Among the famous actresses of the world, there are those that prefer big screen project, others seem to resonate more with stage performances while another category of actresses prefers the small screen – this is where the English veteran actress, Josie Lawrence falls in.
Given her preference, don’t expect to see her in major blockbuster films; she is more like to be found either playing a role in some TV series, spending time to create an audiobook, lending her voice to an animated character or on some radio show. Here is a look at how far she’s come over the years. This article simply entails everything an avid fan of the prolific actress needs to know about her.
Josie Lawrence’s Early Life
Josie Lawrence is the name that she’s widely known with, but it may come as shocking to learn that the actress was actually given the name ‘Wendy Lawrence’ upon her birth on the 6th of June 1959 in Old Hill, Staffordshire, England. The reason for the name change was because someone else at the Equity, a group she had joined to begin her acting career, already went by the name.
Lawrence grew up in Cradley Heath with a loving family consisting of her parents and twin siblings – a brother named John and a sister named Janet, both born in 1949, making them a decade older than Josie. Her father, Bert Lawrence, was an employee of the UK automobile conglomerate, British Leyland; her mother, on the other hand, Kathleen (née Griffin) worked as a dinner/lunch lady.
Josie Lawrence, from the young age of five, made up her mind on a lifetime career as an actress. At the age of 16, she became a part of Oldbury’s Barlow Players. From 1978 to 1981, she attended college at Dartington College of Arts and graduated with a BA degree with honours.
In a career that spans multiple decades, Josie Lawrence has had many achievements to tout about. Her journey began on stage with her debut role in a Half Moon Theater’s production of the play The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists requiring her to play as a boy.
Concurrently, Josie Lawrence ran a career in stage and television. Towards the end of the 80s, she began to gain huge traction. Her improvisational skills saw her become a member of a couple of comedy troupes and this improv skill was what made her an outstanding guest at Channel 4’s comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway?
For her main role as Maggie Costello in the comedy-drama, Outside Edge, she received the Spectacle Wearer of the Year award in 1993. She appeared in the series until 1996 and also earned a British Comedy Awards nomination for Best TV Actress. Around this time, Josie Lawrence played the role of Katharine in the play The Taming of the Shrew which was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and for it, she earned a Dame Peggy Ashcroft award for Best Actress. Her notable stage credit includes the West End Production plays The King and I and Acorn Antiques: The Musical.
Josie Lawrence, among other roles, is particularly noted for playing the role of Manda Best in over 40 episodes (from 2009 to 2010) of the BBC soap opera, EastEnders.
A couple of tertiary institutions have honoured Lawrence for her contributions to the film industry, they are her alma mater Dartington College of Arts which honoured her with a doctorate. In 2004 and 2006 respectively, Lawrence was conferred with an honorary doctorate of letters from University of Wolverhampton, as well as the Aston University.
Josie Lawrence remains ever so active in her career, taking up acting roles in TV series as well as appearing as herself in a number of TV shows.
She Is Quite A Charitable person
‘Selfless’ is one of the adjectives that can rightly describe Josie Lawrence. Over the course of her career, Lawrence has dedicated a lot of time to charitable causes. She helped raise over half a million pounds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. As part of the cause, Lawrence trekked across China, Cuba, Peru, and Tanzania for 8 months in 2008, all the while having her knees protected with the help of a knee brace.
A supporter of the National Autistic Society, Lawrence is also passionate about helping kids with autism and has donated tens of thousands of pounds to support kids living with the defect, her primary beneficiary being the special school, Sunfield.
Her Romantic And Personal Life
Josie Lawrence is, surprisingly, a single woman and has once on TV, talked about how difficult it has been for her to explain her marital status to people. However, for companionship, Lawrence owns a couple of cats named Aynuk and Ayli after the characters from Black Country.