Who is Frances De La Tour?

Frances De La Tour was born in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, England, on 30 July 1944 – her zodiac sign is Leo and she holds British nationality. She is an actress who is perhaps still best known for her portrayal of one of the lead characters, Miss Ruth Jones in the comedy series “Rising Damp”, which aired from 1974 to 1978. It also starred Leonard Rossiter and Don Warrington, and followed the lives of people working for the mean and cowardly landlord Rigsby. For her performance, Frances won an Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress in 1980.

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Childhood and education

Frances grew up alongside her older brother Simon and their younger brother Andy De La Tour, who has become an actor and a screenwriter and who is today perhaps best known for his roles in the drama “Plenty”, the romantic comedy “Notting Hill”, and the drama “Oliver Twist”. The three were raised by their father, Charles De La Tour who was a film director and an actor – particularly known for his works on short documentaries “Breathing Space”, “Cotswold Club” and “Downlands” – and their mother Moyra Fessas, who was a housewife.

Frances became interested in acting while attending the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle School in London, and after matriculation in 1962, she enrolled at the University of the Arts London Central Saint Martins’ Drama Centre, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre in 1966.

Stage acting

Several months after graduation, Frances joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and began appearing in plays – some of her first notable performances were in the restoration comedy “The Relapse”, and William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

In 1975, she played Rosalind in the Shakespeare pastoral comedy “As You Like It”, performed at the Playhouse in Oxford, and in 1976, she appeared as Isabella in the tragedy “The White Devil”.

She went on to act in multiple plays performed at The Half Moon Theatre, some of which were “We Can’t Pay? We Won’t Pay” in 1978, “Landscape of Exile” in 1979, and “Hamlet” in 1980. The same year saw Frances portray Stephanie in the play “Duet for One”, which Kempinski (her ex-husband) wrote especially for her, and for her performance Frances was rewarded with the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Actress. The year 1982 saw her play Sonya in Anton Chekhov’s play “Uncle Vanya”, and after having portrayed Josie in the play “A Moon for the Misbegotten”, Frances received her second Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Actress.

The following few years saw her appear in many plays, such as “Saint Joan” in 1984, “Brighton Beach Memoirs” in 1986, and “When She Danced” in 1991 for which she won a Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The year 1994 saw Frances star alongside Maggie Smith in the two-act play “Three Tall Women”, and in 1998 she starred alongside Alan Howard in “The Play About the Baby”, and the following year she walked nude on stage while playing Cleopatra in the tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra”. For her portrayal of Mrs. Lintott in “The History Boys” in 2004, Frances won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Frances De La Tour

Some of her latest roles in theatre plays have been in the farce “Boeing-Boeing” in 2007, the Alan Bennett’s play “The Habit of Art” in 2009, and another Bennett play “People” in 2012.

Roles in movies

Frances has been credited with appearing in over 70 movies and TV series, and we are about to mention some of her most notable performances in this article.

She made her debut film appearance in 1970, when she played District Nurse in the British drama “Country Dance”, and in the same year appeared as Maud Crape in the British comedy “Every Home Should Have One”.

The year 1972 saw her star as Miss Lockhart in the comedy movie “Our Miss Fred”, while some of her following roles were in the British-German horror movie “To the Devil… A Daughter” in 1976, the children’s film “Wombling Trees” in 1977, and the mystery movie “Murder with Mirrors” in 1985, which starred Helen Hayes in one of her final appearances before retiring from acting. In 1990, Frances was cast as Mrs De Vere in the romantic comedy “Strike It Rich” which starred Robert Lindsay, Molly Ringwald and John Gielgud, and she went on to appear in the drama “The Cherry Orchard” which was based on Chekhov’s eponymous 1904 play.

Vicious: Frances de la Tour – 'I'm going to work until I drop'"It won’t be a question of whether I will give up…

Posted by Radio Times on Monday, 29 April 2013

In 2006 Frances could have been seen portraying Madame Olympe Maxime in the critically acclaimed fantasy movie “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, and in the same year she played the supporting character Dorothy Lintott in the comedy drama “The History Boys”, which starred Richard Griffiths and Clive Merrison and is about two eccentric teachers who are teaching a class of charming and gifted teenagers – for her performance, Frances was nominated for both a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She went on to appear in several popular movies, such as the post-apocalyptic neo-western action film “The Book of Eli” and the live-action/animated fantasy adventure movie “Alice in Wonderland” (starred Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway) both in 2010, and the adventure drama “Hugo” in 2011.

