Career transitions

Wouldn’t wish the disease upon anyone:

‘You see that grey building?” Leslie Ash says. We are standing at the window of her central London penthouse. “That’s Charing Cross hospital. Now, see that bit sticking out on the left? That was my room, on the top floor.” In 2004, Ash spent nearly three months there, recovering from the superbug methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), a variant of MRSA, perhaps watching her old life out of the window and wondering if she would ever get it back.

Sure, it’ll make a dent in a career. And yet, and yet:

She was 44 when she was admitted to hospital, still best recognised as the perkily luscious Debs in the BBC sitcom Men Behaving Badly. At 59, she still looks perky,

There’re an awful lot of good looking women who don’t quite make that transition. On the grounds that some careers – of course, not this one, of course not – are built on the perky lusciousness alone. And when that’s gone, as it does go……

25 thoughts on “Career transitions”

  1. We all get old and that is more painful for those who had the gift of looks to begin with. In a few hundred years there may be something technology can do about both looks and aging. Today’s options are not encouraging–as Miss Ash found out for herself.

  2. She glosses over it in the interview, but that trout pout surely was what killed her career. It was laughable at the time, and still is still what defines her career if you ask anyone.

  3. She was really little more than a babe. That was the whole purpose of her character in Men Behaving Badly: the babe that one of the blokes was chasing. It was Caroline Quentin who did all the heavy lifting of being funny.

    Also, if you’re hard up, move out of your London penthouse.

  4. My sympathies for her illness, which sounds awful, and I am glad that she’s over it.

    She doesn’t seem to be pitching the ‘older women are invisible, pity me’ line which so many come out with when their looks and the parts fade, although the writer clearly wishes that were so. Her comments on ‘me too’ don’t seem to make the Graun hack happy either.

    Nonetheless, she’s lucky to have had a good run at an acting career, with a decent bit of fame & fortune thrown in. I know attractive, talented people who struggled to make a living as actors and had to pack it in.

  5. Her breakthrough was Cupid’s Darts, 1981. That’s thirty eight years ago, and I still remember it. There are excerpts on youtube.

  6. Saw Haley Joel Osment in an episode of ” The Boys” a rather interesting take on the super hero genre. He was spellbinding child actor who grew into an uncastably hideous man. He seems relaxed about it , still a good actor actually .
    Donny Osmond clawed his way back into the lime light after a period of being a show biz lepour . Neil Sedaka washed up in the old working mens club scene as a bankrupt bald fat man doing calendar girl for a good hearted audience who appreciated his musicianship
    (It was Elton John who admired him , that got him a record deal and he cane up with ‘laughter in the rain’ ..( as you do) and re-set his career.)
    There are literally thousands of stories of the ups and downs of life in the media and every where else – blimey the Bee Gees were washes up when the got a call to some cod disco for a Film about a fading scene and its local heroes.

    Talent usually finds a way , work and determination help .It whining that I can`t stand

  7. Female Actors like Helen Mirran and Diana Rigg are some I can think of still playing roles on stage, screen and TV well into their 70’s.

  8. I never remotely fancied her, so I didn’t get that side of it anyway. I didn’t really watch the show, so I can’t even say if she was much of an actress. I read this bit

    – “All doors were shut. All doors were shut.” She says it twice as if they are rebounding in her face. “When I was doing Men Behaving Badly, people were asking: ‘Can you endorse this? Would you like this job?’ I was inundated,” she says.

    – and wondered how pleasant she was to people when she was on top. Sometimes doors shut because people don’t like you and take the first opportunity they can to shut them (or conversely they stay open when they could be shut because people like you).

    Of course, she might have been lovely, I don’t know.

  9. Noel – she looked like a horrifying live-action Donald Duck. Dunno why beautiful women don’t realise that a few wrinkles or whatever are far less detracting to their looks than very obvious cosmetic surgery.

    Newmania – the unfortunate thing about Mr Joel Osment is that he still has the face of a boy, but pasted onto a big fat head and potato-shaped body.

    You don’t need to be beautiful to be a successful actor, or else Danny DeVito wouldn’t be a rich and famous man. Doubt he’ll ever get cast as the love interest in a chick flick tho.

    The guy who plays Homelander is absolutely spellbinding as a superpowered sociopath.

  10. The guy who plays Homelander is absolutely spellbinding as a superpowered sociopath.

    Anthony Starr. He also was the lead in a show called Banshee which was enormous fun.

  11. Its interesting how people forget the lows in what become legendary performing careers, but almost everyone who manages to survive decades has them . Even Frank Sinatra had his ups and downs .
    Cher, who ( uniquely ) has scored number ones in every decade since the sixties, was down to doing cabaret with Sonny. They developed a variety act in these little venues and someone saw it and thought it would work well on TV …….back to the top with the Sonny and Cher show . Lots of people lost their way in the sixties.
    My point is that time moving on is not a peculiarly female problem. By the way the story of Elton John reaching out to Neil Sedaka is quite true. At that time Elton was ruling the world and bothered to help a fellow piano man ..
    Decent bloke under the tinsel , always has been

  12. Newmania – seems to be forgotten now, but Sinatra’s popularity dipped in the early 50’s partly as a result of his very public adultery and divorce.

    This was regarded as genuinely scandalous by the straight-laced record-buying public of the time – these were the days when Billy Graham was preaching to audiences in the US, London and Glasgow that would put today’s rock stars to shame.

    The past really is a different country.

  13. Dennis, Geography Master and Pendant

    Female Actors like Helen Mirran and Diana Rigg are some I can think of still playing roles on stage, screen and TV well into their 70’s.

    Helen Mirren as well.

  14. Runcie: You could include Glenda Jackson, who was brilliant in last night’s Elisabeth is Missing.Not that I liked her, even in her youth, and becoming a Labour MP she pissed me off mightily. But at 83 she was brilliant.

  15. No time for Jackson as a leftist stooge–but her Elizabeth R remains the gold standard for portraying Gloriana.

  16. If you remember John Travoltas career was in terminal decline at the time when some young upstart director decided to put him into his new movie. Pulp Fiction single handedly gave his career a new lease of life.
    Plenty of acting careers will have their ups and downs with people moving in and out of fashion.
    The industry itself changes too, as you can see with the popularity of streaming services giving employment opportunities to thespians who otherwise would never get into a big name film.
    You have to adapt, just like in any other industry.

  17. I first remember Leslie Ash from C.A.T.S. Eyes, she was eye candy in it too. I fancied the posh one – Rosalyn Landor

    Noel +1 on trout pout ending her career


    Yep. Back in early 90s Tony Slattery was everywhere on TV comedy, then he vanished

  18. Rosalyn Landor, phwoar, she was also in Rumpole as I recall. Went to America and rather disappeared.

    Top trivua, Ms Landor played the little girl in The Devil Rides Out, with Christopeher Lee and Charles Gray.

    Jill Gascoine’s son went to my school, Bash Street for a year till he got into acting school.

  19. It is strangely heartening to see Facepainter’s bizarre take on Neil Sedaka’s career. He views the world through a strange distorting lens

  20. @Ottokring December 9, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    The Devil Rides Out – first time I watched when I was young it really scared me as too real compared to Dracula, Frankie, Werewolf etc

    Amazing cast in it

    Top Trump: Ken Stott went to my school (for free), his dad was my English teacher in third form

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