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Lucy Cohu

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Contents

Basic Information

Lucy Cohu



Date of Birth: 1970








Biography

Lucy Cohu (born 1968) is an English actress, known for portraying Princess Margaret in The Queen's Sister, Evelyn Brogan in Cape Wrath and Alice Carter in Torchwood: Children of Earth.


Background

Lucy Ann Cohu was born in Wiltshire in 1968 she attended boarding school as a child, and went on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Cohu comes from a service back ground, her father being a Wing Commander which meant she didn't put down too many roots, she has said in the past that she would have loved to have been bought up in a village where she could go down the local pub and meet friends she grew up with although much of the angst children suffer from moving around every three years as she did most of her growing up in boarding school. Lucy was a shy and sensitive child at boarding school and explained that was part of the reason she got into acting as she felt it easier to speak someone else's words other than her own. Cohu says despite the fact of her strong military background her parents were entirely supportive of her desire to be an actress, she has more than once told the story of her mother selling a necklace to send her on a drama course which supports one of the most common misconceptions of her is that she is posh. Before she had Alexander she lived on Portobello Road which she said was fantastic when childless,she now lives in Kensal Green in Brent, London. Lucy likes living in Kensal Green as she feels there is a sense of community and there is always someone on hand to pick up Alexander and his half sister Lila from school, she often uses the Kensal Green Library to research parts in plays. When asked where she is from though she though she says Lincolnshire as that is where she first went to drama school. Her son, Alexander was born in 2002: and she has been totally alone with him since he was six months old and because of this Cohu found it tough at first being a single mother but said that motherhood was the best thing to happen to her, as it made her focus on her career as she did not have the support of any family. Cohu is clearly a very focused mother saying that when she had Alexander everything fell into place, despite being on her own without money or career she suddenly discovered a love like nothing on earth. She says he brings her back to reality after the heightened unreal experience of filming, of people running after her on and off set, she says it is a relief not to be totally self absorbed and concentrate on what is truly important in life, her son. She found out she was going to be a parent on Millennium Eve, she was on the way to a party and she said it felt amazing, she had always wanted a child but for medical reasons thought it would not be possible. Cohu said in 2010 Woman and Home that she didn't know if she would like more children but if she did it would have to be with a partner as being a single mother is very hard despite that she takes comfort in her son's half sister Lila and her god-daughter as being the daughters she never had. She wouldn't like her son to become an actor though saying when asked what would she rather have him do " Oh God, anything he wants to do, but I think [acting] is a very, very hard profession"

Personal Life

Cohu was married to the actor Corey Johnson she said of the marriage in 1996 " I was married when I was very young, when I was about twenty, I am a very different person now, that had more to do with why it ended, I still love Corey very, very much,and wish more than anything it hadn't ended. But things change, and it probably wouldn't be right if we tried again'. Cohu was linked to a motorcycle courier called Thanasi when she was 28 saying she had never loved anyone so much, that he had seen the good sides and the bad sides of her and still hadn't gone off her, she went on to say she couldn't have a relationship with another actor as [actors] are so insecure they tend to mirror the worries in each other. She felt it was good to be with Thanasi as he did as normal job, was calm and listened to her also adding he was half Greek and gorgeous. She gave reference to her personal life in early 2010 only to say that the father of Alexander still lived near by in an interview in Woman and Home. Cohu when not acting is described as effortlessly chic with dark hair and of petite stature. The actress Anna Maxwell Martin described her as incredibly glamorous, wearing a huge fake fur coat the first time she met her, stunning, glamorous with natural raven coloured hair. Whilst onscreen in The Queen's Sister Cohu is described as having a posh-girl naughtiness, being gorgeous and a Marilyn Monroe figure that fitted a fifties style dress perfectly. Anna Maxwell Martin went on to describe Cohu as having men drop like flies around her and constantly wanting to sleep with her whilst making ridiculous fools of themselves. Intellectually Cohu is drawn to the serious side of things not the light and fluffy side of life,in an interview she did whilst playing Speaking in Tongues she says that she would always prefer a bit of Ibsen or Chekov and finds the films of Ingmar Bergman very life affirming to watch despite being intense and dark. Despite this seriousness about her work it is very clear that she is a fun friend , Maxwell saying she finds Cohu's life hilarious and that she always forgets how much fun she is.

Television and Film work

Cohu's first acting job after graduating from drama school was at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, in a production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.Before she made a living from acting she used to dress up as The Pink Panther for children's parties, getting up singing a song and letting the kids jump all over her, she has been quoted as saying that had she not found success as an actress she would have gone into childrens's nursing. She made her television debut in an episode of Casualty. going on to work extensively in television, the role that made her a well known face was that of Major Jessica Bailey in the popular ITV show Soldier Soldier followed by many parts in British television. It was in 2005 that her fame soared with when, she portrayed Princess Margaret in the semi-fictional version of her life, The Queen's Sister, for Channel 4 and was nominated for Emmy and BAFTA awards for her performance. She was widely praised for the role; Variety disliked the "somewhat tawdry biopic", but said that "Cohu makes it all worth watching"., Cohu herself said she played Margeret like a proper woman with an insatiable and tremendous energy for life, previous images in her mind had been of a bloated and sick courtier confined to a wheel chair, she hoped the production hadn't offended anyone as she really liked the Queen.Lord Snowdon, Margerets's ex husband somewhat disagreed with the production though describing it as revolting, inaccurate, no research, vile, vile cheap little film. Although he felt the actor Toby Stephens playing him came out very well he thought Cohu captured nothing of Margaret, saying she was incredibly bad and wasn't very beautiful.Forgiven is possibly Cohu's most important work in establishing her career, her blistering performance in a tour de force that put everyone who saw it through the ringer, Although painful to watch, it would be hard to praise Paul Wilmshurst’s drama too highly. Adapted from a real case, a wife (Lucy Cohu) discovers that her husband of 18 years (Derek Riddell) has been systematically abusing their daughter. “What it felt like,” she says, “was my family having its guts wrenched out and ripped apart.” With two blistering performances at its core, Forgiven describes how she reacts and what happens to their relationship. Every stage of this terrible journey defies expectations and gives off the unmistakeable stench of truth. Cohu has also appeared Cape Wrath, Ballet Shoes, as Theo Danes, and Torchwood: Children of Earth, as Alice Carter, the daughter of Captain Jack Harkness. Cape Wrath was a high concept innovative, edgy, hip show, Lucy's performance along with her on screen husband David Morrissey were both praised, Cohu being described as generating immense warmth, passion, vulnerability and emotional honesty. Of her role as Alice Carter she said the character is a real mystery, having something very complicated and unresolved about her, Cohu said the script made her cry.. Cohu's film work includes starring as Lottie the servant in Robert Altman's Gosford Park in 2001, she was highly praised for her work in Becoming Jane playing Eliza De Feuille bringing a ripe tension to the role <refhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3663235/Not-so-plain-Jane.htmlref> and she is to star along side Rebecca Hall in the new horror film The Awakening.

