• Frances De La Tour is a British actress who is best known for her role in the comedy series “Rising Damp”
• She has received multiple awards for her theatre roles and was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and a BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance
• She has appeared in over 70 movies and TV series, such as “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, “The History Boys”, “Vicious” and “Outlander”
• She has been married twice and has two children
• As of September 2020, her net worth has been estimated at over $5 million

Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthJuly 30, 1944
FactShe was awarded the Variety Club Award for Best Actress for her role in 'Fallen Angels', with Felicity Kendal.

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.

General Info

Full NameFrances de la Tour
Date Of BirthJuly 30, 1944
Height1.73 m
ProfessionVoice Actor
EducationDrama Centre London


ParentsMoyra de la Tour, Charles de la Tour
SiblingsAndy de la Tour


AwardsTony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Satellite Award for Best Television Ensemble, Satellite Award for Best Ensemble – Motion Picture, Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Outer Critics Circle Award fo...
NominationsLaurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, British Academy Television Award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, The British Independent Film Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film, British Academy Television Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Ac...
MoviesThe Lady in the Van, The History Boys, Hugo, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Book of Eli, The Nutcracker in 3D, Mr. Holmes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Wombling Free, Miss You Already, Trap for Cinderella, Survivor, Our Miss Fred, Murder with Mirror...
TV ShowsVicious, Rising Damp, Outlander, Cold Lazarus, A Kind Of Living, The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, Downwardly Mobile, Every Silver Lining

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1I didn't think that Rising Damp (1974) would have quite the longevity it's enjoying, actually, because at the time we knew it was good because it was very well written by Eric Chappell, and he wrote characters as well as situations. In fact very little situation happens in this particular situation comedy, it's character based. And we knew it was good but there were a lot of very popular and good sitcoms in the seventies. You could name at least five. It became more popular years later, five, ten years, even then 20 years and people started calling it a classic. But it's like we left it behind and it never died.


1At the height of 5' 7" she has played a giant in the films Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and Into the Woods (2014).
2Has two children by unknown fathers - a son and a daughter.
3She was awarded the Variety Club Award for Best Actress for her role in 'Fallen Angels', with Felicity Kendal.
4She was awarded the Plays and Players Theatre Award in 1980 for Best Actress for her role in 'Duet For One'.
5She was awarded the Outer Critics Circle Theatre Award in 2006 for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her role in 'The History Boys'.
6She was awarded the New York Drama Desk Theatre Award in 2006 for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her role in 'The History Boys'.
7She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1994 for Best Actress for her role in 'Les Parents Terribles'.
8She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (then called SWET Award) for Best Actress for her role in 'Duet For One' in 1980.
9She was awarded the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her role in 'Duet For One' in 1980.
10She was awarded the 2006 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Mrs. Lintott in Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" on Broadway in New York City.
11Had her scenes from Love Actually (2003) cut from the final film. They feature in the DVD extras. She played the lesbian lover of the school headmistress played by Anne Reid.
12She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 (1991 season) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in "When She Danced".
13She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1984 (1983 season) for Best Actress in a Revival for "Moon for the Misbegotten, The".
14Daughter of Charles De la Tour and sister of Andy de la Tour.




