Tracey Ullman (born Trace Ullman; 30 December 1959) is a British-American actress, comedian, singer, writer, producer and director. Her earliest mainstream appearances were on British television sketch comedy shows A Kick Up the Eighties (with Rik Mayall and Miriam Margolyes) and Three of a Kind (with Lenny Henry and David Copperfield). After a brief singing career, she appeared as Candice Valentine in Girls on Top with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.She emigrated from the United Kingdom to the United States, where she starred in her own network television comedy series, The Tracey Ullman Show, from 1987 until 1990, which also featured the first appearances of the long-running animated media franchise The Simpsons. She later produced programmes for HBO, including Tracey Takes On... (1996–99), for which she garnered numerous awards. Her sketch comedy series Tracey Ullman's State of the Union ran from 2008 to 2010 on Showtime. She has also appeared in several feature films. Ullman was the first British woman to be offered her own television sketch show in both the United Kingdom and the United States.In 2016, she returned to British television with the BBC sketch comedy show Tracey Ullman's Show, her first project for the broadcaster in over thirty years. This led to the creation of the topical comedy series Tracey Breaks the News in 2017.Ullman is currently the richest British actress and female comedian and the third-richest British comedian overall.
Ullman married producer Allan McKeown in 1983. They had two children: Mabel, born in 1986, and Johnny, born in 1991. Mabel worked as assistant to former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman; she stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party in 2015, and subsequently became a charity director. Johnny is an actor and currently writes for The Late Late Show with James Corden. On 24 December 2013, Allan McKeown died at home from prostate cancer, three days before their 30th wedding anniversary. Ullman's mother died in a fire at her flat on 23 March 2015. An inquest ruled the death to be accidental. She was 85 years old. On 18 September 2018, Ullman revealed that her daughter was pregnant and that she was about to be a grandmother for the first time.Ullman became an American citizen in December 2006 and holds dual citizenship in the United States and the United Kingdom. The results of the 2004 United States presidential election, and a comment made by actor Tom Hanks, prompted her desire to naturalise. "Tom Hanks was standing in a corridor at a party and I said something, and he was just very nice and he went, 'Oh, yeah. I know that but you're British. You know, you don't have to put up with that stuff ... I went, 'No. Actually I've been here a long time.' I thought, that's it. I'm going to join in. So I took the [citizenship] test".In 2006, she topped the list for the "Wealthiest British Comedians", with an estimated wealth of £75 million. In 2015, Ullman's wealth was estimated to be £77 million, making her the wealthiest British actress and female comedian. In 2017, The Sunday Times increased it to £80 million.She has described herself as a British republican. "Even as a kid, I never got why we pay people millions of pounds to be better than us." On a particular incident: "An MP once suggested I be put in the Tower of London for saying derogatory things about the royals."An avid knitter, she co-wrote a knitting book, Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun in 2006.
Tracey Ullman was born Trace Ullman in Slough, Buckinghamshire (now Berkshire), the younger of two daughters, to Doreen (née Cleaver) and Antoni John Ullman. Her mother was British, with Roma ancestry, and her father was a Roman Catholic Pole. On the subject of the spelling of her name: "My real name is Trace Ullman, but I added the 'y.' My mother said it was spelled the American way, but I don't think she can spell! I always wanted a middle name. My mum used to tell me it was Mary but I never believed her. I looked on my birth certificate and I didn't have one, just Trace Ullman."Antoni Ullman served in the Polish Army and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. He subsequently worked as a solicitor, a furniture salesman, and a travel agent. He also brokered marriages and translated among the émigré Polish community. Doreen and Anthony recognized their younger daughter's talents early on and encouraged her to perform.In an interview with Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Ullman revealed that, when she was six, her father, who had been recovering from a heart operation, died of a heart attack in front of her while the two were alone and as he was reading to her. "When that happens to you as a child, you can face anything. