|Dame Maggie Smith
|Born||Margaret Natalie Smith
28 December 1934
Ilford, Essex, UK
(1975–1998; his death)
|Children||Chris Larkin (b. 1967)
Toby Stephens (b. 1969)
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, CH DBE (born 28 December 1934) is an English actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1990 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama.
Smith began her career on stage at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952 and made her Broadway debut in New Faces of 56. For her work on the London stage, she has won a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards, for The Private Ear and The Public Eye (1962), Hedda Gabler (1970), Virginia (1981), The Way of the World (1984) and Three Tall Women (1994). In New York, she received three Tony Award nominations, for Private Lives (1975), Night and Day (1979) and Lettice and Lovage (1990). For the latter, she won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Other stage roles include the West End productions of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (1997–98), opposite Eileen Atkins and David Hare's The Breath of Life (2002–03), opposite Judi Dench, both at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
On screen, she first drew praise for the crime film Nowhere to Go (1958), for which she received her first BAFTA Award nomination. Her 1965 film role as Desdemona, in William Shakespeare's Othello, earned her an Academy Award nomination (the first of her six) and a Golden Globe nomination. Since then Smith has worked consistently in film, television and stage.
Smith has won two Academy Awards, winning Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and Best Supporting Actress for California Suite (1978). She is one of only six actresses to win the Academy Award in both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories. She has also received Academy Award nominations for Travels with My Aunt (1972), A Room with a View (1986) and Gosford Park (2001).
In the 1980s, Smith won three BAFTA Awards for the films A Private Function (1984), A Room with a View (1986) and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987). Having previously won for her role as Jean Brodie, she has a record four Best Actress BAFTA Awards. She would add a fifth competitive BAFTA for the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, this time as Best Supporting Actress.
Other notable films include Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973), Death on the Nile (1978), Clash of the Titans (1981), Evil Under the Sun (1982), Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), The First Wives Club (1996), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the highly successful Harry Potter film series (2001-2011). She currently stars as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey, for which she has won a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild awards and two consecutive Emmy awards. She previously won an Emmy for the 2003 TV film My House in Umbria.
As well as her numerous competitive awards for acting in theatre, film and television, including two Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Tony Award, Smith has also received several honororary awards, including two more BAFTAs, the Special Award in 1993 and the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996. She also received the Honorary Olivier Award in 2011. Smith is one of the few actresses to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. In September 2012, she was awarded the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award, which she accepted from Christopher Plummer, who presented it to her in a ceremony at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
Smith was born in Ilford, Essex but moved with her family to Oxford when she was four years old. She is the daughter of Margaret (née Hutton), a Glasgow-born secretary, and Nathaniel Smith, a Newcastle upon Tyne-born public health pathologist who worked at Oxford University.
As a child, Smith's parents used to tell her the romantic story of how they had met on the train from Glasgow to London via Newcastle. She has older twin brothers, Alistair and Ian, who went to architecture school. She attended Oxford High School until age 16 when she left to study acting at the Oxford Playhouse.
In 1952, aged 17, under the auspices of the Oxford University Dramatic Society, Smith began her career as Viola in Twelfth Night at the Oxford Playhouse. In 1954, she appeared in the television programme Oxford Accents produced by Ned Sherrin She appeared in her first film in 1956, in an uncredited role in Child in the House. and made her Broadway debut the same year playing several roles in the review New Faces of '56, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre from June to December 1956. In 1957, she starred opposite Kenneth Williams in the musical comedy Share My Lettice, based on the book by Bamber Gascoigne. In 1958, she received the first of her 17 BAFTA Film and TV nominations for her role in the film Nowhere to Go.
In 1962, Smith won the first of a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards for her roles in Peter Shaffer's plays The Private Ear and The Public Eye, again opposite Kenneth Williams. She became a fixture at the Royal National Theatre in the 1960s, most notably for playing Desdemona in Othello opposite Laurence Olivier and earning her first Oscar nomination for her performance in the 1965 film version. She appeared opposite Olivier in Ibsen's The Master Builder and played comedic roles in The Recruiting Officer and Much Ado About Nothing. Her other films at this time included Go to Blazes (1962), The V.I.P.s (1963), The Pumpkin Eater (1964) and Oh! What A Lovely War (1969).
Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the title role of the 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Vanessa Redgrave had originated the role on stage in London and Zoe Caldwell won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, when she played the role in New York. The role also won Smith her first BAFTA Award. In 1970, she played the title role in Ingmar Bergman's London production of the Ibsen play Hedda Gabler, winning her second Evening Standard award for Best Actress. She received her third Academy Award nomination for the 1972 film Travels with My Aunt. She also appeared in the film Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973). In the mid 1970s, she made several guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show.
From 1976 to 1980, she appeared in numerous productions at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario to acclaim, her roles included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Virginia Woolf in Virginia and opposite Brian Bedford in the Noel Coward comedy Private Lives. Also during this time, she starred on Broadway in Private Lives in 1975 and Night and Day in 1979, receiving Tony Award nominations for both. Smith received the 1978 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Diana Barrie in California Suite. For this role, she also won her first Golden Globe Award. Afterward, upon hearing that Michael Palin was about to embark on the film The Missionary (1982) with Smith, her co-star Michael Caine is supposed to have humorously telephoned Palin, warning him that she would steal the film. Her other films at this time include Murder by Death (1976) and Death on the Nile (1978).
In 1981, Smith played the goddess Thetis in Clash of the Titans. For her role on television as Mrs Silly, she received the first of her four Best Actress BAFTA TV Award nominations. On stage, she won her third and fourth Evening Standard awards for Best actress, for Virginia in 1981 and The Way of the World in 1984. She won three more Best Actress BAFTA Awards for her roles as Joyce Chilvers in the 1984 black comedy A Private Function, Charlotte Bartlett in the 1986 Merchant Ivory production of A Room with a View and the title role in the 1987 film The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. For A Room With a View, she also received her fifth Academy Award nomination and won her second Golden Globe Award. In 1987, she starred in A Bed Among the Lentils, part of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads series, receiving a second BAFTA TV nomination. She starred in the 1987 London production of Lettice and Lovage alongside Margaret Tyzack, receiving an Olivier Award nomination and reprised the role in 1990, when it transferred to Broadway and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. The play was written specifically for her by the playwright Peter Shaffer.
In the 1990s, Smith appeared in the hit comedy films Sister Act in 1992 and The First Wives Club in 1996. She also received a third BAFTA TV nomination for the 1992 TV film Memento Mori and her first Emmy nomination for her role in the 1993 TV film Suddenly, Last Summer. She won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, in which she played Lady Hester. She also appeared in the films Hook (1991), The Secret Garden (1993), Richard III (1995) and Washington Square (1997). Her 1990s stage roles included Three Tall Women in 1994, which won her a fifth Evening Standard award, Claire in A Delicate Balance opposite Eileen Atkins in 1997 and The Lady in the Van in 1999.
Due to the international success of the Harry Potter movies, she is now widely known for playing Professor Minerva McGonagall, opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the title role. She has appeared in seven of the eight films in the series from 2001 to 2011. She and Radcliffe had worked together previously in the 1999 BBC television adaptation of David Copperfield, in which she played Betsey Trotwood and received a BAFTA TV Award nomination. She received her sixth Academy Award nomination for the 2001 film Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman and won her first Emmy Award for the 2003 TV film My House in Umbria. On stage, she starred as Madeleine Palmer opposite Judi Dench in the David Hare play The Breath of Life in 2002, toured Australia in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads in 2004 and starred in The Lady From Dubuque in 2007.
Since 2010, she has appeared as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the British period drama Downton Abbey. This role has won her a Golden Globe Award and two Emmy Awards. In 2014, the role also won her a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2012, She played Muriel in the British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and starred as Jean Horton in Quartet, based on Ronald Harwood's play, directed by actor Dustin Hoffman.
Awards and nominations
Smith has been married twice. She married actor Robert Stephens on 29 June 1967 at Greenwich Register Office, ten days after the birth of their first child. The couple had two sons, actors Chris Larkin (born 1967) and Toby Stephens (born 1969) and divorced on 6 May 1974. Maggie Smith has five grandchildren.
