This versatile comedienne and actress happily buries her own personality-and features-to create diverse characters in films and television. After receiving a scholarship to theatrical school at the age of twelve, she toured as a dancer and singer, eventually making a name for herself on stage and especially on television.
Her TV popularity led to her film debut, opposite Paul McCartney in Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984). Meanwhile, she scored four top-ten hits on the British pop charts, leading to the American hit single “They Don’t Know.” Fans who thought of her mostly as a singer and comedienne were then dazzled by her performance as Meryl Streep’s eccentric friend in Plenty (1985). She moved to America and starred in “The Tracey Ullman Show” (1987-90), playing a multitude of characters every week (and winning an Emmy in the process). She also appeared in Jumping Jack Flash (1986), had the lead-with a flawless American accent-in I Love You to Death (1990), and has costarred in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993, as a haggish witch), I’ll Do AnythingWoody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadwayand Robert Altman’s Ready to Wear/Pràt-ê-Porter (all 1994). She continues to star in cable TV specials that feature her talents as a chameleonlike comedienne.