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. If something great happens, you're like, 'Wow, that's great that happened, because it could have been crap'. The most disappointing thing happened when you were younger [...] You're just braver and if good things happen you're really grateful."Ullman, who had been living an upper-middle-class life, was uprooted to Hackbridge, southwest London, along with her older sister Patti and her mother, who could now barely make ends meet without their father's income. "After [Dad] died, our fortunes came and went because Mum couldn't speak Polish and had to give up the business. When I meet other girls who lost their fathers when they were young, I really relate to them. You become independent quickly; I could cope with anything because of that terrible loss." Doreen would go on to take a variety of odd jobs. "My mother was always doing strange things like driving parts around for a garage, all covered in oil and paid 10 pounds a week. But she was very funny, and our defence against hardship was having a great sense of humour." On a separate occasion, on the subject of her mother's jobs, Ullman recalled: "[Mum] worked in a laboratory, testing food, and would bring home samples for our dinner. Sometimes she'd have to report that formula X had been found unfit for human consumption." One of her mother's jobs enabled Ullman to indulge in her penchant for observing people. "My mum used to work in a mental institution in London when I was a kid, and I used to go there on Sundays, and I used to love studying the people there." Her mother maintained that their family was still middle-class in the absence of their father. "My mother always insisted on middle-class because we had money at one time. We're really lower-middle."Ullman credits her sense of humour to a feeling of classlessness as well as her mother's working-class roots. "It comes from being classless, I think. My father was Polish and he died when I was six. And from being a little girl who went to gymkhana and had ponies, and went to a private school, and lived in a big house we suddenly didn't have any money any more and had to go to a state school. And my mother's family is all from South London, and we have a lot of uncles and friends over there. And when my father died they were very supportive, and they used to come down for the weekend - all these hordes of South London oiks. They used to invade our big Posh Bucks home and use the swimming pool, ride the ponies, and they were so funny these blokes; they really affected my sense of humour ... But I think the man who really affected my sense of humour was my uncle Butch, he was called Butch Castle. He was a decorator from South London - lazy old sod. An he's got the sharpest mind I've ever known; he's so hysterically funny. And I wanted to be like him."In the aftermath of their father's death, their mother slipped into a deep depression and spent a lot of time in bed. In an effort to cheer her up, Ullman, along with her sister, created and performed a nightly variety show on the windowsill in their mother's bedroom. "It was originally the Patti Ullman Show. So I'm a spin-off of my sister's show, as she likes to point out". In the show, Ullman would mimic neighbours, teachers, family members, and celebrities such as Julie Andrews and Édith Piaf. "Some kids can play the piano or kick a football; I could just impersonate everyone." She would also perform alone for herself after everyone had gone to bed. "I'd stand in front of the mirror and talk to myself until I fell asleep. I'd interview myself as women with problems. Women in documentaries who had three kids and chain-smoked and husbands in prison that hit them." She was particularly interested in Ken Loach films; films such as Cathy Come Home, which she as a child believed was a real documentary and would reenact. Her mother would eventually remarry to a man who Ullman has described as a maniac who drove a London taxi and had a son who stole. "We weren't the Brady Bunch, let me tell you!" The marriage brought an end to the children's late night antics. "There was a new person in her bed now and I couldn't do my nightly performance anymore. I was nine years old and my show had been cancelled." Alcoholism and domestic violence became a common occurrence in the household. The marriage also resulted in the family moving around the country, with Ullman attending numerous state schools. Her flair for mimicry helped with the transitions as her new classmates didn't take to her upper crust accent. "I had to talk like them to avoid being beaten up."Ullman wrote and performed in school plays and it was there that she caught the eye of a headmaster who recommended that she attend a "special school." "I thought he meant a school for juvenile delinquents." Eventually her mother agreed and at age twelve she won a full scholarship to the Italia Conti Academy. Despite the encouragement she received from family, friends, and teachers, her big boost of confidence came from a very unlikely source: a clairvoyant who predicted that she would become famous, especially in America. Some of her earliest work included an appearance on The Tommy Steele Show when she was thirteen, and acting as a model for British teenage magazines My Guy and Photo Love. Ullman also did radio work when she was thirteen. One of her jobs was recording English lessons for Swedish children. "I used to have to say these ridiculous sentences really slowly in my poshest voice. I remember once having to say 'Peter wants a wonk.' I told the producer it was really suggestive but he insisted that wonk meant fairy. Have you ever heard that?"She would end up loathing Italia Conti saying, "I hated the pressure that many of the children were under. Many of the kids were forced to grow up too fast, their careers were being decided for them before they were 13. If I went to an audition then they'd always choose the sweetest, prettiest kid. I