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Tracey Ullman (1959)

Trace Ullman

Type :  

  Summary  

Tracey Ullman is a British stage and television actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, screenwriter and author .

Her early appearances were on British TV sketch comedy shows A Kick Up the Eighties and Three of a Kind . After a brief but high-profile singing career, she appeared as Candice Valentine in Girls On Top with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

She emigrated from the UK to the US and created her own network television series, The Tracey Ullman Show, from 1987 until 1990, from which The Simpsons was spun off in 1989. She later produced programs for HBO, including Tracey Takes On... (1996–1999), for which she has won numerous awards. She has also appeared in several feature films. Ullman's most recent sketch comedy series, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union, ran from 2008 to 2010 on Showtime.

  Biography  

 early life
Ullman was born Trace Ullman in Slough, Buckinghamshire , the daughter of Dorin and Antony Ullman, a solicitor. Ullman later recalled, "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." Ullman's mother was British and her father was a Polish soldier evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, subsequently working as a furniture salesman and travel agent. When she was six, Ullman's father died of a heart attack while reading her a bedtime story. He was 50 years old. In an effort to cheer up her family, Tracey recounts putting on shows in her mother's bedroom, performing alongside her older sister, Patti. That first show was entitled The Patti Ullman Show. "I was a spin-off!" recalled Ullman. In her nightly performances she mimicked anyone and everyone, including neighbours, family members, friends, even celebrities. Soon after, Ullman's mother remarried.

At the age of 12, a headmaster saw Ullman's future potential, and recommended her to the Italia Conti Academy stage school. Although the school gave Ullman her first taste of the stage, she does not look back on it fondly.

At the age of 16, Ullman began finding jobs as a dancer, and soon landed a role in Gigi in Berlin. Upon returning to England, she joined the "Second Generation" dance troupe. She also began appearing in variety shows.

The exposure led to her casting in numerous West End musicals, including Grease, and The Rocky Horror Show. During this time Ullman was cast in a play at London's Royal Court Theatre for an improvised play about club acts. Entering the competition, Ullman created the character Beverly, a born-again Christian chanteuse. The performance was a big hit and she won the "Best Newcomer Award". The BBC became interested and offered her the chance to star in her own show. In 1983, Ullman took part in the workshops for Andrew Lloyd-Webber's upcoming musical, Starlight Express, playing the part of Pearl.

 music career
In 1983, Ullman succeeded as a singer on the punk label Stiff Records, although her style was more comic romantic than punk. She had six songs in the UK Top 100 in less than two years. Her 1983 debut album, You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, featured her first hit single, "Breakaway" ; the international hit cover version of label-mate Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" went to #2 in the UK, and #8 in the U.S. MacColl sang backing vocals on Ullman's version. It would later become the theme song to Ullman's later television series, Tracey Takes On....

Follow-up singles, a cover of Doris Day's "Move Over Darling", which reached #8 in the UK, and the cover of Madness' "My Girl", which Ullman changed to "My Guy's Mad at Me", were released. (The "My Guy" video featured the British Labour Party politician Neil Kinnock, at the time the Leader of the Opposition)

Ullman's songs were over-the-top evocations of 1960s and 1970s pop music with a 1980s edge, "somewhere between Minnie Mouse and The Supremes" as Britain's Melody Maker put it, or "retro before retro was cool", as a retrospective reviewer wrote in 2002. Her career received another boost when the video for "They Don't Know" featured a cameo from Paul McCartney; at the time Ullman was filming a minor role in McCartney's film Give My Regards to Broad Street. Ullman released her second and last album, You Caught Me Out, in 1984.

Her final hit, "Sunglasses" , featured comedian Adrian Edmondson in its music video. During this time, she also appeared as a guest VJ on MTV in the United States.

In her HBO stand-up special, Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed, Ullman recreated her music career, recounting how she entered the business, and why she left it. Performances of many of her hit singles were also performed in front of an audience for the performance. In October 2006, Ullman took part in the BBC Four documentary series, If It Ain't Stiff, a mini-series dedicated to the history of the label. A new "remastered" version of ...17 Places was released in 2007.

 film career
Along with her television work, Ullman has featured in many films throughout her career. Her first theatrical film was a small role in Paul McCartney's 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. This was followed by a supporting role in the 1985 Meryl Streep drama Plenty which gained Ullman international acclaim for her comic and dramatic performance.

