Maggie Smith (born 28.12.1934) Maggie Smith is an English actress who has seven BAFTAs, two Oscars and three Golden Globes.
Childhood: Maggie Smith was born in Ilford, Essex. Her parents were secretary Margaret and pathologist Nathaniel Smith. She attended Oxford High School.
Acting career: Maggie Smith's first film role was in 'Nowhere to Go' which earned her a BAFTA nomination. She earned her first Academy Award nomination for her role as Desdemona in the 1965 film version of Shakespearean play 'Othello' opposite Laurence Olivier. In 1969, she won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in the film 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. In 1978, she won a second Academy Award for her role in 'California Suite' opposite Jane Fonda and Michael Caine; a film which also landed her with a Golden Globe.
In 1985, she appeared in 'A Room with a View' alongside Helena Bonham Carter and won a BAFTA and Golden Globe for her role. In 1991, she played the older Wendy in 'Hook and she appeared alongside Whoopi Goldberg in 'Sister Act' the following year. In 1995, she was in 'Richard III' opposite Ian McKellen and Robert Downey Jr. She has received an Oscar nomination for her appearance as the bad-tempered Constance, Countess of Trentham in 'Gosford Park' in 2001 which also starred Michael Gambon, Stephen Fry and Helen Mirren.
She is widely known for playing Professor McGonagall in the 'Harry Potter' film series opposite Daniel Radcliffe. In 2010, she was cast as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the period drama series 'Downton Abbey' for which she has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe.
Her theatre appearances include Alan Bennett's 'The Lady in the Van', 'Private Lives' and Peter Shaffer's 'Lettice and Lovage' for which she won a Tony Award in 1990. In 2012, she appeared in 'Quartet' and the British comedy 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' with Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.
Her accolades include the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Legacy Award and, even more impressively, her appointment as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) which was later raised to Dame Commander (DBE). She has honorary degrees from the University of Bath, the University of St Andrews and the University of Cambridge.
Personal life: Maggie Smith was first married to Robert Stephens in 1967 with whom she had two sons, actors Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens. They divorced in 1974. Her second marriage was to Beverley Cross in 1975 but he died in 1998. In 2007, it was announced that she was suffering from breast cancer, but she soon made a full recovery. She has been involved with various charities including the International Glaucoma Association and Cats Protection.
Maggie Smith couldn't be more perfect for the title role in this film if it were written for her. But the most astounding thing about this story is that it's true, an event from playwright-screenwriter Alan Bennett's own life. The film cleverly plays with the idea of a writer telling his own story. And it also gives Smith an unforgettable role in a movie that's both entertaining and sharply pointed.
It happened in 1970 Camden, as neighbours worried about a homeless woman parking her van in front of their houses. She turns out to be Mary Shepard (Smith), and resident Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) offers to let her park her van in his driveway for a few months. She stayed there for 15 years, during which Alan refuses to pry into Mary's personal life and she turns a blind eye to the steady flow of young gentleman callers at his door. Even so, over the years Alan learns some details about Mary's past as a musician, ambulance driver and nun, and that she became homeless because she was on the run from the police.
Bennett takes a cheeky approach to the script, writing two versions of himself: one who lives his life and one who writes about it. The interaction between the two is cleverly played by Jennings and directed with offhanded hilarity by Hytner, who shot the movie in the actual street and house where the events took place. Jennings also adds some emotional interest in Alan's relationship with his mother (Gwen Taylor), who ironically has to move into a nursing home. Opposite him, Smith is as magnetic as ever, reeling off each pithy one-liner with impeccable timing. The role may not seem like much of a stretch, but she delivers it with a prickly mix of attitude and humour, plus a strong undercurrent of pathos.
Continue reading: The Lady In The Van Review
The ITV drama is in the middle of its sixth and final season, before a Christmas special wraps it up for good.
Many will be sad to see ‘Downton Abbey’ finally closing its doors upon the conclusion of the Christmas special this year, but one of its key stars won’t be viewing it with too much unhappiness. Dame Maggie Smith has said that she’s “glad” to be saying goodbye after six years.
80 year old Smith, who plays the irrepressible matriarch Violet Crawley in the ITV series, spoke to the ‘Graham Norton Show’ on the BBC on Friday night (October 30th) about how she’s pleased to finally wrap up the popular drama.
“I’m glad it’s over, I really am,” she said frankly. “By the time we finished she (Countess of Grantham) must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense.” Asked whether she would like to be in the movie, which has long been mooted by the series’ creator Julian Fellowes, she replied simply “I can’t. What age would she be?”