wasn't obviously beautiful so I used to miss out." Ullman has also alleged that the owners taught their own children and that a certain level of favouritism seemed to exist. She also felt that the education she was receiving was of very little value. "These stupid teachers would come in and go, 'Good morning, darlings, lets all be dustbins!' I'd go, 'Oh, shut up! I wanna be a banana!'"The treatment she received at school led to her spending more time in pubs than in class. Despite her tardiness, she passed her O levels. Before long, her interest in performing began to wane and her family could no longer afford tuition. She then set her sights on becoming a travel agent like her late father.At sixteen, she was goaded into attending a dance audition by some school friends whilst under the impression that she was applying for summer season in Scarborough. The audition resulted in a contract with a German ballet company for a revival of Gigi in Berlin. Upon returning to England, she joined the "Second Generation" dance troupe, performing in London, Blackpool and Liverpool. Her dancing career would come to an abrupt end when she forgot to wear underwear during a performance. She subsequently branched out into musical theatre and was cast in numerous West End musicals including Grease, Elvis The Musical, and The Rocky Horror Show.Disillusioned with the entertainment industry, Ullman sought full-time employment working in a paper products distribution company. Her boredom with the job led to her competing in a contest at London's Royal Court Theatre; Four in a Million, an improvised play about club acts. She created the character Beverly, a born again Christian chanteuse. The performance was a big success and won her the London Critics Circle Theatre Award as Most Promising New Actress. At this point the BBC became interested, which led to a successful career in television. She would soon go on to become a household name in Britain, with the British media referring to her as 'Our Trace'.With fame came intense scrutiny of her personal life. The press became increasingly aggressive, printing untrue or exaggerated stories, and soliciting information from people who supposedly knew her. An ex-boyfriend sold his story about his life with her to the News of the World. "He appeared on television with my dog saying, 'I'm going to tell you about the real Tracey Ullman. Aren't we Lilly?'"When she hastily married television producer Allan McKeown in 1983, it made front-page news all over the country, with the press placing bets on how long the marriage would last; it lasted nearly thirty years, until McKeown's death in 2013.
Movies & TV shows
3 Movies · 1 TV show
The true story of the movement to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed, and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman known as the sweetheart of the silent majority.
In a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there.
Death to 2020
Even the creators of Black Mirror couldn't make it up, but that doesn't mean they don't have a little something to add. The comedy event that tells the story of the dreadful year that was is a documen...
A group of Broadway stars show up to support two lesbian students after their high school banned same-sex couples from attending the prom.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland
Two-part series with intimate interviews with Billy Connolly, providing unique insight into the early influences and motivations that made this comedy legend the man he is today.
The Dragon School is where Zog studies to learn to fly, roar, and breathe fire. He wants to impress his teacher and win a golden star, but he is prone to accidents and has to be helped by a kind young...
1 Movie · 2 TV shows
Tracey Breaks the News
Tracey Ullman and her cast of characters react to the outcome of the 2017 British election.
The wealthy Wilcoxes, the gentle and idealistic Schlegels and the lower-middle class Basts were all part of the social and class divisions of early 20th century England.
Tracey Breaks the News
The cast of characters take on the news.
1 TV show
Tracey Ullman's Show
With her unique take on some of the extraordinary characters who live in or are visiting the UK,Tracey Ullman returns to British screens with her unique take on some of the extraordinary characters wh...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Sofia the First
Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, this is the story of Princess Sofia, an adventurous little girl who is learning how to adjust royal to life after her mom marry the king and she becomes a prin...
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise journeys through Brooks’ early years in the creative beginnings of live television — with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows — to the film genres he so successfully satirized in...
What About Dick?
What About Dick? begins with the birth of a sex toy invented in Shagistan in 1898 by Deepak Rushdie Obi Ben Kingsley (Eddie Izzard), and tells the story of the subsequent decline of the British Empire...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The Tale of Despereaux
It was once upon a time. The kingdom of Dor is far away. A mouse with large ears dreamed of becoming a knight. Despereaux was banned from his home for having such lofty ambitions, so he set off on an ...
