Jane Asher

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Jane Asher
Asher in 2008
Born (1946-04-05) 5 April 1946 (age 69)
Willesden, London, England
Occupation Actress, author, entrepreneur
Years active 1952–present
Spouse(s) Gerald Scarfe (m. 1981)
Partner(s) Paul McCartney (1963–1968)
Children Katie (b. 1974)
Alexander (b. 1982)
Rory (b. 1984)

Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English actress, author and entrepreneur, who achieved early fame as a child actress, and has worked extensively in film and TV throughout her career.

She has appeared in TV shows and films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, Deep End, The Mistress, Crossroads, Death at a Funeral and The Old Guys. She is also known for supplying specialist cakes and kitchenware, as well as publishing three bestselling novels. She was a key figure of 1960s showbusiness society as the fiancée of Paul McCartney.

Early life[edit]

Asher was the middle of three children born to Richard Alan John and Margaret Asher, née Eliot, in Willesden, North West London.[1] Her father was a consultant in blood and mental diseases at the Central Middlesex Hospital, as well as being a broadcaster and the author of notable medical articles. Asher's mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Asher attended Queen's College in Harley Street, London[2] and is the elder sister of Clare Asher, a radio actress and school inspector. Asher's elder brother is record producer Peter Asher,[3] who was "Peter" of Peter and Gordon.

Acting career[edit]

Asher was a child actress and appeared in the 1952 film Mandy and the 1955 science fiction film The Quatermass Xperiment. She also played the title role in dramatised versions of Alice in Wonderland (1958) and Through the Looking-Glass for Argo Records. In 1961 she co-starred in The Greengage Summer which was released in the United States as Loss of Innocence. She also appeared in the 1962 film and Disney TV programme, The Prince and the Pauper. British TV appearances included three episodes (1956–1958) of the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood and as a panelist on the BBC's Juke Box Jury.

Asher appeared in Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death (1964) with Vincent Price, in Alfie opposite Michael Caine in 1966, and in Jerzy Skolimowski's Deep End (1970).

On television, she guest-starred in an episode of the British television comedy series The Goodies; The Stone Tape; Wicked Women; Rumpole of the Bailey; as Celia Ryder in the 1981 Granada Television adaptation of Brideshead Revisited; A Voyage Round My Father opposite Sir Laurence Olivier; The Mistress (1985–87); and as Faith Ashley in Wish Me Luck (three seasons from 1987–89).

Asher as Juliet when the Bristol Old Vic made a US tour in 1967

In 1994, she portrayed the Doctor Who companion Susan Foreman in a BBC Radio 4 comedy drama Whatever Happened to Susan Foreman? Another notable radio appearance was in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 2002, in the episode "The Peculiar Persecution of Mr John Vincent Harden".

In 2003, she appeared in the revived ITV soap, Crossroads where she played the hotel's owner, Angel Samson. After the soap was axed, Asher apologised to Crossroads fans for the way the 2003 series went.[4]

In 2004 she starred in Festen at the Arts Theatre. In 2005 she starred in The World's Biggest Diamond, by Gregory Motton, at the Royal Court Theatre. In 2006, Asher starred in the Richard Fell adaptation of the 1960s science fiction series A for Andromeda, which aired on the British digital television station BBC Four. In 2007, she portrayed the widow Sandra in the Frank Oz film Death at a Funeral. The same year Asher appeared in the BBC medical drama, Holby City as Lady Byrne. In October 2007, she played Andrea Yates in The Sarah Jane Adventures, in the episode "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?" Asher co-starred in the 2008 ITV drama series The Palace, filmed in Lithuania; she played Queen Charlotte, mother of King Richard IV.

In August 2008, Asher appeared in the reality TV talent show-themed television series, Maestro, on BBC Two with other showbusiness personalities.[5][6] From 2009 to 2010, she played Sally in the BBC One comedy series The Old Guys. In 2011 she played Margaret Harker in Waterloo Road.

In October 2009, she appeared as Delia in Peter Hall's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce at the Rose Theatre, Kingston and in her first pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Richmond Theatre in December 2009, receiving enthusiastic reviews for both.[7][8] In 2011 she returned to the Rose, Kingston as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.