The year 2012 saw Frances play Grandma Wolf in the war drama “Private Peaceful”, which starred Jack O’Connell and George MacKay and was based on the eponymous novel by Michael Morpurgo. She portrayed Madame Schirmer in the mystery movie “Mr. Holmes” released in 2015, which was closely based on the novel “A Slight Trick of the Mind” by Mitch Cullin, and a few of Frances’ following roles were in the British-American spy thriller “Survivor” in 2015, the live-action/animated fantasy movie “Alice Through the Looking Glass” in 2016, and the film “Man in an Orange Shirt” in 2017.

Three of her most recent roles in movies have been in the historical drama “Vanity Fair” in 2018, the fantasy adventure “Dolittle” in 2020, and the adventure crime drama “Enola Holmes” which is yet to be released, announced for 23 September 2020.

Roles in TV series

In 1977, Frances was invited to play the lead character Maggie in the series “Maggie: It’s Me”, but the pilot episode wasn’t picked up by any networks, and in 1983 she was Celia in the sitcom “The Bounder”, which starred Peter Bowles in the story of an ex-convict who is living with his brother-in law Trevor Mountjoy.

She went on to star as Millie Renfrew in the three-part mini-series “Ellis Island” in 1984, and in 1997, she starred as Aunt Western in the five-part series “The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling”, which also starred Max Beesley and Brian Blessed. The following year saw Frances guest star in the episode “Bad Penny” of the police drama “Heartbeat”, and in 2004 she appeared in the episode “Death on the Nile” of the mystery drama “Agatha Christie’s Poirot”.

She went on to appear in single episodes of the police procedural crime drama “Waking the Dead” in 2004, the comedy drama “Sensitive Skin” in 2005 and the drama “Agatha Christie’s Marple” in 2006, before being invited to guest star as Professor Styles in the episode “Old Dogs” of the procedural crime drama “New Tricks”.

Three of Frances’ most recent notable performances in TV series have been in the sitcom “Vicious”, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance,  and the comedy series “Big School” both in 2014 and in which she starred as Ms. Margaret Baron, and the historical drama “Outlander” in 2016, which starred Caitriona Balfe and follows a nurse during Second World War who gets sent to the past to 1743 Scotland.

Husband and divorce

Frances has been married twice; she met her first husband, a non-celebrity David Godman while attending college, and they married in a private ceremony attended by their closest friends and family in 1968 – the marriage didn’t last long, as the two divorced in the early ‘70s.

Frances met the actor and writer Tom Kempinski who cast her in many of his plays and who is today known for his works on the drama “Othello” in 1965, the crime science fiction film “Moon Zero Two” in 1969 and the science fiction series “Moonbase 3” in 1973.

Frances De La Tour

They married in secret and have kept the exact date of the wedding hidden to this day – they also divorced and have kept that date a secret, too.

Frances has a son and a daughter but hasn’t revealed who their father(s) is/are – it is widely believed that the children have different fathers.

As of September 2020, Frances is single, was married twice and has two kids.

Hobbies and other interests

Frances is interested in politics and is a socialist – during the 1970s, she was a member of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party. She enjoyed travelling during her 30s and 40s, while her career as an actress has made it possible for her to live in various cities, including Paris in France, New York City in the USA, as well as in Toronto in Canada for a few months.

Frances has donated money to the poor, while mostly being focused on giving it to underprivileged children.

She is a lover of animals and has had several pet dogs since the launch of her acting career.

Some of her favorite actors and actresses who are popular today are Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts, and some of her favorite movies include “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Good Will Hunting” and “Notting Hill”.

Height and net worth. How rich is Frances De La Tour?

Frances’ age is 76. She has long brown hair and brown eyes, her height is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) and she weighs around 130lbs (59kgs).

As of September 2020, her net worth has been estimated at over $5 million.

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