In British use, luvvie is a humorously depreciative term for an actor, especially one regarded as effusive or affected. The reference is to a stereotype of thespians habitually addressing people as ‘lovey’. When the OED revised its entry for lovey in 2008, this sense, which had by then become established in the variant spelling luvvie, was made a separate entry. The earliest quotation found at the time was from Stephen Fry, writing in the Guardian in 1988:
Acting in a proper grown-up play, being a lovie, doing the West End, ‘shouting in the evenings’, as the late Patrick Troughton had it.
1988 Stephen Fry in Guardian 2 Apr., p. 17
The offhand manner in which the term is used here suggests that the word may already have been somewhat established in this sense at the time. Can you help us find an earlier example? Please note that this word is attested in a variety of spellings; besides luvvie, the OED also records lovie, lovey, and luvvy.
Posted by OED_Editor on 12 April 2013 12.30