Dee (Deirdre) Quemby was born in Loughborough, Leicestershire. She grew up at her grandparents’ public house The Charnwood Forest Railway Inn, Shepshed, Leicestershire and later on also lived in Rothley and Mountsorrel, Leicestershire.
At the age of 18 months she attended dance classes in Loughborough and appeared in her first show, Dick Whittington, at the Corn Exchange, Loughborough Town Hall at the age of 2 years. Dee qualified as a stage dance teacher at the age of 18 years. Her most successful former pupil is two times Laurence Olivier award winner and Tony nominee choreographer Stephen Mear whom she taught from when he was 3 years old to 17 years before he left for The London Studio to pursue a career in musical theatre.
Dee appeared as a principal in panto at the age of 18 years. At that time, due to a shortage of men, taking part in local theatre groups, this led to her playing the traditional male parts such as Buttons, Idle Jack and Wishee-Washee. From playing these parts she developed a love of performing and comedy. Dee entered talent competitions and whilst still an amateur comic appeared on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks, she also passed the New Faces audition but never appeared as that year the TV show was axed.
Dee reached the semi- finals at the New Kings Cabaret Club in Birmingham where all the top professional stars of the time such as Bob Monkhouse, Roy Castle and Des O’Connor appeared regularly. Dee was taken under the wing of the resident compere of the club professional comedian Nick Barry. Nick took her around the many Birmingham clubs and gave her a 15 minute spot in his cabaret shows. There were so many clubs in Birmingham that it was possible to have worked a different one every night of the year and at that time stand-up comedy was a very male dominated profession. Dee then went on to appear in her own right as a stand-up comic in the working men’s clubs, social clubs, Butlin’s hotels, nightclubs, cabaret clubs and theatres. She has also appeared in the top variety venues at the time Caesars Palace, Luton and the London Palladium. At that time Dee was amongst the first women stand-up comics working professionally. She is also one of the two women ever to appear on Granada’s cult TV show The Comedians.
Variety artists at that time were recruited to be extras in the many successful and award winning TV programmes being filmed in the East Midlands TV studios. This led to the odd line and then to parts and Dee’s first major acting role was as Lulu Dingle in the popular ‘soap’ Emmerdale. Dee has since appeared in many TV productions and films. She is proud to be credited on the Last of the Summer Wine website as the last new character in the last of the Last of the Summer Wine and was thrilled to be able to work with the great icons of British comedy in the cast. Dee feels very honoured to have appeared on TV as the iconic Judy Garland in the last dramatic years of her life.
For 22 years Dee ran her own touring pantomime company DQ Productions, played the ‘dame’ in all of them and also wrote all the scripts. She has also promoted and appeared in many themed nights. Dee’s childhood stars of the silver screen and TV were the British comedy character actresses Peggy Mount, Margaret Rutherford, Thora Hird, Beryl Reid and the American character actresses Marjorie Main and Ruth Gordon.
For more information about Dee Quemby please call Michelle on 0203 664 9897 or email