Film, TV, Stage & Radio
|Birth||7 February 1955, Bournemouth, Bournemouth, Dorset, South West England|
Michael James Dominic “Jim” Sweeney (born 7 February 1955; Bournemouth, England) is an English actor and comedian, best known for his improvisation partnership with Steve Steen.
When Sweeney was 11 years old, he moved to London with his parents, along with two brothers and a sister. He became interested in theatre and improvisation while attending Clapham College, an all-boys Roman Catholic school.
Sweeney spent the 1970s in theatre productions, creating and touring shows with Steen, who was a friend from school. The pairing’s first television work as a duo came on the ITV children’s show CBTV, followed by the Channel 4 comedy Little Armadillos and resident support comic slots on Rory Bremner’s first sketch show for the BBC.
In 1987, Sweeney played Samuel Taylor Coleridge in an episode of Blackadder the Third, with Steve Steen alongside him as Lord Byron. He also starred as “The Head” in the first season of Art Attack in 1990. He then appeared in commercials and radio comedies before acquiring a semi-regular slot as a contestant on the Channel 4 improvisation show Whose Line Is It Anyway? from 1991 to 1993. Comedy partner Steen would later join him frequently in these appearances.
Sweeney has been in a number of radio plays and sitcoms, including a lead role in Any Bloke alongside Caroline Quentin and Steve Steen. He adapted his award-winning play Danny’s Wake into a radio series All The Young Dudes in which he (and Steen) co-starred. Sweeney has authored a number of plays in addition to Danny’s Wake, namely Sick Transit, Cabin Fever, and My MS and Me.
Sweeney has been involved with the Comedy Store’s Comedy Store Players team since 1992, performing with Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Neil Mullarkey, Lee Simpson, Andy Smart and Richard Vranch. He has also appeared in numerous radio series’, including the improvised faux drama show, The Masterson Inheritance and BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute. He made guest appearances in sitcoms Kiss Me Kate and One Foot In The Grave (the latter as a computer salesman memorably humiliated by Victor Meldrew).
Since 1985, Sweeney has multiple sclerosis, something which has required use of a walking stick and, from 2005, a wheelchair. Sweeney wrote about his experiences of multiple sclerosis in My MS and Me, a play he performed for BBC Radio 4 after a successful Edinburgh Festival run. In 2008, the disease meant he gave up appearing on stage, although he continues to be listed as a member of the Comedy Store Players.
In 2007, Jim made two series of BBC Radio 4’s improvised sketch show “The Lawrence Sweeney Mix” with Josie Lawrence.
Sweeney lives in Wimbledon with his girlfriend and two daughters and now has 24-hour care for his condition. He has an optic nerve condition leading to blurred vision.
In 2010, a documentary film about Jim sold out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and had a number of public showings across the UK.
He is an avid contributor to Twitter. He retired from it briefly in February 2012 before reactivating his account in September.