Miss Shepherd is a highly educated elderly woman living off barely anything in a small dilapidated van. She asks for nothing from her community, other than to be allowed her peace and to have a place to park her van. Constantly being moved by authorities, she finds herself taking up residence on Alan Bennett's road, much to the displeasure of his house proud neighbours. Despite her prickly disposition and shameless boldness, Bennett - a man of more timid and awkward nature - takes an immediate shine to Miss Shepherd, offering her his driveway to park her vehicle on a temporary basis. Soon, though, just a few weeks turns into fifteen long years as this impoverished musical scholar and this lowly gentleman of humble background become unlikely yet inseparable friends - a friendship rocked by Miss Shepherd's eventual ill health which soon strikes a sadness in the heart of the whole town.
Continue: Lady In The Van - Alternative Trailer
The Crawley’s will reportedly be forced to downsize in the show’s upcoming final series.
‘Downton Abbey’s’ final season looks set to be a harsh goodbye for the posh Crawley family, who will be forced to make some drastic changes to their lavish lifestyle. According to reports the family will be forced to massively downsize during the show's sixth and final season and they may even loose their servants in an effort to cut costs.
The final season of period drama ‘Downton Abbey’ is approaching.
According to The Mirror The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) will realises he needs to take steps to save money after visiting a neighbour that had to sell the family silver to make ends meet. This means that staff at Downton will be given their redundancy notices and the family will have to learn to take care of themselves.
'The Lady In The Van' director Nicholas Hytner, producer Kevin Loader and writer Alan Bennett - on whose life the film is based - ponder over the excellence of leading lady Maggie Smith in the role of an educated yet poverty stricken old woman named Miss. Shepherd.
Continue: The Lady In The Van - Featurette
Julian Fellowes is writing a series set in America a few decades before the events of 'Downton Abbey', and has hinted that some of his old characters could make brief appearances in it.
'Downton Abbey’ fans who are distraught about the imminent end of their beloved period drama may be cheered by a suggestion that one of its characters could star in a prequel series. Violet, The Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith in existing series, may be returning in the new American series ‘The Gilded Age’.
Julian Fellowes, the creator and of the smash ITV series and the writer of the forthcoming American project for the NBC network, told the Mail on Sunday that ‘The Gilded Age’ would be set among the high society families of New York in the late nineteenth century. This would mean that, if she were to return, the quick-witted and acerbic Violet would be played by a younger actress in events depicted many decades before those of ‘Downton Abbey’.
The Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith (above) in 'Downton Abbey'
Continue reading: 'Downton Abbey' Characters To Appear In NBC Series 'The Gilded Age'?
Downton Abbey will conclude at the end of its sixth season but the Crawley legacy may live on in a movie or spin-off series.
Downton Abbey will conclude after its sixth season, the ITV show's producers have confirmed. Producer Gareth Neame made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday (26th March). "It's a very emotional day for all of the people involved in the show," Neame said at the press conference.
Maggie Smith stars in Downton Abbey.
Once upon a time, a normal man lived in a normal house on a normal street. Then, something extraordinary happened. An educated woman - a scholar of both music and art - who lives in a van, takes up residence on the road. Miss Shepard (Maggie Smith) is insistent on staying in her van on the street, and the man (Alan Bennett), invites her to park her mobile home in his driveway in order to relieve his neighbours of the site. They agree she will stay for three weeks; she ends up staying for fifteen years.
Continue: Lady In The Van Trailer
Downton Abbey could lose one of its major stars.
Dame Maggie Smith has hinted that she will leave Downton Abbey after the next season, saying, "...to my knowledge, I must be 100 by now." Smith, who recently turned 80 in real life, said she couldn't imagine continuing on the show, which is rumoured to be coming to an end anyway.
Maggie Smith could leave Downton Abbey after the next season
"They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on," Smith told the Sunday Times, "I mean, I certainly can't keep going... To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."
Continue reading: Maggie Smith Could Leave Downton Abbey After Next Season
Judi Dench and Bill Nighy appeared to have a lot of fun during their set adventures.
After The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel earned nearly $140 million on its release in 2012, the all-star cast and crew were keen to reassemble for a sequel. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hits UK cinemas this weekend and arrives in America next week, adding Richard Gere and Tamsin Grieg to a cast that includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel and Penelope Wilton.
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!"
Date of birth
28th December, 1934
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