Judi Dench

  • 09 June 2004

Date of birth

9th December, 1934




1st January, 1970



Dame Judi Dench (born 9.12.1934)

Dame Judi Dench is a world-renowned and highly revered English film, stage and television actress.

Dame Judi Dench: Childhood

Judi Dench was born in Heworth, York, to Eleanora Olave Dench and Reginald Arthur Dench. She was raised as a Methodist until the age of 13, when she became a Quaker. Her brother Jeffery Dench, is also an actor.

Judi Dench: Career

As a child, growing up, Judi Dench had frequent contact with the theatre; her father was the GP for York Theatre and her mother was the wardrobe mistress there. Actors often stayed in the Dench family household.

Dench originally trained as a set designer but became interested in drama as her brother attended the Central School of Speech. She was later accepted to the same school, where she was a classmate of Vanessa Redgrave.

Judi Dench's first professional stage appearance came in 1957, with the Old Vic Company at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. She played the role of Ophelia in Hamlet. Dench later joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and played the role of Anya in The Cherry Orchard. Dench's film debut came in 1964, when she appeared in The Third Secret.

In 1968, Judi Dench enjoyed a long run in the popular West End musical, Cabaret. She then rejoined the Royal Shakespeare Company, for a number of successful performances. Her stage acting career continued apace and in 1978, she appeared in the BBC television film Langrishe, Go Down, with Jeremy Irons, with the screenplay written by Harold Pinter.

Dench's popularity grew even further from the 1980s onwards. In 1995 she took on the role of James Bond's boss, M, in the James Bond film franchise, including appearances in GoldenEye, with Pierce Brosnan, as well as Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig. In 1999, Dench won the Tony Award for her role in the Broadway production of Amy's View by David Hare. She also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, playing the role of Elizabeth I in the film Shakespeare In Love. The film also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Colin Firth and Ben Affleck.

One of Judi Dench's close friends is Geoffrey Palmer, with whom she has co-starred on a number of occasions. They worked together on the series As Time Goes By, as well as the film Mrs Brown, which also starred Billy Connolly and Gerard Butler. Judi Dench earned herself another Oscar nomination for her role in this film.

In 2000, Judi Dench appeared in Chocolat, which also starred Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, landing another Oscar nomination. She got yet more acclaim and Oscar nominations for her roles in 2001's Iris (with Kate Winslet), Mrs Henderson Presents, (with Bob Hoskins, Kelly Reilly and Will Young) and Notes on a Scandal, which starred Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy.

Dench has always maintained variety in her work and splits her time between stage and screen. In 2006, she returned to the West End, with a performance in Hay Fever, along with Belinda Lang, Kim Medcalf and Peter Bowles.

Returning to the small screen, Judi Dench accepted a starring role in the popular BBC TV series Cranford, which also featured Francesca Annis, Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton.

In 2009, Judi Dench played the role of Madame de Merteuil in Madame de Sade, followed by a renewed collaboration with Sir Peter Hill in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Judi Dench: Personal Life

Judi Dench married the actor Michael Williams in 1971 and they have a child together: Tara Cressida Williams. Their daughter is also an actress, known professionally as Finty Williams.

Judi and Michael have worked together in the past, most notably in the TV sitcom A Fine Romance. Michael Williams passed away in 2001, aged 65, after suffering from lung cancer.

In 1970, Judi Dench was appointed an OBE. In 1988 she was promoted to Dame Commander of the British Empire and in 2005, she was appointed Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

Judi Dench Divides Opinion In Defence Of Kevin Spacey

By Holly Mosley in Movies / TV / Theatre on 26 September 2018

Judi Dench Kevin Spacey

Is her loyalty misguided, or is she at least partly right?

Judi Dench has divided the internet over recent comments she made defending disgraced superstar Kevin Spacey, who she described as a 'good friend'. She attacked the idea of removing him from 'All the Money in the World', and praised him for his acting performance over the years.

Image caption Judi Dench at the premiere for 'Murder on the Orient Express'

Indeed, it's Spacey's 'acting performance' that has long been an issue for those, including 'Star Trek' star Anthony Rapp, who have finally found the courage in recent years to voice their accusations of sexual assault after the trauma of seeing him so highly venerated in Hollywood for so long.

Continue reading: Judi Dench Divides Opinion In Defence Of Kevin Spacey

Victoria & Abdul Review


Essentially a sequel to the 1997 hit Mrs Brown, this film returns Judi Dench to play Queen Victoria in another relationship that shook up the royal household. It's such a perfect role for Dench that it's impossible to imagine anyone else playing her, and this film traces Victoria's final 15 years with plenty of lively humour and some pointed drama. The story is a bit thin, and some elements are difficult to believe, but it's thoroughly engaging.

