Lenny Henry(1958-), Comedian and actor
Sir Lenworth George ('Lenny') Henry
Sitter in 13 portraits
British-born to Jamaican immigrant parents, Henry was talent-spotted on the New Faces television show when he was sixteen. His career was established with the television series Three of a Kind and cult children's programme Tiswas. In the 1980s, he spent three years as a DJ on Radio 1 playing soul and electro music and, from 1984-2003 and had his own series on the BBC, The Lenny Henry Show featured stand-up, spoofs and character sketches. As one of the early pioneers of black-centric comedy, he paved the way for many other minority-ethnic entertainers and comedy actors in the UK. Henry has toured successfully as a stand-up comedian for most of his career. He was one of the co-founders of Comic Relief in 1985. In 2009, he appeared in the title role of a stage production of Shakespeare's tragedy Othello in Leeds and London, which was followed by his National Theatre debut in The Comedy of Errors (2011) and a critically acclaimed performance in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse, London (2017). In recent years, Henry has been an authoritative campaigner for improved Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) representation in broadcasting, calling for decisive legislation to increase BAME production staff and on-screen talent to 50%. In 2017, he targeted his efforts towards the BBC and OfCom. In 2018, he completed a PhD in Media Arts at Royal Holloway University of London, with a thesis entitled Does the Coach Have to be Black?: The Sports film, screenwriting and Diversity. He is currently Chancellor of Birmingham University.
- Dawn French (wife)
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