Tracey Ullman's State of the Union
Tracey Ullman's State of the Union is an American sketch-comedy series starring comedian Tracey Ullman. The series was written by Ullman along with Hollywood satirist Bruce Wagner. Gail Parent and Cra...
2 Movies · 2 TV shows
If It Ain't Stiff: The Stiff Records Story
The story of Stiff Records is told in a documentary narrated by Adrian Edmondson. Nick Lowe, the Damned, Ian Dury, Madness, and the Pogues were some of Stiff's successes. Contributors include Jake Riv...
The Graham Norton Show
GrahamNorton talks about what's happening. The guests are talking. Graham is playing an instrument.
Have I Got a Bit More News for You
Based on the week's news and fronted by guest hosts, this extended version of the satirical news quiz features more of the stuff that wouldn't fit into the regular programme.
I Could Never Be Your Woman
The movie follows a mother who falls for a younger man while her daughter falls in love for the first time. Mother Nature messes with people's fates.
After the death of Diana, the Royal family and the public demanded an overt display of mourning, but the Queen and Prime Minister Tony Blair were able to reach a compromise between what was a private ...
5 Movies · 1 TV show
All the Dirt on 'A Dirty Shame'
John Waters and the cast and crew of "A Dirty Shame" discuss sex addiction, sexual terms and all things relating to filth and perversions in Dreamland.
Once Upon A Mattress
No one can marry until Prince Dauntless is married. She sabotaged every princess that came along. When Sir Harry and Lady Larken learn that they are going to be parents, he goes off to the swamps and ...
Kronk's New Groove
The Head Delivery Boy of Mudka's Meat Hut is worried about his father's upcoming visit. The father of Kronk wished that he would settle down with a wife and a large house on a hill.
How I Met Your Mother
A father retells to his children the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.
Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed
Over the course of her award-winning career, the one role that spawned all of her characters was that of herself.
Set in a 19th-century european village, this stop-motion animation feature follows the story of Victor, a young man whisked away to the underworld and wed to a mysterious corpse bride, while his real ...
A Dirty Shame
Sylvia Stickles has a convenience store with her husband and mother-in-law. One day, Sylvia is hit on the head and becomes a sex-crazed lunatic. Sylvia attracts the attention of Ray Ray, who is lookin...
The Cat That Looked at a King
A short film is a combination of live-action and animation. It is done in the style of the chalk drawings seen in the original "Mary Poppins" film and was produced exclusively for the 40th Anniversary...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales
The character Ruby Romaine from "Tracey Takes On" was spotlighted in a comedy special. Veteran Hollywood makeup artist Ruby has decided to retire. Ruby explains in her makeup trailer why she reconside...
Real Time with Bill Maher
A panel of guests, including politicians, actors, comedians, musicians and the like, discuss what's going on in the world each week on Bill Maher's show.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
V Graham Norton
V Graham Norton was an entertainment programme shown on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom starring Graham Norton, broadcast every weeknight as a successor to the weekly So Graham Norton. It aired from 6...
Searching for Debra Winger
As women working in the entertainment industry, they face a lot of pressures.
1 TV show
Where Are They Now?
Past celebrities and their current professional and personal status were updated in a television series. Some episodes were continuations of episodes from the past. The episodes had Roman numerals in ...
2 TV shows
2 TV shows
The most exciting events of the day are being discussed on ABC daytime's morning chat fest. Hot topics in the news, the best experts in their field, celebrity interviews and general entertainment are ...
Ally McBeal is a lawyer at the Boston law firm Cage and Fish. Ally's life and loves are eccentric, funny, dramatic and full of imagination.
2 TV shows
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The biggest stories in news, politics and pop culture are tackled by The World's Fakest News Team.
Tracey Takes On...
A person takes on a challenge. It is a comedy show. The show ran for four seasons and was commissioned after the success of the 1993 comedy special "Tracey Ullman Takes on New York." Each episode focu...
2 TV shows
The Frank Skinner Show
The Frank Skinner Show was a television chat show hosted by comedian Frank Skinner, which lasted nine series on British television between 1995 and 2005. As well as celebrity interviews, the shows in...
