13 July 1970|
Hackney, London, England
|Relative(s)||Shane Horgan (brother)|
|Notable works and roles||
The Pilot Show|
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Sharon Horgan (born 13 July 1970) is an Irish actress, writer, director and producer. She is best known for the comedy series Pulling and Catastrophe, both of which she starred in and co-wrote. Pulling was nominated for two BAFTA awards, and won two British Comedy Awards.
Horgan was born in Hackney, London to an Irish mother, Ursula (née Campbell), and a New Zealander father, John, who ran a pub. When she was four years old, Horgan's parents moved the family to Bellewstown, County Meath in Ireland, to run a turkey farm.
Horgan is one of five siblings and in interviews she has described her childhood as happy. She has also spoken fondly of growing up on the farm, where she helped with plucking the turkeys – “you pluck down, not up”, she once told an interviewer. Horgan later used her childhood experiences for the semi-autobiographical short film The Week Before Christmas for Sky Arts 1.
In her early twenties Horgan moved back to London and attended various drama courses. As a young actor struggling to make ends meet she took a series of odd-jobs, including working in call centres and waitressing. For nearly two years she earned her living selling bongs in a head shop in Camden, London.
Around that time she met British writer Dennis Kelly, while they were both working in youth theatre, and they started writing together, producing material they then sent to the BBC, for which they won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2001 for Sketch Writing and Performance.
Career as an actor
Horgan has appeared on stage, television and screen. Her first credited appearances on television were in The State We're In (2002) and Monkey Dust (2003), two sketch shows based on news and current affairs. She also contributed material to Monkey Dust. Her first named acting role on television was as Theresa O’Leary in Absolute Power (2003), a comedy set in the world of public relations and starring Stephen Fry.
She made a cameo appearance in BBC's Extras before appearing as a guest booker in two series of Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive (2006–07), also on the BBC, a spoof comedy set behind the scenes of a chat show presented by Rob Brydon. She won a British Comedy Award in 2007 for Best Female Newcomer for her performance.
In 2010 Horgan appeared in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The US/UK comedy series was written by David Cross, who also appeared as the eponymous anti-hero - an incompetent American who takes a job leading the London sales team for an energy drink - and Horgan played Alice Bell, the café owner on whom he developed a crush. After a three-year hiatus following the second series, IFC announced a third series would be broadcast in late 2015.
In September 2011 Horgan appeared in the world premiere of Saul Rubinek's play Terrible Advice at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. The play is a four-hander set in Los Angeles and she played Delila, one half of its two warring couples.
In June 2012 Horgan was part of the ensemble cast for the pilot episode of Psychobitches, shown as part of Sky Arts 1's Playhouse Presents strand. In the sketch show, famous women from history are psychoanalysed by Rebecca Front's therapist; Horgan played the novelist Jane Austen in the pilot, and later characters included Eva Peron, Cleopatra, Boudicca and Carmen Miranda. Two series of Psychobitches followed; the first was shown in May 2013, and the second in November 2014. No announcement has yet been made for a third series.
Horgan has also done voice characters in the film Valiant (2005), CBBC's Big Babies (2010) and the short film Miss Remarkable & Her Career (2010). She has made guest appearances in series including Moone Boy (2015), Crackanory and on panel shows including So Wrong It's Right and We Need Answers. In May 2015, she appeared as Elaine in Man Up (film), a romantic comedy starring Simon Pegg and directed by Ben Palmer.
Career as an actor/writer
Horgan's career breakthrough was Pulling, which she co-wrote with Dennis Kelly and starred in. She played Donna, an irresponsible primary school teacher who calls off her wedding at the last minute, and one of three women sharing a flat in Penge, south London. It was noted for its broad humour about sex and the consumption of alcohol. Pulling was first shown on BBC Three in 2006, then repeated on BBC Two in 2008. The six-episode series became a ‘sleeper hit’, which gained iconic status with fans and was lauded by critics. A second series of six episodes ran March–April 2008 on BBC Three.
Despite good ratings and critical plaudits, Pulling was cancelled after two series, although an hour-long final episode was broadcast in May 2009. In 2007 the show was nominated for a BAFTA and she was nominated for a British Comedy Award. In 2008 she won a British Comedy Award for Pulling. In 2009 she was nominated for a BAFTA and the show won a British Comedy Award.
In June 2012 Horgan starred in Dead Boss, a sitcom set in a prison, which she wrote with comic Holly Walsh. In it she played Helen, a woman wrongly imprisoned for killing her boss, and it also starred Jennifer Saunders. It was well received by critics and ran for one six-part series on BBC Three in June–July 2012, although no announcement has been made if a second series will be made, or if the show has been cancelled.
