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Jane Lapotaire

Jane Lapotaire

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1944-12-26

19 Movies · 9 TV Series


Jane Elizabeth Marie Lapotaire (born Burgess; 26 December 1944) is an English actress.

Personal Life

Burgess was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, the daughter of Louise Elise (Burgess). Her stepfather, Yves Lapotaire, worked in the oil industry and was originally from Quebec, Canada. From the age of two months she was raised as a foster child by an old-age pensioner, Grace Chisnell (Granny Grace), who was also the foster mother of Jane's own biological mother, a French orphan, who was abandoned in England. When Jane was about 12, her biological mother made a bid to get her back. The child welfare department of the Suffolk County Council intervened and decided that the mother had this right. Jane chose to be with Granny Grace but lived with her biological mother and step-father, who worked in various French oil companies in North Africa (particularly Libya), three times a year. She also adopted their family name. The Lapotaires in North Africa were Francophone and, like French colonials at that time, lived around the French embassy. Granny Grace died in 1984 aged 96 and Louise Burgess in 1999.She studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School from 1961 to 1963, the programme was a two-year course at that time unlike the three-year course today. She had earlier auditioned for the Royal Academy for the Dramatic Art (RADA) in London but failed to get in. She joined the Bristol Old Vic theatre company in 1965. She joined the National Theatre in 1967, was a founding member of The Young Vic Theatre in 1970/1971, and moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1974. Her stage credits include:: (Stage debut) Ruby Birtle, When We Are Married, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol, England, 1965 Vivie, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, 1965-1967 Natasha, War and Peace, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, 1965-1967 Ruth, The Homecoming, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, 1965-1967 Judith, The Dance of Death, National Theatre, London, 1967 Antoinette, A Flea in Her Ear, National Theatre, 1967 Mincing, later Mrs. Fainall, The Way of the World, National Theatre, 1969 Tania, Macrune's Guevara, National Theatre, 1969 Zanche, The White Devil, National Theatre, 1969 Don Quixote's niece, The Travails of Sancho Panza, National Theatre, 1969 Jessica, The Merchant of Venice, National Theatre, 1970 Zerbinetta, Scapino, Young Vic Theatre, London, 1970-1971 Katherina, The Taming of the Shrew, Young Vic Theatre, 1970-1971 Jocasta, Oedipus, Young Vic Theatre, 1970-1971 Isabella, Measure for Measure, Young Vic Theatre, 1970-1971 Lieschen, The Captain of Koepenick, National Theatre, 1971 Lady Macduff, Macbeth, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1974 Sonya, Uncle Vanya, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1974 Rosalind, As You Like It, Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham, England, then Edinburgh Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1975 Viola, Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford, England, then Aldwych Theatre, London, 1975 Vera, A Month in the Country, Royal Shakespeare Company, Albery Theatre, London, 1975 Lucy Honeychurch, A Room with a View, Royal Shakespeare Company, Albery Theatre, 1975 Rosalind, As You Like It, Riverside Studios, London, 1976 Title role, The Duchess of Malfi, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, 1976 Rosaline, Love's Labour's Lost, Stratford, 1978 then Aldwych Theatre, 1979 Edith Piaf, Piaf, Other Place Theatre, London, then Warehouse Theatre, London, later Aldwych Theatre, all 1979 then Wyndham's Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre, both London, 1980 later Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1981 Eileen, Kick for Touch, National Theatre, 1983 Belvidera, Venice Preserv'd, National Theatre, 1984 Antigone, National Theatre, 1984 Title role, Saint Joan, Compass Company, 1985 Double Double, Fortune Theatre, London, 1986 Misalliance, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1986 Archbishop's Ceiling, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1986 Greenland, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1988 Joy Davidman, Shadowlands, Queen's Theatre, London, 1989-1990 Gertrude, Hamlet, Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Theatre, London, 1992 Mrs. Alving, Ghosts, Royal Shakespeare Company, Other Place Theatre, Stratford, 1993 Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII (also known as The Famous History of the Life of Henry VIII), Royal Shakespeare Company, Young Vic Theatre, 1998 Major Tours Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII (also known as The Famous History of the Life of Henry VIII), Royal Shakespeare Company, U.S. cities, 1998 Maria Callas, Master Class, British cities, 1999She returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company in October–November 2013 as the Duchess of Gloucester in Gregory Doran's adaptation of Richard II with David Tennant in the title role. This was followed in October-December 2015 as Queen Isobel in Henry V.On Christmas Day 2014 she appeared as Princess Irina Kuragin in season 5 episode 9 (the 2014 Christmas Special) of Downton Abbey. In April 2018 she became the 29th recipient of the prestigious Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award and gave the 454th Shakespeare Birthday Lecture on April 20, 2018.Her performance in the title role of Marie Curie (1977) first brought her to wide attention. In 1978 she performed the title role Édith Piaf for Pam Gems's play Piaf, directed by Howard Davies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, in Stratford-upon-Avon and in London at the Warehouse Theatre, Covent Garden in 1979. Two years later, the show moved to Broadway. Lapotaire won the Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Play that year.She was married to director Roland Joffé from 1974 to 1980; they had one son, screenwriter and director Rowan Joffé (born 1973). Following their divorce, she was for a time the partner of actor Michael Pennington.

Movies & TV Series

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