The Collection2016TV SeriesYvette Sabine / Yvette
Vicious2013-2016TV SeriesViolet Crosby
Outlander2016TV SeriesMother Hildegarde
Alice Through the Looking Glass2016Aunt Imogene (uncredited)
Miss You Already2015Jill the Wigmaker
The Lady in the Van2015Mrs Vaughan Williams
Mr. Holmes2015Madame Schirmer (as Frances De La Tour)
Into the Woods2014Giant
Big School2013-2014TV SeriesMs Baron
Fifty Years on Stage2013TV MovieKay
Trap for Cinderella2013Aunt Elinor
Suspension of Disbelief2012Nesta
Private Peaceful2012Grandma Wolf
Hugo2011Madame Emilie
The Nutcracker in 3D2010Frau Eva / The Rat Queen
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 12010Madame Maxime
National Theatre Live: The Habit of Art2010Kay
Alice in Wonderland2010/IAunt Imogene
The Book of Eli2010Martha (as Frances De La Tour)
3 lbs.2006TV SeriesDr. Haliday
The History Boys2006Mrs. Lintott
New Tricks2006TV SeriesProfessor Styles
Agatha Christie's Marple2006TV SeriesMrs. Maud Dane Calthrop
Sensitive Skin2005TV SeriesSarah Thorne
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire2005Madame Olympe Maxime
Waking the Dead2004TV SeriesAlice Taylor-Garnett
Agatha Christie's Poirot2004TV SeriesSalome Otterbourne
Love Actually2003Lesbian Lover (uncredited)
Born and Bred2003TV SeriesEugenia Maddox
Eddy and the Bear2001TV SeriesThe Narrator (voice)
The Cherry Orchard1999Charlotte Ivanovna
Heartbeat1998TV SeriesTessa
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling1997TV Mini-SeriesAunt Western
Cold Lazarus1996TV Mini-SeriesEmma Porlock
Downwardly Mobile1994TV SeriesRosemary
Genghis Cohn1993Dr. Helga Feuchtwanger, Psychiatrist
Stay Lucky1993TV SeriesPaddy Bysouth
Every Silver Lining1993TV SeriesShirley Silver
Bejewelled1991TV MovieBeatrice
Strike It Rich1990Mrs. de Vere
A Kind of Living1988TV SeriesCarol Beasley
Clem1987TV MovieMother
Unnatural Causes1986TV SeriesMarcia
Duet for One1985TV MovieStephanie Anderson
Murder with Mirrors1985TV MovieMiss Bellaver
Ellis Island1984TV Mini-SeriesMillie Renfrew
The Bounder1983TV SeriesCelia
ITV Playhouse1982TV SeriesJean
Flickers1980TV Mini-SeriesMaud
Rising Damp1980Miss Ruth Jones (as Frances De La Tour)
Leave It to Charlie1979TV SeriesMiss Grimshaw
Wombling Free1978Julia Frogmorton
Rising Damp1974-1978TV SeriesRuth
Cottage to Let1977TV SeriesElsie Pope
Maggie: It's Me1977TV MovieMaggie
The Galton & Simpson Playhouse1977TV SeriesThe Woman
Play for Today1974-1976TV SeriesMarcia / Maria
Crown Court1976TV SeriesAnne Scofield
To the Devil a Daughter1976Salvation Army Major
Crime of Passion1973TV SeriesMarie Villars
Our Miss Fred1972Miss Lockhart
The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine1971TV SeriesVarious Characters
Brotherly Love1970District Nurse
NBC Experiment in Television1970TV SeriesRelief Secretary
Every Home Should Have One1970Maud Crape


Our Miss Fred1972performer: "Hitler has only One Brass Ball" - uncredited


Who Do You Think You Are?2015TV Series documentaryHerself / Various Characters
The Paul O'Grady Show2015TV SeriesHerself
Mark Lawson Talks to...2015TV SeriesHerself
Shoot the Moon: The Making of 'Hugo'2012Video shortHerself
The Man Who Made Eric & Ernie2008TV Movie documentaryHerself - Narrator (voice)
Pass It On: The History Boys on Screen2007Video documentary shortHerself
Charlie Rose2006TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The 60th Annual Tony Awards2006TV SpecialHerself - Winner: Best Featured Actress in a Play
Imagine2006TV Series documentaryHerself
Richard & Judy2005TV SeriesHerself
The South Bank Show2005TV Series documentaryHerself
The Theatre Quiz1981TV SeriesHerself - Panellist
Omnibus1981TV Series documentaryHerself
This Is Your Life1975TV Series documentaryHerself - Guest

Archive Footage

Rising Damp Forever2016TV Mini-Series documentaryRuth
The Lady in the Van: Playing the Lady - Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd2016Video documentary shortMrs. Vaughan Williams (uncredited)
The Making of the Lady in the Van2016Video documentary shortMrs. Vaughan Williams (uncredited)
My Favourite Joke2011TV SeriesMiss Ruth Jones
Heroes of Comedy2001TV Series documentaryMiss Jones
Heartbeat Chronicles1999VideoTessa (uncredited)
Clapper Board1980TV SeriesMiss Ruth Jones


Won Awards

2014Satellite AwardSatellite AwardsBest Ensemble, Motion PictureInto the Woods (2014)
1981Evening Standard British Film AwardEvening Standard British Film AwardsBest ActressRising Damp (1980)

Nominated Awards

2015Gold Derby AwardGold Derby AwardsEnsemble CastInto the Woods (2014)
2014BAFTA TV AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Female Performance in a Comedy RoleVicious (2013)
2014DFCS AwardDetroit Film Critic Society, USBest EnsembleInto the Woods (2014)
2014PFCS AwardPhoenix Film Critics Society AwardsBest Ensemble ActingInto the Woods (2014)
2014WAFCA AwardWashington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardsBest Acting EnsembleInto the Woods (2014)
2007BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Actress in a Supporting RoleThe History Boys (2006)
2006British Independent Film AwardBritish Independent Film AwardsBest ActressThe History Boys (2006)
1986BAFTA TV AwardBAFTA AwardsBest ActressDuet for One (1985)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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