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Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English actress, author and entrepreneur.

Early life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Asher was the middle of three children born to Richard Alan John and Margaret Ashernée Eliot, in WillesdenNorth West London.[1] Her father was a consultant in blood and mental diseases at the Central Middlesex Hospital, as well as being a broadcaster and the author of notable medical articles. Asher's mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Asher attended Queen's College in Harley Street, London[2] and is the elder sister of Clare Asher, a radio actress and school inspector. Asher's elder brother is record producer Peter Asher,[3] who was "Peter" of Peter and Gordon.

Asher was a child actress and appeared in the 1952 film Mandy and the 1955 science fiction film The Quatermass Xperiment. She also had a title role in a version of Alice in Wonderland(1958) and Through the Looking-Glass for Argo Records. In 1961 she co-starred in The Greengage Summer which was released in the United States as Loss of Innocence. She also appeared in the 1962 film and Disney TV programme, The Prince and the Pauper. British TV appearances included three episodes (1956–1958) of the British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood and as a panelist on the BBC's Juke Box Jury.

Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[1][2]Asher as Juliet when the Bristol Old Vicmade a US tour in 1967.

Asher appeared in Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Alfie, opposite Michael Caine in 1966, and in Jerzy Skolimowski's Deep End. She guest-starred in an episode of the British television comedy series The Goodies in the episode "Punky Business", as a trend-setting newspaper writer, The Stone TapeRumpole of the Bailey; as Celia Ryder in Brideshead RevisitedA Voyage Round My Father opposite Laurence Olivier; as Faith Ashley in Wish Me Luck (three seasons in 1987–89); The Mistress (1985–87); Crossroads Mark III (2003) as hotel owner Angel Samson.

In 1994, she portrayed the Doctor Who companion Susan Foreman in a BBC Radio 4 comedy drama Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman? Another notable radio appearance was in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 2002, in the episode "The Peculiar Persecution of Mr John Vincent Harden". She starred in The World's Biggest Diamond, by Gregory Motton, at the Royal Court Theatre in 2005. In 2006, Asher starred in the Richard Fell adaptation of the 1960s science fiction series A for Andromeda, which aired on the British digital television stationBBC Four. In 2007, she portrayed the widow Sandra in the Frank Oz film Death at a Funeral. Asher appeared in the BBC medical drama, Holby City as Lady Byrne. In October 2007, she played Andrea Yates in The Sarah Jane Adventures, in the episode "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?" Asher co-starred in the 2008 ITV drama series The Palace, filmed in Lithuania; she played Queen Charlotte, mother of King Richard IV. The Palace broadcast on ITV1 in 2008.

In August 2008, Asher appeared in the reality TV talent show-themed television series, Maestro, on BBC Two. That summer, she participated in the BBC's Maestro series with other show business personalities.[4][5] In 2009, she played Sally in the BBC One comedy series The Old Guys.

In October 2009, she appeared as Delia in Peter Hall's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce at the Rose Theatre, Kingston and in her first pantomimeSnow White and the Seven Dwarfsat Richmond Theatre in December 2009, receiving enthusiastic reviews for both.[6][7]

Asher has written three best-selling novels: The Longing, The Question and Losing It, and published more than a dozen lifestyle, costuming, and cake decorating books. Asher owns a company that makes party cakes and sugar crafts for special occasions.[8][dead link]

She is a shareholder in Private Eye,[9] President of Arthritis Care[10] and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.[11]

She is also President of the National Autistic Society, in which she takes an active role.[12] She was a speaker at the launch of the National Autistic Society's "Make School Make Sense" campaign and is President of Parkinson's UK.[13] In March 2010, Asher became Vice President to Autistica, a UK charity raising funds for autism research.[14]

Personal life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 1963, Asher interviewed the Beatles[15] and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney, to whom she became engaged in 1967.[16][17][18][19] She accompanied McCartney to India in February 1968 to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. After discovering McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz[2][20][21] she ended the relationship on 20 July 1968.[8][19][22]

Asher met the illustrator Gerald Scarfe in 1971, and they married ten years later.[23] They have three children, daughter Katie (born 1974), and sons Alexander (born 1982) and Rory (born 1984).[24][25][26]

Selected filmography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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