Jane Leeves (born April 18, 1961) is an English film, stage, and television actress, comedienne and dancer. She is the voice actor of Wanda Acronym, Inspector Initials, and Nikki Stars in Phineas and Ferb. She is best known for playing Daphne Moon on the 1993-2004 NBC sitcom Frasier.

Leeves made her screen debut with a small role in the 1983 popular British comedy television show The Benny Hill Show. Leeves moved to the United States, where she performed in small roles until she secured a recurring part in the television sitcom Murphy Brown. In 1986–1988, Leeves garnered her first leading role in the short-lived sitcom Throb[1] and, in 1993, achieved wider fame as Daphne Moon on the television sitcom Frasier for the entire run of the series, from 1993 until 2004, for which she was nominated for Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards during the show's run. She received further recognition for her performances in Miracle on 34th Street (1994), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Music of the Heart (1999) and The Event (2003).

More recently she has worked in television production, but beginning in June 2010, Leeves returned to acting, as Joy on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland.[2]

Early life

Leeves was born in Salford. She later moved to Ilford Essex and then East Grinstead. Early in her career she trained as a Ballet dancer at Bush Davies School of Dance and worked as a model, until she made her first film appearance in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Leeves gave up on the possibility of a career in ballet due to an ankle injury.[3]


She was a regular on The Benny Hill Show (as one of "Hill's Angels"), putting her experience as a dancer in the famous "Christmas in Heaven" scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and appeared as a tourist with a baby in the David Lee Roth music video for the song "California Girls," but struggled for several years to establish herself. She became somewhat visible as the flighty record company employee, Blue (née Prudence Anne Bartlett), on the syndicated sitcom Throb!.

She had a recurring role in the television series Murphy Brown which provided her first period of success, playing Audrey, the loud and awkward girlfriend of producer Miles Silverberg (played by Grant Shaud). Leeves also appeared as the troublesome Marla the Virgin in four risqué episodes of Seinfeld: "The Virgin", "The Contest", "The Pilot" and "The Finale - Part 2". During this period Leeves was cast as Holly for the pilot of the U.S. version of the science-fiction comedy Red Dwarf. She also had a role as a lesbian in the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A.

In 1993, she joined the cast of the television series Frasier. Leeves played the eccentric, forthright and allegedly psychic Mancunian Daphne Moon. By the start of 2000–01 season, Leeves was pregnant, and the writers incorporated her pregnancy into shows as weight gain due to her character's stress from her relationship with Niles (portrayed by David Hyde Pierce). By the conclusion of Frasier, Leeves had received an Emmy Award nomination for her role and had become the highest-paid British actress in Hollywood.[4]

Appearing less frequently in cinema, Leeves lent her regular voice and her singing voice to the animated film James and the Giant Peach (1996) and acted in the film Music of the Heart (1999).

In 2002, she appeared in the Broadway musical Cabaret.[5]

In 2004, she hosted an episode of the British television comedy quiz show Have I Got News for You.

Her 2006 show, The WB's sitcom Misconceptions, went unaired.[6]

Leeves provides guest vocals in The Penguins of Madagascar as Lulu, a female chimp, with whom Phil falls in love.

With Peri Gilpin, Leeves also set up the production company "Bristol Cities" (a deliberate reference to the cockney rhyming slang for 'titties'[7]). Their latest project was in 2007 a pilot for a US remake of the British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, with Kirstie Alley in the title role.

In 2010 she was a guest star in two episodes in ABC's Desperate Housewives as Lynette and Tom's therapist, Dr. Graham.

Since 2010 she has been playing a fortysomething in the new TV Land comedy, Hot in Cleveland, with Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick (also her co-star in the final season of Frasier), and TV and film legend Betty White. In 2011 she was nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, with cast.[8]

Personal life

She has been married to Marshall Coben, a CBS Paramount Television executive, since December 21, 1996, and they have two children. Daughter Isabella Kathryn Coben was born on January 9, 2001, and the pregnancy was written into the Frasier plotline as a weight-gaining problem for Daphne Moon. Frasier co-star Peri Gilpin was in the delivery room when daughter Isabella was born and is Isabella's godmother, and Jane is also godmother of Peri Gilpin's daughter Stella. Peri and Jane also live next door to one another in Los Angeles. Her son Finn William Leeves Coben, was born on December 19, 2003, and both David Hyde Pierce and John Mahoney are his godfathers.

Year Film/TV Role Notes
1981 Halloween II Victim (brief appearance) Uncredited
Nice to See You! Performer N/A
1983 Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Dancer Uncredited
The Hunger N/A
1983–1985 The Benny Hill Show Hill's Angel 4 episodes
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. Serena Credited as Jane Leaves
1987 Murder, She Wrote Gwen Petrie 1 episode
1986–1988 Throb Prudence Anne 'Blue' Bartlett 48 episodes
1989 It's a Living Terry Tedaldo 1 episode
Mr. Belvedere Professor Ann Burns
Hooperman Annie
1989–1993 Murphy Brown Audrey Cohen 9 episodes
1990 My Two Dads N/A 1 episode
Room for Romance Harriet
Who's the Boss? Ms. Adams
1991 Blossom Sheila
1992 Red Dwarf Holly Unaired US pilot[9]
Just Deserts Amy Phillips N/A
1992–1998 Seinfeld Marla Penny 4 episodes
1994 Mr. Write Wylie N/A
Miracle on 34th Street Alberta Leonard
1995 Caroline in the City Daphne Moon 1 episode
1996 James and the Giant Peach Ladybug Voice
Pandora's Clock Pandora's Clock N/A
The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century Caroline Webb Voice
1998 Hercules: The Animated Series Athena
1999 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Juliet Gosling N/A
Music of the Heart Dorothea von Haeften
2003 The Event Mona
The Simpsons Edwina 1 episode, voice
1993–2004 Frasier Daphne Moon 263 episodes,
Golden Globe Award - Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1995) - Nominated
Emmy Awards - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1998) - Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2000) - Won
(1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2001,2002,2003,2004)- Nominated
Viewers for Quality Television Awards - Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series - Won (1995),
Nominated 1998,1999,2000
Satellite Awards - Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy- Nominated (2000,2004)
2006 Misconceptions Amanda Watson 7 episodes
Twenty Good Years Mary Frances 1 episode
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Eenie Voice
2008 The Starter Wife Ann Hefton 2 episodes
2009–2011 The Penguins of Madagascar Lulu 2 episodes, voice
2009 Phineas and Ferb Admiral Acronym
Endless Bummer Liv N/A
2010 Desperate Housewives Dr. Graham 2 episodes
Notes from the Underbelly Gracie 1 episode
2010–present Hot in Cleveland Joy Scroggs Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Awards - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2011)


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