She married playwright Beverley Cross on 23 August 1975 at the Guildford Register Office; he died on 20 March 1998. When asked if she was lonely, she replied, "[on Cross's death] I don't know. It seems a bit pointless. Going on one's own and not having someone to share it with."
In September 2011, she offered her support for raising the $4.6 million needed to help rebuild the Court Theatre, Christchurch, New Zealand after the earthquake in 2011 which caused severe damage to the area. In July 2012, she became a patron of the International Glaucoma Association, hoping to support the organisation and raise the profile of glaucoma. On 27 November 2012, she contributed a drawing of her own hand to the 2012 Celebrity Paw Auction, to raise funds for Cats Protection.
- Twelfth Night, Oxford Playhouse, 1952
- He Who Gets Slapped, Clarendon Press Institute, 1952
- Cinderella, Oxford Playhouse, 1952
- Rookery Nook, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- Housemaster, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- Cakes and Ale (revue), Edinburgh Festival, 1953
- The Love of Four Colonels, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- The Ortolan, Maxton Hall, 1954
- Don't Listen Ladies, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Government Inspector, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Letter, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- A Man About The House, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- On the Mile (revue), Edinburgh Festival, 1954
- Oxford Accents, New Watergate Theatre, London, 1954
- Theatre 1900, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- Listen to the Wind, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Magistrate, Oxford Playhouse, 1955
- The School for Scandal, Oxford Playhouse, 1955
- New Faces of '56 (revue), Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 1956
- Share My Lettuce (revue), Lyric Hammersmith and Comedy Theatre, 1957
- The Stepmother, St. Martin's Theatre, 1958
- The Double Dealer, Old Vic, 1959
- As You Like It, Old Vic, 1959
- Richard II, Old Vic, 1959
- The Merry Wives of Windsor, Old Vic, 1959
- What Every Woman Knows, Old Vic, 1960
- Rhinoceros, Strand Theatre, 1960
- Strip the Willow, UK Tour, 1960
- The Rehearsal, Bristol Old Vic and Globe Theatre, 1961
- The Private Ear and The Public Eye, Globe Theatre, 1962
- Mary, Mary, Queen's Theatre, 1963
- The Recruiting Officer, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1963
- Othello, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1964
- The Master Builder, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1964
- Hay Fever, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1964
- Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1965
- Trelawny of the 'Wells', National Theatre/Old Vic, 1965
- Miss Julie, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1966
- Black Comedy, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1966
- A Bond Honoured, National Theatre/Old Vic, 1966
- The Country Wife, Chichester Festival Theatre, 1969
- The Beaux' Stratagem, National Theatre/Old Vic and Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1970
- Hedda Gabler, National Theatre/Cambridge Theatre, 1970
- Design for Living, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1971
- Private Lives, Queen's Theatre, 1972
- Peter Pan, London Coliseum, 1973
- Snap, Vaudeville Theatre, 1974
- Private Lives, US tour and 46th Street Theatre, New York, 1975 [Tony nomination]
- The Way of the World, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- Antony and Cleopatra, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- Three Sisters, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- The Guardsman, Stratford, Canada and Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1976
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stratford, Canada and Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1977
- Richard III, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- As You Like It, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- Hay Fever, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- Macbeth, Stratford, Canada, 1978
- Private Lives, Stratford, Canada, 1978
- Night and Day, Phoenix Theatre, Washington D.C. and ANTA Playhouse, New York, 1979 [Tony nomination]
- Much Ado About Nothing, Stratford, Canada, 1980
- The Seagull, Stratford, Canada, 1980
- Virginia, Stratford, Canada, 1980 and Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1981
- The Way of the World, Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1984
- The Interpreters, Queen's Theatre, 1985
- The Infernal Machine, Lyric Hammersmith, 1986
- Coming Into Land, National Theatre/Lyttelton, 1987
- Lettice and Lovage, Globe Theatre, 1987
- Lettice and Lovage, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 1990 [Tony win]
- The Importance of Being Earnest, Aldwych Theatre, 1993
- Three Tall Women, Wyndham's Theatre, 1994 and 1995
- Talking Heads, Chichester Festival Theatre and Comedy Theatre, 1996
- A Delicate Balance, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1997
- The Lady in the Van, Queen's Theatre, London, 1999
- The Breath of Life, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, 2002
- Talking Heads, Australian tour, 2004
- The Lady from Dubuque, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 2007
- List of actors with two or more Academy Awards in acting categories
- List of Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire
- Tale Spinners for Children
- University College Players
- "Queen Honors Naipaul, Maggie Smith". 30 December 1989. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 14 June 2014.
