Diana Quick is an award-winning English actress who has played several notable roles during her six-decade-long illustrious career. As a professional actress, her most prominent role was her portrayal of Lady Julia Flyte in the television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic ‘Brideshead Revisited’. The series propelled her to TV stardom, bringing multiple work opportunities in the world of entertainment. Aside from making her one of the most popular names on British television, her role as Lady Julia Flyte also earned her Emmy and BAFTA nominations. Despite her busy schedule on television, Quick has always found time to return to theatre, and has appeared in William Shakespeare’s ‘Troilus and Cressida’ and Bertolt Brecht’s’ ‘The Threepenny Opera’. Her notable film credits include a role in the 2001 pre-French Revolution drama ‘The Affair of the Necklace’, and ‘Saving Grace’ (2000). She has also made several guest appearances in award-winning English series, such as ‘Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka’ and ‘Inspector Morse’. She was last seen in the TV series ‘The Missing’ (2014) and ‘The Living and the Dead’ (2016). The remarkable actress continues to actively engage herself in the world of cinema and entertainment.
Diana Quick became interested in an acting career when her English teacher took notice of her talent and encouraged her to pursue acting while she was studying at Dartford Grammar School for Girls in Kent. In 1964, 18-year-old Quick left to study at the Lady Margaret College, Oxford University. Just like many other great actors and actresses of her generation, she became a member of the Oxford University Dramatic Society, learning the nuances of acting. However, she was not just another ordinary member. She went on to become the first woman president of the society, which was a prescient sign of a rich and illustrious career that was waiting for her, following her university years.
She was first seen on the big screen when she played a minor role in the comedy sketch show ‘The Complete and Utter History of Britain’ in 1969. She made her film debut in 1971 with ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’. Other movies soon followed, and she was seen in ‘A Private Enterprise’ (1974), ‘The Duellists’ (1977), ‘The Three Hostages’ (1977), ‘The Odd Job (1978), and ‘The Big Sleep’ (1978). While these movies did not bring her much recognition, her next role in a television series proved to be her big breakthrough. In 1981, Quick starred in the TV adaptation of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ as Julia Flyte and her life changed overnight. The series was a roaring success and earned her critical acclaim. She was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA and an Emmy. She began starring in more popular movies, such as ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ (1984), ‘Max, Mon Amour’ (1986), and ‘Wilt’ (1989). She also made a guest appearance in the comedy series ‘Minder: An Officer and a Car Salesman’ in 1988.
In the 1990s, Quick wasn’t as active in film or television as she had decided to focus on theatre. Her only movie role from the decade was her portrayal of Diane de Poitiers in the biography drama ‘Nostradamus’ in 1994. She also appeared in the TV series ‘Dandelion Dead’ in the same year. She was next seen in the film ‘Saving Grace’ in 2000, which was followed by roles in ‘The Affair of the Necklace’ (2001), ‘The Discovery of Heaven’ (2001), and ‘Revengers Tragedy’ (2002). She was also a part of several hit English TV dramas and comedies, making guest appearances in ‘Inspector Morse’ (2003), ‘Poirot’ (2003), ‘Doctor Who’ (2003), ‘Midsomer Murders’ (2004), and ‘Kingdom’ (2008).
In 2009, she was roped in to play the Queen in the docu-drama ‘The Queen’ for the episode ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?’. Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II was appreciated and lauded by many. She starred in the anthology drama series ‘The Missing’ in 2014 and in the fantasy series ‘The Living and the Dead’ in 2016. Quick is also a theatre actress who often essays lead characters in award-winning plays. Her most famous plays include ‘Troilus and Cressida’ and ‘The Threepenny Opera.’
Quick became an author in 2009 after writing ‘A Tug on the Thread: From the British Raj to the British Stage’. The book, which was published by Virago, delved into Quick’s British-Indian ancestry. She reveals in her book that own identity as an Anglo-Indian shaped her influences and inspired her to write this book. Today, after being a part of the film industry for many years, she isn’t apologetic about her choices or lackluster roles. Instead, she sees them as a challenge she wishes to overcome. Quick is also passionate about feminism and often speaks about the cause. She was the ambassador for HeForShe Arts Week, a UN program devised to promote gender equality.
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Family & Personal Life
Diana Marilyn Quick was born on November 23, 1946 in London, England and grew up in Dartford, Kent. She was married to the actor Kenneth Cranham from 1974 to 1978, before the duo decided to divorce. She met Bill Nighy, a prominent English actor, when they co-starred in a play at the National Theatre. The duo embarked on a relationship in 1980, but after 28 years of companionship, they decided to call it quits and separated in 2008. They have a daughter, Mary Nighy, together. Mary is a reputed director and actress as well. Quick recently became a grandmother when Mary gave birth to her daughter Béatrice.