When Imogen Stubbs delighted worldwide audiences with her performance as Viola in a 1996 film production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Americans may have wondered who this talented newcomer was, when in fact Stubbs was no neophyte actress but a seasoned veteran well-known to British audiences. Highly regarded for her intelligence, versatility, and formidable acting skill, she had appeared previously, mostly in the U.K., in stage and radio plays, television series, and motion pictures. Among her credits were challenging roles in productions of Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, and, for good measure, Monty Python.
Stubbs was born on February 20, 1961, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northumberland, England. She and her family lived for a short time in Portsmouth, where her father served as a naval officer, then moved to London to an unusual address -- a barge on the River Thames. Her London environs and their rich theater heritage no doubt fed her acting fancies, and after graduating from Oxford, she received classical training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.