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|Born||Rita Gemma Gabriel
1 June 1950
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
|Occupation||Actress, performer, singer, musician|
|Spouse(s)||Frazer Hines (1981–1984)
David Beamish (1990–1996)
Gemma Craven (born Rita Gemma Gabriel; 1 June 1950) is an Irish actress. She is best known for her role as Joan Parker, the frigid wife of Arthur (Bob Hoskins), in the BBC TV drama Pennies From Heaven (1978).
She appeared as Cinderella in the film The Slipper and the Rose (1976) opposite Richard Chamberlain. Cast as an unknown, she was spotted by one of the producers while performing at the Bristol Old Vic in a production of The Threepenny Opera. The local press touted the event as her own "Cinderella" story. The musical gave Craven an opportunity to shine with her impressive singing talents.
In London's West End, she starred opposite Tom Conti in the musical They're Playing Our Song for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance, the lead role in South Pacific and in Noël Coward's Private Lives opposite Marc Sinden, Tony Anholt and his wife Tracey Childs which toured throughout 1991 and into 1992. She also played Josie in Boy George's Taboo and features on the OCR singing "Independent Woman".
She appeared as Joan Parker, the frigid wife of Arthur (Bob Hoskins), in the original television version of Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven (1978); she has since talked about the difficulty the role presented in undertaking a nude scene, which was seen as counter to her public image. She also made guest appearances on Robin of Sherwood (1985), The Bill, The Morecambe and Wise Show, The Two Ronnies and Father Ted (episode "And God Created Woman"). in the popular English drama Midsomer Murders episode, "Shot at Dawn" as Judy Hicks, the wife of Dave Hicks (Brian Capron).
Craven was married from 1981–84 to actor Frazer Hines and from 1990–96 to financier David Beamish.
Craven now lives in Blackpool with "Lord Odin" who changed his name, by deed poll, from his birth name of Gary Womack. (Previously, Womack had his name changed to Mickey Mouse.)
- Phil Penfold (11 February 2005). "Trucking on – Gemma Craven". The Stage. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Joe Jackson (September 24, 2006). "Gemma's second blooming". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Gemma Craven at the Internet Movie Database
- Theatre of Comedy productions 1980
- British Theatre Guide 2001
- British Theatre Guide 2006
- "Taboo". Dress Circle. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- "Desert Island Disks". BBC Radio 4. 29 January 1988. Retrieved 7 May 2015.