Theatre Work

After a eight year hiatus from the stage due to crippling stage fright as well as finding screen work more conducive to her role as a single mother, Cohu starred in a revival of Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of York's Theatre, opposite John Simm, Ian Hart and Kerry Fox. She said of her return to the stage as her nerves reappeared " “I probably could have done with doing something slightly without the huge amount of focus, like go off to Pitlochry and do a small play, and I’m choosing to do a huge West End one! God, I don’t know, hope I am throwing myself in as opposed to throwing up! I hope people don’t come and see this play and end up seeing me throw up, that would be really awful.”. Fortunately she won rave reviews for her part in the Andrew Bovell, complex, multi-layered drama, described as an "emotional thriller" she is described as moving persuasively from seductive wife to terrified victim. In February 2010 she began a five week run in a production of An Enemy of the People at the Crucible Theatre, starring alongside Sir Antony Sher as Katrina Stockmann. Cohu is starring in Arthur Miller's 'Broken Glass' which runs at the Tricycle Theatre October 6 (previews from September 30) to November 27, 2010 which also features Sher. Her performance in Broken Glass has been universally lauded, The Evening Standard says her performance is terrific with overtones of the young Meryl Streep, The Daily Mail also likened her to the young Meryl Streep with a hugely intense performance.The Spectator describe her performance as mesmerizing and reiterating rarely have comparisons to the young Meryl Streep been more deserving.The Telegraph who wrongly attribute her part to the actress Madeleine Potter playing another role nevertheless describe her as playing Sylvia with a beautiful mixture of sensuality, confusion and grief. " Broken Glass is a late Arthur Miller play that was received badly when performed on Broadway but when shown at The National in London was received very well winning an Olivier Award, the current revival seems to be the best yet, The New York Times saying "this latest go-round being the best ever sharpening the focus on an admittedly difficult, contentious work" going on to say "Ms.Cohu's supremely limpid performance raises enduring questions of about the limits of emotional empathy with an emotional transparency that could not be more fuller or complete ", it is now scheduled to have a West End Tranfer

Awards

In November 2008 Cohu won an International Emmy award for Best Actress for her role in the true-life drama Forgiven.

Filmography

Television

Year Show Role Notes
1991 Casualty Theresa Johnson One episode: Beggars Can't Be Choosers
1992 The Good Guys Lucy Howells One episode: Relative Values
Sam Saturday Jill Connor One episode: On the Other Hand
1993 Poirot: The Chocolate Box Marianne Deroulard
1994 A Very Open Prison Reporter
The Dwelling Place Isabelle Fischel Three episodes: Episode 1.1, Episode 1.2, Episode 1.3
1995 Loving Violet
Pie in the Sky Miss Watson One episode: Swan in His Pride
1996 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Magdelene Heller Two episodes: The Secret House of Death: Part 1, The Secret House of Death: Part 2
1997 Peak Practice Gina Johnson Three episodes: State of Mind, Running to Hide, Borrowed Time
Rebecca Rebecca
Casualty Jayne Bazeley Five episodes
Queen: Made in Heaven Woman
Soldier Soldier Major Jessica Bailey Seven episodes
1998 Wycliffe Sophie Cattran One episode: Standing Stone
1999 RKO 281 Dolores Del Rio Uncredited
2000 Reach for the Moon Amelia Marchant Six episodes
2002 In Deep Elinor Two episodes: Blood Loss: Part 1, Blood Loss: Part 2
The Real Jane Austen Cassandra Austen
2003 Red Cap Megan Rhodes One episode: Cold War
Sweet Medicine Anna Winterson Five episodes
2004 The Bill Philippa Manson Nine episodes (2004–2005)
2005 The Queen's Sister Princess Margaret
2006 Bombshell Valerie Welling
Coup! Amanda Mann
2007 Cape Wrath Evelyn Brogan
Forgiven Liz Won 2008 International Emmy award for Best Actress
Ballet Shoes Theo Danes
2008 Einstein and Eddington Mileva Einstein
2009 Torchwood: Children of Earth Alice Carter
Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye Pat Fortescue
Murderland Sally
2010 Silent Witness Rebecca Connelly Two episodes: Intent: Part 1, Intent: Part 2
Midsomer Murders Jenny Russell One episode: The Sword of Guillaume

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1992 Pressing Engagement
2001 Gosford Park Lottie
2007 Becoming Jane Eliza De Feuillide

Trivia

  • Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
  • Son, Alexander (born 2000), and daughter, Lila (born 2002).


Nudography