WCW: Tracey Ullman


Tracey Ullman is a renaissance woman — she’s a comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, singer, dancer, she’s probably a costume designer though I can’t find an IMDB credit. It seems like she can do anything, and for our purposes, that includes a few historical costume movies and TV shows. While I’ve loved her most for her various comedy series (among her long list of awards and credits, let’s not forget that The Simpsons started as a cartoon on The Tracey Ullman Show on FOX), I also enjoy the few times she’s turned up in frock flicks and hope it’ll happen again. As she says: “I try to do everything … There’s nothing I won’t attempt.”



Ethel Monticue in The Young Visiters (1984)

Tracey Ullman, The Young Visiters (1984)

Per IMDB: “Alfred Salteena is a slightly bumbling gentleman who meets a young lady on a train and invites her to his house in London. She comes to see society and meet young men, and bothers him to go out and meet important people. They travel to see Lord Bernard Clark, where Alfred realises that he is not “high society” enough to win the beautiful social climber Ethel Monticue. Bernard offers to send him to a training school to help gentlemen “improve themselves”, while he “entertains” Ethel at his house.” Whew!



Alice Park in Plenty (1985)

Tracey Ullman, Plenty (1985)

I still can’t quite believe Tracey Ullman & Sting co-starred with Meryl Streep in this intense post-WWII story.



Catherine Falconetti in Household Saints (1993)

Tracey Ullman, Household Saints (1993)

Another serious turn in this movie about an Italian-American family in 1950s New York.



Eden Brent in Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Tracey Ullman, Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Finally a period comedy! Set in 1928, where she plays a wacky actress with a chihuahua.




Aunt Juley in Howards End (2017)

Tracey Ullman, Howards End (2017)

As the busybody aunt, she gets alllllllll the best hats in this otherwise unnecessary remake.

Tracey Ullman, Howards End (2017)



Betty Friedan in Mrs. America (2020)

Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America (2020)

Set in the 1970s & well past our cutoff (esp. since I remember this stuff!), but hey, she plays an iconic feminist and was nominated for an Emmy, so I’ll let it slide this once.



What’s your favorite Tracey Ullman role in historical costume movies or TV shows?

15 Responses

  1. Lynda

    One could make a solid case that her fabulous Mod look in the the “They Don’t Know” video (1983) also merits inclusion on this list [https://youtu.be/f9un119lq4c]

    • Orian Hutton

      I don’t remember her in Wolf Hall and cannot find any mention that she was in the series. Who did she play?

      • Katie

        My bad, checking IMDB reveals that I somehow mixed her up with Monica Dolan.

    • guest

      You’re thinking of Monica Dolan😉 They do look really similar though!

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Who does she play in Wolf Hall? I really enjoyed Plenty.

  3. CJ Eaton

    Tracey Ullman was hysterically funny as Aunt Maggie in the video of the “radio” show, What About Dick? Her 40s era gown was fab!

  4. Northcountry gal

    When I see that picture of her as Betty Friedan and the other women in the shot, I am reminded once again that the 1970s were a period of really horrendous clothing. I was there and yes they were as awful as this picture implies.