In 2012 she appeared in Charley's Aunt at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In the summer of 2013 she played Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. In 2014 she starred in the stage adaptation of Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger at the Theatre Royal Bath and on tour.

Other work[edit]

Asher has written three best-selling novels: The Longing, The Question and Losing It, and published more than a dozen lifestyle, costuming, and cake decorating books. Asher owns a company that makes party cakes and sugar crafts for special occasions.[9] She also has her own brand of kitchenware that is being sold in Poundland shops in the UK [10] and also in Dealz Ireland.[11]

She is a shareholder in Private Eye,[12] President of Arthritis Care,[13] Patron of Scoliosis Association (UK)[14] and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.[15]

She is also President of the National Autistic Society, in which she takes an active role.[16] She was a speaker at the 2006 launch of the National Autistic Society's "Make School Make Sense" campaign and is President of Parkinson's UK.[17] In March 2010, Asher became Vice President to Autistica, a UK charity raising funds for autism research.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In 1963, Asher interviewed the Beatles[19] and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney, to whom she became engaged in 1967.[20][21][22][23] She accompanied McCartney to India in February 1968 to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. After discovering McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz[2][24][25] she ended the relationship on 20 July 1968.[9][23][26] She has never publicly spoken about The Beatles or her relationship with McCartney since that time.[27]

Asher met the illustrator Gerald Scarfe in 1971, and they married ten years later.[28] They have three children, daughter Katie (born 1974), and sons Alexander (born 1982) and Rory (born 1984).[29][30][31]



  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: June 1946 3a 765 Willeden, mmn = Eliot
  2. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopaedia (2000 paperback edition; first published 1992). London: Virgin Publishing, London W6 9HA. p. 403. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2. 
  3. ^ Scarfe, Gerald (2010). The Making of Pink Floyd The Wall. Da Capo Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-306-81997-1. 
  4. ^ "Crossroads History-Carlton Remakes 2000s". Crossroads Application Society. 
  5. ^ BBC Maestro
  6. ^ "Eight passionate amateurs bid to become BBC Two's Maestro" (Press release). BBC. 23 May 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  7. ^ Fiona Mountford (2009-10-16). "Bedroom Farce and Miss Julie see Rose in bloom - Theatre & Dance - Arts - Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  8. ^ "Theatre review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Richmond Theatre, Surrey". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  9. ^ a b Mitchison, Amanda 3 October 2005. Butter wouldn't melt. The Daily Telegraph telegraph.co.uk - Retrieved 7 May 2007.
  10. ^ "Jane Asher's Kitchen Poundland". 
  11. ^ "Jane Asher's Kitchen Dealz". 
  12. ^ "Peter Cook's bio". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Arthritis Care". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "SAUK - The Scoliosis Association (UK) - Jane Asher". 26 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "British Humanist Association". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "The National Autistic Society". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "Parkinson's UK". Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Autistica flyer" (PDF). Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  19. ^ Miles. p102.
  20. ^ "McCartney's lament: I can't buy your love," Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 2004 (link)
  21. ^ Vickers, Graham (2001). Rock Music Landmarks of London. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-8675-4.  (can be seen at http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZYU3euLYMAgC)
  22. ^ Bob Spitz, "The Beatles"
  23. ^ a b "1967 and 1968 years in the Beatles history". Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  24. ^ Miles 1998. p452
  25. ^ Newman, Raymond (20 August 2006). "Francie Schwartz". 
  26. ^ "Butter wouldn't melt", The Daily Telegraph, 3 October 2005 (link)
  27. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/3622480/The-darkness-behind-the-smile.html
  28. ^ GRO Register of Marriages: SEP 1981 13 1708 KENSINGTON & CHELSEA - Scarfe = Asher
  29. ^ GRO Register of Births:SEP 1974 14 2414 ST MARYLEBONE, SEP 1974 15 D'81 60538/S WESTMINSTER, DEC 1981 15 2434 WESTMINSTER, Katie Geraldine Scarfe, mmn = Asher
  30. ^ GRO Register of Births: MAR 1982 14 1970 CAMDEN - Alexander David Scarfe, mmn = Asher
  31. ^ GRO Register of Births: MAR 1984 15 2354 WESTMINSTER - Rory Christopher Scarfe, mmn = Asher


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