Dawn French

A powerhouse figure in British television comedy, Dawn French was the star, frequent writer, and driving force behind some of the UK's best and most popular series, including "The Comic Strip Presents..." (Channel 4/BBC Two/Gold 1982-1988, 1990-1993, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2011-2012), "French and Saunders" (BBC Two 1987-2007) and "The Vicar of Dibley" (BBC Two 1994-2013). With frequent comedy partner Jennifer Saunders ("Absolutely Fabulous," BBC One 1992-2012), French was a keen and merciless parodist of pop culture, skewering British and American films, television and music talent with unerring skill. As a solo performer, French dug deeper into character portrayals, from the force-of-nature vicar in "The Vicar of Dibley" to a middle-class wife longing for connection with her husband on "Roger & Val Have Just Got In" (BBC Two 2010-12). Her ability to develop fresh, funny and often thoughtful material for television also allowed her a second career as a popular advertising spokesperson and well-loved guest on variety series, specials and benefit shows. Dawn French's considerable talents as both a performer and series creator kept her at the top of the UK small screen comedy game for more than three decades.