Born May 28, 1944
The chant "Let there be Lips!" has great significance for all Rocky Horror fans. The owner of the red pout is none other than Magenta herself, Pat Quinn. Little did the actress know when filming began on RHPS, that her mouth would end up providing an internationally recognized logo. Pat's 'lewd, lascivious' lips (as they were described by an angry studio executive) have become an icon for a huge cult film, being featured on posters, mugs, T-shirts, albums, pens, cards, and all manner of other merchandise. If Elle MacPherson is "The Body", then Pat Quinn is "The Lips".
Patricia Quinn was born in Belfast, Ireland, on May 28th, 1944. Her career began in the theatre, performing with the Glasgow Citizen's Theatre, and then studying at London's Drama Centre. One of her early parts was in AC/DC for the Royal Court, which won an award for Best Play of the Year. Several West End plays followed, but it was originating the role of Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show that really helped Pat's career take off. As the Usherette, Pat opened the first ever performance of Rocky Horror on the 16th of June, 1973, at The Theatre Upstairs (Royal Court). To many fans she is the only "real" Magenta, and her seductive voice and distinctive red hair are carefully imitated when dressing up.
Rocky Horror has remained a part of Pat's life, and unlike some original cast members, she has not overtly tried to shake off the image. She attended the first ever convention in Long Island, New York in 1977, and went again the following year. Other convention appearances include "Rockycon" in 1979, the Tenth Anniversary celebrations in 1985, and of course the recent "Transylvania" conventions (1992, 1994). During her return as Magenta on stage last year, Pat was happy to meet and chat with her fans backstage.
The chemistry between Magenta and Riff Raff in rocky Horror is one of the show's best elements. Pat Quinn and Richard O'Brien made a strong duo on stage and in the film version, but have also appeared together in other productions. They paired up in O'Brien's 1978 play Disaster, in which Pat played the power-hungry Martha Fortune. On film in 1981's Shock Treatment, Richard and Pat had another suspicious relationship as Cosmo and Nation McKinley. Offscreen, the two are friends, with a hint of professional rivalry! At "Transylvania" in 1992, Pat described her reaction when she discovered it was to be Richard providing the vocals for "Science Fiction" in RHPS. "You bastard", she seethed at Richard, in front of an amused Tim Curry. Hey, that's showbiz!
Pat is well known for her anecdotes of performances. Glitter features in several of her tales, such as the time she found Rayner Bourton (Rocky in the original stage show) in agony after some glitter made its way into a rather delicate area under his shorts! Another story involves Pat starring as famous Suffragette Christabel Pankhurst in the television drama Shoulder to Shoulder. Filming took place while Pat was still appearing on stage as Magenta. One night, still covered in glitter, she rushed from the theatre after a performance to catch a train to Halifax for filming. Fortunately, her period costume covered the evidence!
Versatility must be Pat's middle name. Playing the sultry Magenta and the powerful Christabel at the same time would be a challenge for any actress, yet Pat seems to handle such transitions with ease. Over her career she has played many interesting roles. In Sarah B. Divine she was the famous Sarah Bernhardt. In an episode of Tales of the Unexpected, Pat was an adulterous wife, and in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, played John Cleese's very helpful (and educational) spouse! Pat always steals the show. Sci-fi fans were treated to her performance in the Dr. Who story Dragonfire re, in which Pat played "Belazs", a military figure in "Ice World" on the planet "Svartos". Edward Peel and Bonnie Langford (why has she never played Columbia?!) also appeared.
Some of Pat's work is listed below, and no doubt there will be many more titles to add over the years. Pat Quinn is an actress who will never go out of style. One suggestion though: insure the lips!
Theatre: AC/DC, Another Love Story, Aunt Mary, Bedroom Farce, A Bright Room Called Day, Can't Pay Won't Pay, Cool Million, Disaster (1978), Light up The Sky, Macbeth, Murderer, The Rocky Horror Show (1973, 1994), Sarah B. Divine, A Small Family Business, Stripwell, The Threepenny Opera, Women Beware Women
Film: The Garnett Saga, Hawk The Slayer (1980), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), The Outsider, Rent-a-Dick (1972), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Shock Treatment (1981), up The Chastity Belt, up The Front
Television: Beauty and the Beast, Bergerac, The Bill, Box of Delights, A Christmas Carol, Clouds of Glory, The Countess Alice, Deasey, Dr. Who ("Dragonfire", 1987), Fortunes of War, Fox, Good Behaviour, Hammer House of Horror, I, Claudius, Lost Empires, The Love School, Minder, Prisoners of Childhood, The Professionals, Shoulder To Shoulder (1973), Tales of the Unexpected
Profile by M. Douglas
(Acknowledgments: James Harding, Bill Henkin, Sal Piro)
Patricia Quinn is loved for her portrayal of Magenta (a Domestic) in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW . Though not known as a musical actress, she created the role of Magenta in the original London play. Since then she has kept busy with a number of projects.
On film she appeared in Monty Python's THE MEANING OF LIFE and SHOCK TREATMENT among others. On TV she is best known for her roles in I, CLAUDIUS and DOCTOR WHO. She has also kept busy on the London stage and recently finished the 25th anniversary tour of the original play in Great Britain, recreating her role of Magenta.
She most enjoys the fame ROCKY HORROR has brought her and always has time to talk to fans and make everyone feel special.
For more info on Patricia Quinn, go to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).