Jane Leeves

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Jane Leeves
Jane Leeves 2012.jpg
Leeves in May 2012
Born (1961-04-18) 18 April 1961 (age 52)
Ilford, Essex, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Marshall Coben (1996–present)
Children Isabella Kathryn Coben (b. 2001)
Finn William Leeves Coben (b. 2003)

Jane Leeves (born 18 April 1961) is an English film, stage and television actress, comedian, singer and dancer.

Leeves made her screen debut with a small role in the 1983 popular British comedy television show The Benny Hill Show, and appeared as a dancer in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Leeves moved to the United States, where she performed in small roles. In 1986–1988, Leeves garnered her first leading role in the short-lived sitcom Throb[1] and then secured a recurring part in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. In 1993 she achieved wider fame as Daphne Moon on the television sitcom Frasier for the entire run of the series, from 1993 until 2004, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards during the show's run.[2] She received further recognition for her performances in Miracle on 34th Street (1994), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Music of the Heart (1999) and The Event (2003).

She has worked in television production, but beginning in June 2010, Leeves returned to acting, as Joy on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland.[3]

Early life[edit]

Leeves was born in Ilford, Essex before moving to Crawley, Sussex and then East Grinstead. Early in her career she trained as a ballet dancer at Bush Davies School of Dance and worked as a model, until she made her first film appearance in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Leeves abandoned the possibility of a career in ballet due to an ankle injury.[4]


Leeves at the 1995 Emmys

She was a regular on The Benny Hill Show (as one of "Hill's Angels"), putting her experience as a dancer in the famous "Christmas in Heaven" scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and appeared as a tourist with a baby in the David Lee Roth music video for the song "California Girls," but struggled for several years to establish herself. She became somewhat visible as the flighty record company employee, Blue (née Prudence Anne Bartlett), on the syndicated sitcom Throb!.

She had a recurring role in the television series Murphy Brown which provided her first period of success, playing Audrey, the loud and awkward girlfriend of producer Miles Silverberg (played by Grant Shaud). Leeves also appeared as the troublesome Marla the Virgin in four risqué episodes of Seinfeld: "The Virgin", "The Contest", "The Pilot" and "The Finale - Part 2". During this period Leeves was cast as Holly for the pilot of the U.S. version of the science-fiction comedy Red Dwarf. She also had a role as a lesbian in the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A.

In 1993, she joined the cast of the television series Frasier. Leeves played the eccentric, forthright and allegedly psychic Mancunian Daphne Moon. By the start of 2000-01 season, Leeves was pregnant, and the writers incorporated her pregnancy into shows as weight gain due to her character's stress from her relationship with Niles (portrayed by David Hyde Pierce). By the conclusion of Frasier, Leeves had received an Emmy Award nomination for her role and had become the highest-paid British actress in Hollywood.[5]

Appearing less frequently in cinema, Leeves lent her regular voice and her singing voice to the animated film James and the Giant Peach (1996) and acted in the film Music of the Heart (1999).

Leeves in August 2012

In 2002, she appeared in the Broadway musical Cabaret.[6] In 2004, she hosted an episode of the British television comedy quiz show Have I Got News for You. Her 2006 show, The WB's sitcom Misconceptions, went unaired.[7]

Leeves provides guest vocals in The Penguins of Madagascar as Lulu, a female chimp, with whom Phil falls in love. With Peri Gilpin, Leeves also set up the production company "Bristol Cities" (cockney rhyming slang for 'titties'[8]). Their latest project was in 2007 a pilot for a US remake of the British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, with Kirstie Alley in the title role.[9]

In 2010 she was a guest star in two episodes in ABC's Desperate Housewives as Lynette and Tom's therapist, Dr. Graham. Since 2010 she has been playing the fortysomething ex 'eyebrow artist to the stars' Joy Scroggs in the new TV Land comedy, Hot in Cleveland, with Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick (also her co-star in the final season of Frasier), and Betty White. In 2011 she was nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, with cast.[10]

Personal life[edit]