The story opens in 1887, as Abdul (Ali Fazal) is selected to travel from India to London with Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with special honour. In London, Abdul and Mohammed are called "the Hindus" even though they're Muslims, and told to stay out of sight with the servants. But Abdul catches the Queen's eye, and she brings him into her household as a personal tutor in Urdu and Islam. Her staff (headed by Tim Pigott-Smith) doesn't like this at all, and conspires with both the heir to the throne (Eddie Izzard) and the prime minister (Michael Gambon) to undermine Abdul's influence. But Victoria isn't having any of it, demanding that they respect him.

This is a story that was hidden for more than a century, because after Victoria's death all references to Abdul were erased from the official history. It was only the discovery of Abdul's journals that revealed the truth, and screenwriter Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) has clearly taken some artistic licence as he crafted the facts into an entertaining narrative that's packed with hilarious touches. Meanwhile, Stephen Frears (The Queen) directs in jaunty Downton Abbey style, never quite taking anything seriously.

Continue reading: Victoria & Abdul Review

Murder On The Orient Express Review

Very Good

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style entertainment. Director-star Kenneth Branagh lets the story unfold with attention to detail while filling the screen with eye-catching images, from the spectacular mountain settings to the opulent costumes. And while the story is too familiar to stir up too much suspense, it's played with a strong sense of emotional resonance. And the moral question is provocative.

The Orient Express sets off from 1934 Istanbul with a colourful collection of passengers. A last-minute addition is noted detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh), who has just solved a thorny mystery in Jerusalem and is now heading to London. Even though he shouldn't be working, he begins to weigh up the odd collection of passengers around him, including a gangster (Johnny Depp), countess (Judi Dench), widow (Michelle Pfeiffer), governess (Daisy Ridley), maid (Olivia Colman), salesman (Wille Dafoe), assistant (Josh Gad), butler (Derek Jacobi) and doctor (Leslie Odom Jr.). Then in the middle of the night, one of them is violently murdered. And when the train becomes lodged in a snowdrift, Poirot has the time to dig further into each person's clearly suspicious back-story.

Continue reading: Murder On The Orient Express Review

Judi Dench Had A Laugh While Making Victoria And Abdul

By Rich Cline in Movies / TV / Theatre on 15 September 2017

Judi Dench

The actress plays Queen Victoria in this epic biopic.

After an acclaimed career in theatre, Judi Dench took her first leading movie role playing Queen Victoria in 1997's Mrs Brown, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. Two decades later she returns to the role for Victoria & Abdul, another story about how the Queen's offbeat friendships shook up the royal household, this time an Indian Muslim named Abdul Karim (played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal).

Image caption Judi Dench and Ali Fazal star in 'Victoria and Abdul'

Now 82, Dench says she had no intention of returning to play Victoria, but the script was too good to resist. "I thought it just gave another huge insight into her life," she says. "The whole episode with John Brown was strange, but I thought it was totally understandable, which I believe that this relationship was too. It's somebody that she found she could just talk to, and he talk to her, and she could ask questions and learn something."

Continue reading: Judi Dench Had A Laugh While Making Victoria And Abdul

Lethal Bizzle Presents 'Pow' Remix Featuring Dame Judi Dench

By Holly Mosley in Music / Festivals on 15 September 2017

Judi Dench Lethal Bizzle

Best rap collaboration in the history of rap collaborations.

Anybody who knows Lethal Bizzle knows that he's well known for popularising the British slang word 'Dench' - therefore it's only right that his number one fan is actress Dame Judi Dench. He reunited with her recently to give her a masterclass in rapping techniques, and she slayed.

Image caption Rapper Judi Dench snapped at the Olivier Awards

The 32-year-old rapper brought along some of his Stay Dench designer gear as he and the 82-year-old Academy Award winner - who loves her new Dench cap - joined LadBible for a rap session earlier this week. They attempted his two hits 'Pow' and 'Celebrate', and it's safe to say that this is the oddest collaboration we'll see all year. But kinda the best too.

Continue reading: Lethal Bizzle Presents 'Pow' Remix Featuring Dame Judi Dench

Victoria And Abdul Trailer

Queen Victoria was one of the United Kingdom's most loved monarchs. She ruled over her country with dignity and grace though she wasn't a lady to be toyed with. After the death of her beloved husband, Albert, the queen found herself mourning her loss for the rest of her life - famously she wore black for her remaining years. She took solace in her children and continued to be a fine ruler of the country.

