Born in October 1957 in Holyhead, Anglesey, Dawn French met comedic cohort Jennifer Saunders at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.
Part of alternative comedy's first guard, the duo appeared in The Comic Strip Presents… on Channel 4's opening night in 1982.
In 1985, they starred in sitcoms Girls on Top and Happy Families, however it was the inception of the long-running French and Saunders sketch show in 1987 that established them as a mainstay of British humour.
French enjoyed her own comedy series in 1991 with Murder Most Horrid, but really hit the jackpot with the wildly popular The Vicar of Dibley in 1994.
Since then she's appeared in a stream of near-misses, including Let Them Eat Cake, Wild West and Jam and Jerusalem, while later series of French and Saunders have received poor critical notices.
She married fellow comic Lenny Henry in 1984.
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