009) the last comedy sketch show done by French and Saunders
- Has a deep and abiding interest in helping women of size find attractive clothing. Has thereby co-authored two books on knitting, "Big Knits" and "Great Big Knits" as well as founding a clothing store carrying fashionable and affordable designs.
- (December 2003) Was revealed that she and partner 'Jennifer Saunders' (qv) declined Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) honors "for services to comedy drama" in 2001.
- Has an adopted daughter named Billie.
- Measurements: 42DD-32-40 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
- She originally studied to be a drama teacher.
- The comedy partner of 'Jennifer Saunders' (qv)
- Claimed her bra size is 42H on "Al Murray's Happy Hour" Oct 2008.