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Magda Szubanski on Tropfest 2013
12 April 1961 |
Liverpool, England, UK
Szubanski's career began while she was studying at university and she progressed to television sketch comedy, as both a writer and performer. She has performed in the comedy programs The D-Generation and Fast Forward; more recently, she stars as Sharon Strzelecki in the television comedy show Kath & Kim.
Life and career 
Early life 
Szubanski was born in Liverpool, England; her father came from a well-off Polish family and her mother was Scottish-Irish, a native of Dunfermline. She immigrated to Australia in 1966 with her brother, sister, and parents. She attended high school at Siena College, Melbourne.
In 1985, while performing in a University of Melbourne revue of Too Cool for Sandals, with Michael Veitch and Tom Gleisner, Szubanski was talent-spotted by producers from the ABC network, who convinced her to join up with some other university friends in creating the television sketch comedy show, The D-Generation.
Szubanski was part of the team that created the television sketch comedy Fast Forward for the Seven Network, in which she played various characters, including Pixie-Anne Wheatley, Chenille, Sharon Strzelecki (Kath & Kim), Mary MacGregor, Joan Kirner and Lynne Postlethwaite, and other characters. In 1995, she wrote, produced, and starred in Big Girl's Blouse. She had a starring role in the 1995 international hit film Babe as Esme Hoggett. She reprised her role in the 1998 sequel Babe: Pig in the City.
Szubanski starred as Margaret O'Halloran in the Dogwoman series of telemovies in 2000. She began her role on Kath & Kim as Sharon in 2002 and she continued in the subsequent seasons, including the special Da Kath & Kim Code. In 2006, Szubanski hosted a five-part series on the Nine Network, called Magda's Funny Bits, which showed 'never-before-seen' footage of some of her most famous characters from the comedy show Fast Forward. Branded as 'no frills', it attracted insufficient ratings, and thus did not continue. She had a similar short-lived result as host of the Network Ten clip show The Spearman Experiment in 2009.
In 2007 she had a minor role as the house maid in The Golden Compass to Lyra Belacqua. She also voiced the character Miss Viola from the Academy Award-winning animated feature Happy Feet. In 2007, Szubanski played the part of William Barfee in the musical called The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In 2008, she played the role of Big Jule in the major stage production Guys and Dolls. In 2010 she appeared in the film Bran Nue Dae as Roadhouse Betty.
Other projects 
Szubanski became a spokesperson for the dieting company Jenny Craig in November 2008. Szubanski joined Jenny Craig weighing 120 kg, and had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. By July 2009 she had lost 36 kg to weigh 85 kg.
Personal life 
On 14 February 2012, Szubanski came out, hinting that she was gay in a statement supporting same-sex marriage timed to coincide with Valentine's Day. Later that day she stated that she "absolutely identifies as gay" in an interview with Australian TV current affairs program The Project. Szubanski also spoke at the 2012 Sydney Mardi Gras after party, wearing a shirt featuring her newly coined slogan "If there was a tablet that cured gayness… I wouldn’t take it."
- The D-Generation (1986–1987) – various characters
- The D-Generation Goes Commercial (1988) – various characters
- Fast Forward (1989–1992) – Pixie-Anne Wheatley, Chenille, Joan Kirner, Mary McGregor, Maggie T + Satan's Brides
- Bligh (1992) – Betsy Bligh
- A Royal Commission Into The Australian Economy (1993) – Mr. Cardigan, Mr. Trouser, Bill Kelty
- The Making Of Nothing (1993) – Judith Gates/Kim Borrodale
- Big Girl's Blouse (1994) – herself, Sharon Strzelecki, Lynne Postlethwaite
- Something Stupid (1998) – various characters
- Farscape (1999–2001) – Furlow
- Dogwoman (2000) – Margaret O'Halloran
- Cubix (2001) - Mrs. Tuteru
- Kath & Kim (2002–2007) – Sharon Strzelecki (the character's name is a play on Magda's Polish descent)
- Magda's Funny Bits (2006) – Mary McGregor, Chenille, Sharon Strzelecki, Lynne Postlethwaite (5 episodes made, but only 4 were shown)
- The Spearman Experiment (2009) – Host
- Who Do You Think You Are? (2010) – Herself
- Babe (1995) – Esme Hoggett
- Babe: Pig in the City (1998) – Esme Hoggett
- The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002) – Brozzie Drewitt
- Son of the Mask (2005) – Neighbour Betty
- Happy Feet (2006) – Miss Viola
- Dr Plonk (2007) – Mrs Plonk
- The Golden Compass (2007) – Mrs Lonsdale
- Bran Nue Dae (2010) – Roadhouse Betty
- Happy Feet Two (2011) – Miss Viola
- Kath and Kimderella (2012) – Sharon Strzelecki
- Goddess (2013) - Cassandra Wolfe
- Guys and Dolls – Big Jule
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – William Barfee
- Grease: The Arena Spectacular (National Australia Tour) 2005 - Miss Lynch
- Won the 'Most Popular Comedy Personality' award at the 1991, 1992 and 1996 Logie awards
- Won the Australian Film Institute's award 'Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama' award in 2002
- Nominated for the 'Most Popular Actress' award at the 2005 Logie Awards, for her role in Kath and Kim
- Nominated for 'Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama or Comedy' award in 2003 at the AFI Awards
- Nominated for 'Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama or Comedy' award in 2004 at the AFI Awards
- Magda Szubanski at the Internet Movie Database
- Knox, David (26 November 2010). "Comedy masks Magda's pain". tv.com. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
- "There's something about Magda". The Age (Melbourne). 10 November 2007.
- McMahon, Kate (15 February 2012). "Magda Szubanski had suicidal thoughts over sexuality". Herald Sun.
- "Magda Szubanski gets serious about slimming down". thewest.com.au (The West Australian). 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
- Magda achieves her goal – A Current Affair, 21 July 2009
- "Szubanski comes out, calls for gay marriage". Ninemsn. 14 February 2012.
- "Magda Szubanski in Valentine's Day plea for gay marriage". The Daily Telegraph. 14 February 2012.
- "Magda Szubanski 'absolutely' identifies as gay". The Daily Telegraph. 15 February 2012.
- "Magda's Moment at Mardigrasland". SameSame.com.au. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- Australian Film Institute, Past Winners, Television 1986–2006
Further reading