Szubanski at Tropfest 2013
|Born||Magdalene M. Szubanski
12 April 1961
Liverpool, Lancashire, 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
Szubanski was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her mother, Margaret (McCarthy), a native of Dunfermline, Scotland, was of Irish and Scottish descent. Her father, Zbigniew Szubanski, came from a well-off Polish family and was, according to Magda, an assassin in a counter-intelligence branch of the Polish resistance movement in World War II. She immigrated to Australia in 1965 with her brother, sister and parents. She attended high school at Siena College, Melbourne, and later studied Arts/Law at the University of 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 TV films 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.
Szubanski became a spokesperson for the dieting company Jenny Craig in November 2008. Szubanski joined Jenny Craig weighing 110 kg, and had been diagnosed with sleep apnoea. By July 2009, she had lost 36 kg to weigh 85 kg. She later regained weight, then was dropped as a spokesman for Jenny Craig. However, subsequent weight loss led to her being re-signed as their spokesperson. She features in commercials for Telstra.
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 programme 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
- Legit (2014) - Anne Jefferies
- Babe (1995) – Esme Cordelia Hoggett
- Babe: Pig in the City (1998) – Esme Cordelia 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
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum 2012 - Domina
- 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 & 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
- 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.
- Craven, Peter (November 10, 2007). "There's something about Magda". The Age. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- McMahon, Kate (February 15, 2012). "Magda Szubanski had suicidal thoughts over sexuality". News.com.au. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Szubanski, Magda (March 18, 2014). "Reclaiming Fear". The Moth. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Alumni". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Burnstock, Tammy. "It's Academic – Episode 40: Curator's notes". Australian Screen. National Film and Sound Archive, Australia. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "Magda Szubanski (Mondo Things: Cheat Notes, episode 30)". Mondo Things. ABC. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Park, Nicky (December 24, 2008). "Weight no longer a joke for Magda Szubanski". Brisbane Times. AAP. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Browne, Rachel (November 1, 2009). "The risks and rewards of celebrity slimmers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "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