In 2013 she starred in and co-wrote Bad Management with Holly Walsh, their second project together, and Horgan was the self-centred and demanding boss of an upmarket store in Los Angeles. ABC commissioned the pilot episode, which was not aired. But it was released online in December 2013.
In January 2015 Horgan co-starred and co-wrote the sitcom Catastrophe with American comic Rob Delaney. Horgan and Delaney first met on Twitter, and because they made each other laugh decided to work together. They have both said Catastrophe was broadly based on their own personal experiences. In it she played Sharon, an Irishwoman living in London who falls pregnant by Rob, an American she met while he was on a business trip to London. Carrie Fisher played his mother. It was an instant critical success and after the second episode of the six-part series was aired Channel 4 announced it had commissioned a second series.
Horgan has written Divorce, a US comedy series starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays a New York woman going through a lengthy divorce. In April 2015 HBO announced it had picked up the series after the pilot episode, and the show is Parker's first major acting commitment since Sex and the City. Horgan is also executive producer. Shooting begins in New York in late 2015
Career as director
In December 2012, Horgan made her directorial debut with the semi-autobiographical film The Week Before Christmas, which was broadcast as part of the Little Crackers series of short films on Sky 1. It is set on a turkey farm in Ireland, and in it she played her own mother, while her father was played by Conleth Hill from Game of Thrones.
It was announced in September 2013 that Horgan is attached to the film Meet Me in Ten Years, a futuristic comedy written by Frances Poletti. It will be shot in New York City.
Career as presenter
In February 2005 Horgan co-presented the first series of The Friday Night Project (later The Sunday Night Project), a comedy variety show on Channel 4. Her co-presenters in the eight-week series were Jimmy Carr, Rob Rouse and Lucy Montgomery.
On 3 June 2011 Horgan was the guest host of ''Have I Got News For Yo''u on BBC1. A scripted joke about Mecca and suicide bombers brought some complaints from Muslims; Horgan defended the show as “political satire”, but apologised for any offence caused.
Horgan has presented a series of documentaries for Channel 4. In January 2012, in How to Be a Good Mother she talked to several families about their approach to child-rearing. In January 2013 in Secrets of a Good Marriage she discovered how various couples make their relationships work; and in On the Verge of a Midlife Crisis, she spoke to six women who had coped with the experience.
In 2014 Horgan established Merman, an independent production company, with Clelia Mountford, who produced A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Mr Sloane and Cockroaches. Horgan is creative director of Merman and Mountford managing director. The two women met while working on The Week Before Christmas. Horgan's husband, Jeremy Rainbird, also works for the company.
Merman is co-producing Divorce, a US comedy series starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays a New York woman going through a lengthy divorce. In April 2015 HBO announced it had picked up the series after the pilot episode. Horgan has also written the series. Shooting begins in New York in late 2015.
Horgan is developing US versions of Pulling and Dead Boss for Merman.
Awards and nominations
- 2001 BBC New Comedy Award winner for Sketch Writing and Performance
- 2007 BAFTA Best Situation Comedy nomination for Pulling
- 2007 British Comedy Award Best Female Newcomer nomination for Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive and Pulling
- 2008 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Actress winner for Pulling
- 2009 British Comedy Award Best TV Comedy Drama winner for Pulling Special
- 2009 BAFTA Best Comedy Performance nomination for Pulling
- 2013 International 3D Awards International Jury Prize winner for The Week Before Christmas
- 2015 Edinburgh Television Awards Best New Programme nomination for Catastrophe (award winners announced August 2015)
- 2015 TV Choice Awards Best Comedy nomination for Catastrophe (award winners announced 7 September 2015)
As of 2015 Horgan lives in Victoria Park Hackney, London, with her husband Jeremy Rainbird and their two daughters Sadhbh (pronounced Syve) and Amer. Horgan and Rainbird married on 16 October 2005 at Chelsea Register Office in London. He is a former advertising executive and an entrepreneur who now co-owns The Warbird Company, a property development company.
Horgan's younger brother Shane Horgan is a former international rugby player who played wing or centre for Leinster and Ireland, and is now a rugby analyst for RTE Sports. Her other younger brother, Mark Horgan, is a producer for Second Captains, a multi-platform media production company.
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- Sam Wollaston (11 January 2012). "'How to be a Good Mother' Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
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- Cormac Murphy (25 March 2009). "Rugby star Shane's big sister Sharon tries for Bafta success". Herald.ie. Retrieved 14 August 2012.