After the loss of Albert, few people penetrated the queen's frosty persona, most famously she developed a great friendship with a Scottish servant called John Brown and they remained good friends - some even say lovers - until his death. Once again alone, the queen was only to develop one other significant friendship outside of her close circle.

As the queen was celebrating her Golden Jubilee, she found herself surrounded by kings and queens from around the world but the one person that she genuinely struck up a friendship with was a Muslim waiter called Abul. Though it was entirely frowned upon for the royals to associate with lowly servants, Victoria was never one to follow those rules.

Continue: Victoria And Abdul Trailer

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Review


Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic maestro who so expertly infuses his creepy movies with vivid emotions. The film looks flat-out amazing, with lush production design, clever effects and a cast of outrageous characters. So it's somewhat frustrating that the movie feels weighed down by a story that's more complicated than it needs to be. There's too much plot detail explained in the dialogue, and the quirkiness gets a bit exhausting by the time the film passes the two hour mark.

It's set in the present day, as Florida teen Jake (Asa Butterfield) travels to an island off the coast of Wales to bring closure after the death of his beloved grandfather (Terence Stamp). His oblivious father (Chris O'Dowd) goes with him, but doesn't notice that Jake has discovered that Grandpa's bombed-out childhood home actually still exists in a 1943 time loop created by the ymbryne Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), who can turn into a bird and maintain loops like this one. Jake also realises that the freaky Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) is on his trail, so he tries to help Miss Peregrine rescue her children, all of whom have peculiar supernatural abilities.

From here the film takes on a more traditional action trajectory, as Barron and his toothy, long-limbed Hollows try to devour the children's eyes. Yes, there are a lot of grotesque touches in this story, and Burton knows that kids in the audience love this kind of stuff. They'll also be tantalised by the busy visual landscapes, which are magnificent in 3D, grossed out by the yuckiness and excited by the thrilling set-pieces. Adults will find all of this a bit harder to stomach, simply because the wordy dialogue never quite makes sense of the messy plot.

Continue reading: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Review

Imelda Staunton Wins UK Theatre Award For Her Performance In ‘Gypsy’

By Elinor Cosgrave in Lifestyle / Showbiz on 18 October 2015

Imelda Staunton Eileen Atkins Patrick Stewart Judi Dench Ian McKellen

Imelda Staunton received the UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Performance on Sunday (18th October).

Imelda Staunton has won a UK Theatre Award for her performance in Gypsy. Staunton received the award for Best Musical Performance at the UK Theatre Awards 2015 at London’s Guildhall on Sunday (18th October).

Image caption Imelda Staunton at the 2015 BAFTA Ceremony in London, February 2015.

See More Pictures Of Imelda Staunton.

Continue reading: Imelda Staunton Wins UK Theatre Award For Her Performance In ‘Gypsy’

Dame Judi Dench - Bruce Denny's 'Conversion of Saint Paul' - statue unveiling at the The Actors' Church Yard in Covent Garden. - London, United Kingdom - Friday 20th March 2015

Dame Judi Dench Is Facing Deteriorating Eyesight With Grace

By Victoria Pavlova in Lifestyle / Showbiz on 08 March 2015

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench is taking her condition head on.

Judy Dench has long been regarded as one of the trailblazing women of the industry and she made a particularly brave admission this week. The 80-year-old actress, who has continued to take on challenging leading roles throughout her career, revealed in 2012 that she suffers from macular degeneration that can lead to blindness.

Image caption Richard Gere is a newcomer in 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

For Nighy, the biggest fear during filming was "killing the national treasure that is Dame Judi" while filming a sequence on a scooter. "This is the second time I've been on a motorcycle - the first was the first movie - and it's probably the last," he laughed. "That's enough for my motorcycling career!"

Continue reading: 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Unites Original Starry Cast With Richard Gere

Dame Judi Dench - A host of stars were photographed as they attended the UK premiere of 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' which was held at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 17th February 2015

Dame Judi Dench - The Laurence Olivier Awards 2014 held at the Royal Opera House - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 13th April 2014

Dame Judi Dench - EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) after-party held at the Grosvenor House - Arrivals. - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 16th February 2014

Dame Judi Dench, David Mills, Finty Williams and Sam Williams - Guests arrive for the Shakespeares Globe Gala Dinner in London - London, United Kingdom - Thursday 17th October 2013