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Ruby Wax (born Ruby Wachs on April 19, 1953, Evanston, Illinois) is an American comedian who made a career in the United Kingdom as part of the alternative comedy scene in the 1980s. She is the daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors. She is married to television producer and director Ed Bye.
Originally she had been a straight actress, working at the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside Juliet Stevenson.
Her popularity in terms of comedy came from her interviewing skills in which she was always forthright, brash and loud, conforming to the British stereotype of an American. Her physical appearance matched this image, with red hair and blood-red lipstick. She cemented this trademark image in 1985 when she starred as loud-mouthed American actress Shelley DuPont on the British sitcom Girls On Top.
According to a BBC Arena documentary narrated by Dawn French it was Ruby's role as backstage interviewer at the annual charity event The Secret Policeman's Ball 1987 that finally launched her career.
Many of her early television shows involved her being put into a situation where she simply met and interviewed people, mostly extraordinary members of the public (including a memorable visit to pre-breakup Soviet Russia in which she first hated and then touchingly made friends with her female translator, explaining, in ways that words can't, the grim situation in the country at the time).
More recently she's made a career from interviewing celebrities such as Imelda Marcos and Pamela Anderson, where she again applies her interviewing style, often to jaw-dropping effect. Critics have called her 'abrasive' or 'vulgar'. She also makes many guest appearances in Absolutely Fabulous (for which she is script editor) and other similar sitcoms.
In March 2003 Wax was one of the celebrity contestants on Comic Relief does Fame Academy, which was a spin-off from the BBC's Fame Academy with all proceeds donated to Comic Relief. Regardless of the fact that she can't really sing, Wax impressed viewers with her lively songs and successfully made it to the final, taking runner-up position to Will Mellor.
In September and October 2005 she appeared as a celebrity contestant in Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, progressing through to Sale of the Century before getting knocked out. In summer 2006, she was a celebrity showjumper in the BBC's Sport Relief event Only Fools on Horses.
She currently presents Cirque de Celebrité.
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