She has been married to Marshall Coben, a CBS Paramount Television executive, since 21 December 1996, and they have two children. Daughter Isabella Kathryn Coben was born on 9 January 2001, and the pregnancy was written into the Frasier plotline as a weight-gaining problem for Daphne Moon. Frasier co-star Peri Gilpin was in the delivery room when daughter Isabella was born and is her godmother; Leeves is also godmother of Gilpin's daughter Stella. The two live next door to one another in Los Angeles. Her son Finn William Leeves Coben, was born on 19 December 2003, and both David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney are his godfathers.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Nice to See You Performer Television movie
1983 Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Dancer Uncredited
1983 The Hunger Unknown Uncredited
1983-1985 The Benny Hill Show Hill's Angel (TV series, 4 episodes)
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. Serena Credited as Jane Leaves
1987 Murder, She Wrote Gwen Petrie (TV series, 1 episode: "It Runs in the Family")
1986-1988 Throb Prudence Anne "Blue" Bartlett (TV series, 48 episodes)
1989 It's a Living Terry Tedaldo (TV series, 1 episode: "He Never Sang for His Father")
1989 Mr. Belvedere Professor Ann Burns (TV series, 1 episode: "The Professor")
1989 Hooperman Annie (TV series, 1 episode: "Stakeout")
1989-1993 Murphy Brown Audrey Cohen (TV series, 9 episodes)
1990 My Two Dads Harriet (TV series, 1 episode: "See You in September?")
1990 Room for Romance Unknown (TV series, 1 episode: "A Midsummer Night's Reality")
1990 Who's the Boss? Ms. Adams (TV series, 1 episode: "Parental Guidance Suggested")
1991 Blossom Sheila (TV series, 1 episode: "Love Stinks")
1992 Red Dwarf Holly Television movie
1992 Just Deserts Amy Phillips
1992-1998 Seinfeld Marla Penny (TV series, 4 episodes)
1993-2004 Frasier Daphne Moon (TV series, 263 episodes)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated-Satellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated-Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated-Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated-Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
1994 Mr. Write Wylie
1994 Miracle on 34th Street Alberta Leonard
1995 Caroline in the City Daphne Moon (TV series, 1 episode: "Caroline and the Bad Back")
1996 James and the Giant Peach Ladybug Voice role
1996 Pandora's Clock Rachel Sherwood Television movie
1996 The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century Caroline Webb Voice role
1998 Hercules: The Animated Series Athena (TV series, 5 episodes)
1999 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Juliet Gosling
1999 Music of the Heart Dorothea von Haeften
2003 The Event Mona
2003 The Simpsons Edwina (TV series, 1 episode: "The Regina Monologues")
2006 Misconceptions Amanda Watson (TV series, 7 episodes)
2006 Twenty Good Years Mary Frances (TV series, 1 episode: "Big Love")
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Eenie Voice role
2008 The Starter Wife Ann Hefton (TV series, 2 episodes)
2009-2011 The Penguins of Madagascar Lulu (TV series, 2 episodes)
2009 Phineas and Ferb Admiral Acronym (TV series, 2 episodes)
2009 Endless Bummer Liv
2010 Desperate Housewives Dr. Graham (TV series, 2 episodes)
2010 Notes from the Underbelly Gracie (TV series, 1 episode: "Accidental Family Bed")
2010–present Hot in Cleveland Joy Scroggs (TV series, 63 episodes)
Nominated-Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


  1. ^ "Throb" (1986)
  2. ^ Das, Lina (2010-07-30). "How Benny Hill babe Jane Leeves became the queen of U.S. TV". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  3. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (2010-01-14). "Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick will be 'Hot in Cleveland'". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  4. ^ "Full Cast of The Meaning of Life on IMDB". imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  5. ^ Jane Leeves Trivia
  6. ^ "Jane Leeves Sets Dates for B'way's Cabaret - Broadway Tickets". Broadway.com. 2002-02-19. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  7. ^ List of television series cancelled before airing an episode
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Jo7gAjlWnc Jane Leeves on Graham Norton
  9. ^ Kirby, Terry (2007-02-07). "US version of 'Vicar of Dibley' to star Kirstie Alley - Media, News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  10. ^ SAG's TV nominations: What did they miss?
  11. ^ Mulkerrins, Jane (2011-02-13). "Jane Leeves in Hot in Cleveland has struck sitcom gold again". Dailymail. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 

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