Who is Cush Jumbo? The English actor who “grew up poor” but became a star in the USA


Cush Jumbo’s career followed a familiar path from stage to screen.

Like many before her, she starred in theaters across the UK before switching to television and film. Best known for her roles in CBS’s The Good Wife and The Good Fight, she was most recently seen in the Netflix thriller Stay Close. She is a guest on Graham Norton’s New Year’s Eve show.

Jumbo was born in 1985 in London, where she grew up with her parents and five siblings, and said in a recent Guardian interview how she “grew up poor”. She said, “I was poor, I grew up poor, and although I never made any money in my early years, I never went into acting to make money. All I ever wanted was not to have to work as a waitress; To be able to act full-time and not owe anyone money. “

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Jumbo may still not be as well known in the UK, despite being a prime-time star in the US. She expressed the differences as an actor in the two countries and how unaccustomed Americans are to meeting black Brits: “I used to enjoy going into rooms and people were very confused by the voice that came out of that face.

“In the UK you go to an audition and you just got out of drama school and you open your mouth and people judge you because they know what kind of school you went to. While you go to an audition in the US and you open your mouth, you only hear the Queen. Or Mary Poppins. That’s all you hear! You’re doing a great job because they say, ‘You’re so posh!’ I’m literally from Lewisham and they have no idea. “

She was educated at the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she earned a first class degree before embarking on her career.

Upon graduation, Jumbo appeared in stage productions across the UK, including Love’s Labor’s Lost at Shakespeare’s Globe and a number of shows at the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester. She was last seen as Hamlet in the West End. For her theater work she has received an Ian Charleson Award, a UK Theater Award and a London Evening Standard Theater Award, as well as a nomination for the renowned Laurence Olivier.

Cush Jumbo joins Claire Foy, Peter Dinklage, Michael Sheen, Joe Lycett and Neil Hannon on the Graham Norton Show

Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo in The Good Fight

Jumbo has also been on television since 2007, with early credits in My Family, Torchwood, and Casualty. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Lucca Quinn on the CBS series The Good Wife and later in the spin-off The Good Fight.

In the American legal and political drama series, Jumbo’s character was a lawyer who became one of the main characters in later series. In 2019, she was awarded an OBE for services to the drama at the Queen’s Birthday Honors.

After spending five years in the US for her role in the CBS dramas, she returned to the UK for a number of British television dramas. Jumbo has played in Channel 4’s Deadwater Fell, Apple TV’s Trying series and Britbox’s The Beast Must Die since 2020. She most recently appeared in the original Netflix series Stay Close, a Harlan Coben thriller that promises to be edible.

Released on December 31, the series revolves around Jumbo’s character Megan and her secret past that promises to ruin her idyllic life. Jumbo keeps a lot of her personal life private, but she is married to tech developer Sean Griffin, with whom she has a two-year-old son, Maximilian.

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