A native of Liverpool, Steadman trained at the East 15 Acting School and made her stage debut alongside Vanessa Redgrave in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969). She went on to appear occasionally on the British stage, earning her best notices for then-husband Mike Leigh's "Abigail's Party" in 1977. (She reprised the role in a British TV production.) On the big screen, she was first seen in John Irvin's "Champions" (1984), a biopic of British jockey Bob Champion (John Hurt), played the mayor in Mike Figgis' moody "Stormy Monday" (1988) and was the heroine's fickle traveling companion in "Shirley Valentine" (1989). Her best screen role to date was as the wife and mother struggling to hold her family together in Leigh's comedy "Life Is Sweet" (1991), which earned her the National Society of Film Critics Best Actress Award.