- Davies, Emily (13 June 2014). "Queen makes Dame Maggie a Companion of Honour". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Film in 1959". awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- British, The (23 February 2013). "Celebrating: Award-Winner Maggie Smith". The British TV Place. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Academy Awards Best Actress". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- 9 July 2010 (9 July 2010). "What do Al Pacino and Maggie Smith have in common?". Goldderby.latimes.com. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Alison Croggon (10 June 2009). "Jewel in the triple crown". News.com.au. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Maggie Smith receives Stratford festival's Legacy Award" (10 September 2012) Toronto Star; accessed 26 April 2014.
- Mackenzie, Suzie (20 November 2004). "You have to laugh". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- "Maggie Smith profile at". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Maggie Smith profile, Yahoo Movies; accessed 21 April 2014.
- Maggie Smith biography, tiscali.co.uk; accessed 21 April 2014.
- "Maggie Smith biography and filmography". Tribute.ca. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Michael Coveney "Obituary: Ned Sherrin", The Guardian, 3 October 2007; retrieved 22 December 2011
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance (2012) Oxford University Press eISBN 9780191727818
- Maggie Smith acceptance speech at the 44th Tony Awards telecast in 1990.
- name="IBDbprofile">[http://www.ibdb.com IBDb profile; retrieved 22 December 2011
- The Guide to Musical Theatre at www.theguidetomusicaltheatre.com retrieved 22 December 2011
- "Vanessa Redgrave: A performer of passion, conviction and tragedy". the Guardian, The Observer. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Official Website of the Annual Golden Globe Awards at www.goldenglobes.org; retrieved 22 December 2011.
- "Maggie Smith Emmy Award Winner". Emmys.com. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Maggie Smith Steals Supporting Actress Statue At Golden Globes!", 13 January 2013.
- "Dame Maggie Smith Receives Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama Series". pbs.org. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Michael Coveney, "I'm Very Scared of Being Back on Stage", thisislondon.co.uk, 3 February 2007 
- Mark Lawson (31 May 2007). "Prodigal Son". London: Arts.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Downton Abbey. "Dame Maggie Smith has no plans to retire from Downton Abbey". Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "There Is Nothing Like This Dame". Nytimes.com. 18 March 1990. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Maggie Smith discusses cancer treatment struggle, telegraph.co.uk; accessed 21 April 2014.
- "Dame Maggie Smith fighting breast cancer", dailymail.co.uk; accessed 21 April 2014.
- Dame Maggie supporting Christchurch theatre, 3news.co.nz; accessed 21 April 2014.
- The International Glaucoma Association Welcomes Dame Maggie Smith, glaucoma-association.com; accessed 21 April 2014.
- Caring for the UK′s Cats: homing, neutering, raising awareness, cats.org.uk; accessed 21 April 2014.[dead link]
- Kemp, Stuart (7 May 2013). "Cannes: Maggie Smith to Star in Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Maggie Smith: A Bright Particular Star by Michael Coveney, Victor Gollancz Ltd, September 1992, ISBN 0-575-05188-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maggie Smith.|
- Maggie Smith at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Maggie Smith at the Internet Broadway Database
- Maggie Smith at the Internet Movie Database
- Maggie Smith at the TCM Movie Database
- Works by or about Maggie Smith in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Maggie Smith at Emmys.com
- "You have to laugh", The Guardian interview, 20 November 2004; accessed 21 April 2014.