The Little Lulu Show
The Little Lulu Show is a television show that is based on a comic book. After Marge's death in 1993, the show was produced by CINAR and aired on several networks in the US and Canada. The English and...
Bullets Over Broadway
After young playwright David Shayne obtains funding for his play from gangster Nick Valenti, his girlfriend Olive miraculously lands the role of a psychiatrist, but not only is she a bimbo who could n...
Ready to Wear
Designers, reporters, models, magazine editors, photographers are the usual group at Paris Fashion Week. The murder investigation of a prominent fashion figure is the focus of the various storylines. ...
I'll Do Anything
There is an actor named Matt Hobbs. When Beth dumps her daughter on Matt, the father and daughter have a lot of adjusting to do. His budding relationship with an attractive production assistant is com...
Tracey Ullman: A Class Act
The British class system was satired in a series of 15 minute programmes, which were expanded to include roles played by Michael Palin andTracey Ullman.
Tracey Ullman Takes on New York
Tracey Ullman and her wacky cast of characters take a bite out of the Big Apple.
Robin Hood: Men In Tights - The Legend Had It Coming
Hosted by Cary Elwes. It's a promotional piece that was intended to get the word out about the film while it was in production, but some of the behind the scenes material that appears here is amusing
Robin Hood: Men in Tights
After fighting in the Crusades, Robin Hood learns that the noble King Richard is in exile and that King John is in charge of England. Robin Hood assembles a group of people to fight King John and the ...
A chronicle of an eccentric Italian-American family in New York City in the 50's and 60's. Teresa wants to join the convent over the objections of her family.
2 TV shows
Love & War
Love & War is an American television sitcom, which aired on CBS from September 21, 1992 to February 1, 1995. Created by Diane English, the series originally starred Susan Dey as Wally Porter, a Chica...
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was hosted by Jay Leno from May 25, 1992 to May 29, 2009, and resumed production on March 1, 2010. Three days after Johnny Carson's retirement as host of the Tonight Sho...
I Love You to Death
Joey Boca is the owner of a pizza parlour and has been married for many years. When Joey cheated on her for a long time, she went to extreme lengths to punish him.
Happily Ever After
The brother of the Wicked Queen is looking for revenge. He used the magic mirror to find Snow White and the prince. The Prince is taken to the realm of doom. The Seven Dwarfesses, cousins of the Seven...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Set in Springfield, the average American town, the show focuses on the antics and everyday adventures of the Simpson family, as well as a virtual cast of thousands. Hundreds of celebrities have guest ...
I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood
In this HBO special, comedian Martin Short appears in a series of sketches, vignettes and musical performances about Hollywood, featuring some of his classic characters like Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers ...
1 TV show
The Tracey Ullman Show
A British-born comedian hosts a variety show. Married was the second prime time series on the Fox network. The show ended on May 26, 1990. Two companies produce the show. Paula Abdul helped with many ...
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Terry uses computers to communicate with clients all over the world. She gets a strange message one day. The message is written in code. Terry became involved in an espionage ring after decoding the m...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Girls On Top
Girls On Top was a British sitcom that aired on ITV from 1985 to 1986. It was written by French, Saunders and Wax and had additional material from Ullman. The series was a ratings success despite a lo...
David Hare's account of a one-time French freedom fighter who gradually realizes that her post-war life is not meeting her expectations.
Give My Regards to Broad Street
Paul McCartney wrote the music and screenplay for the film. If the mastertape of McCartney's latest album is lost, he must find its location in less than 24 hours or lose his recording company. The pe...
1 Movie · 2 TV shows
A Kick Up the Eighties
Rik Mayall plays Kevin Turvey on the comedy sketch show that looks at life in the 80's.
Three of a Kind
Three of a Kind was a British comedy sketch show starring comedians Tracey Ullman, Lenny Henry and David Copperfield. Three series were made by the BBC between 1981 and 1983. The show bolstered the c...
Happy Since I Met You
Victoria Wood wrote the play. Despite being questioned by her family as to why she's not married, she is happy and single. After meeting Jim, she has decisions to make.