After the cancellation of The Tracey Ullman Show in 1990, she made her starring debut alongside Kevin Kline, River Phoenix and Joan Plowright in I Love You to Death. Ullman has also appeared in lead and supporting roles in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Nancy Savoca's Household Saints, Bullets Over Broadway, Small Time Crooks, A Dirty Shame, and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Ullman portrayed Mother Nature in the 2007 romantic-comedy film, I Could Never Be Your Woman, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Ullman acted as creative consultant on the 2006 Dreamworks feature, Flushed Away.

Ullman signed on to voice along with such actors as Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Lloyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Emma Watson in the computer-animated The Tale of Despereaux.

Stock footage of Ullman was used in the movie The Queen with Helen Mirren. The footage was used without her permission.

 personal life
Ullman married producer Allan McKeown on 27 December 1983; they have two children, Mabel Ellen McKeown and John Albert Victor McKeown . Mabel McKeown works for Harriet Harman in a job funded by the Labour Party. She unsuccessfully ran as Labour's candidate in the by-election in Cremorne in Kensington and Chelsea Council in 2010. She once contributed to The Huffington Post. She has also campaigned for Labour in her native country.

Ullman became an American citizen in December 2006 and now holds dual citizenship of the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2006, Ullman topped the list for the "Wealthiest British Comedians", with an estimated wealth of £75 million.

 stage
  • 1982: Rita, Sue and Bob Too
  • 1990: The Taming Of The Shrew – Kate
  • 1991: The Big Love – Florence Aadland
  • 2005: Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed
  • 2011: My City – Elizabeth Lambert

early years
Along with her stint in the music world, Ullman began working in television. Between 1981 and 1984 she starred in sketch comedies A Kick Up the Eighties and Three of a Kind for the BBC. In 1985, she donned a blond wig and took the role of a promiscuous gold digger named "Candice Valentine" on the ITV sitcom Girls On Top. She left after one season, due to being pregnant and giving birth to her first child in 1986.

At this point, US television beckoned, and renowned television producer James L. Brooks came calling. The two had discussed working together previously, but it was not until 1987 that they created The Tracey Ullman Show. Ullman played a variety of characters, completely unrecognizable with the help of makeup, prosthetics, and padding. The show was the first commercial hit for then unknown Fox channel. Paula Abdul served as the show's choreographer. The then-unknown Abdul even used her early music recordings for the series' strenuous dance numbers.

The Tracey Ullman Show earned four Emmys and spawned The Simpsons, which was featured in simple cartoon shorts . Ullman provided the voice of Emily Winthrop, a British dog trainer on The Simpsons episode "Bart's Dog Gets an F" . In 1992 Ullman filed a lawsuit against Twentieth Century Fox in Los Angeles Superior Court over profits from the later half hour incarnation of The Simpsons. She wanted a share of The Simpsons' merchandising and gross profits and believed she was entitled to $2.5 million of the estimated $50 million Fox made in 1992. The Fox network had paid her $58,000 in royalties for The Simpsons as well as $3 million for the 3½ seasons her show was on the air. As Ullman had continued her professional relationship with former producer Brooks, only the studio and not Brooks was named in the suit. Brooks was allowed to videotape his testimony as he was in the middle of filming I'll Do Anything, in which Ullman appeared. Eventually the courts ruled in favor of the network.

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  Novels  

  Albums 

  Tracks  

Name Duration Released
Bad Motorcycle 00:00 1984
I Know What Boys Like 00:00 1984
Terry 00:00 1984
Give Him A Great Big Kiss 00:00 1984
Baby I Lied 00:00 1984
Where The Boys Are 00:00 1984
Little By Little 00:00 1984
Helpless 00:00 1984
You Caught Me Out 00:00 1984
If I Had You 00:00 1984
Sunglasses 00:00 1984
My Guy 00:00 1984
Loving You Is Easy 00:00 1984
I Don't Want Our Loving To Die 00:00 1984
(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence Dear 00:00 1983
Long Live Love 00:00 1983
I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten 00:00 1983
Move Over Darling 00:00 1983
Oh, What a Night 00:00 1983
Bobby's Girl 00:00 1983
Life Is a Rock 00:00 1983
They Don't Know 00:00 1983
You Broke My Heart in 17 Places 00:00 1983
Breakaway 00:00 1983
Shattered 00:00 1983

  Crew    

  Companies    

  Photos    

  Videos  

  Press reviews    

  User reviews

  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Tracey Ullman", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.