|Dame Maggie Smith
|Born||Margaret Natalie Smith
28 December 1934
Ilford, Essex, England, UK
(1975–1998; his death)
|Children||Chris Larkin (b. 1967)
Toby Stephens (b. 1969)
Dame Margaret Natalie "Maggie" Smith, 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. In 1990, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts.
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 Tony for Best Actress in a Play.
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.
Other notable films include Travels with My Aunt (1972), Death on the Nile (1978), Evil Under the Sun (1982), A Private Function (1984), A Room with a View (1986), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Gosford Park (2001) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012). She has also appeared in a number of widely popular films, including Clash of the Titans (1981), Hook (1991), both Sister Act films (1992-1993), The First Wives Club (1996) and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the highly successful Harry Potter film series (2001-2011). She currently stars in the critically acclaimed drama Downton Abbey as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, for which she has won a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild awards and two consecutive Emmy awards.
She has won numerous awards for her acting in theatre, film and television; including seven BAFTA Awards (five competitive awards and two special awards including the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996), two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Tony Award and an Honorary Olivier Award. Smith is one of the few actresses to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. In September 2012, she was honoured with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's Legacy Award. She accepted the award, presented to her by Christopher Plummer, in a star-studded 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, under the auspices of the Oxford University Dramatic Society, Smith began her career as Viola at the Oxford Playhouse and appeared in her first film in 1956. Her first professional performance was on Broadway in the review New Faces of '56.
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 played the title role in Ingmar Bergman's production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and appeared opposite Olivier in Ibsen's The Master Builder. She played comedic roles in The Recruiting Officer and Much Ado About Nothing.
In 1969, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the title role of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Zoe Caldwell won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play when she created the role in New York. Smith received the 1978 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Diana Barry in California Suite. Afterward, upon hearing that Michael Palin was about to embark on a film (The Missionary) with Smith, Caine is supposed to have humorously telephoned Palin, warning him that she would steal the film. In 1981 Smith played the goddess Thetis in Clash of the Titans. She starred with Palin in the black comedy A Private Function in 1984. Smith appeared in Sister Act in 1992 and had a major role in the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, in which she played Lady Hester.
Other notable roles include the querulous Charlotte Bartlett in the Merchant Ivory production of A Room with a View, as the aged Duchess of York in Ian McKellen's film of Richard III, and as Lila Fisher in Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (1973, with Timothy Bottoms). 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. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 28th Saturn Awards in 2002 for her role as Professor McGonagall. She and Radcliffe had worked together previously in the 1999 BBC television adaptation of David Copperfield, in which she played Betsey Trotwood.
In 2010, she started appearing as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the British period drama Downton Abbey, which is currently in its fourth series. In 2012, she earned another Golden Globe Awards nomination (her ninth) for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for series 1 of Downton Abbey. Smith has won two Emmy Awards for this role.
In 2013, she received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Downton Abbey's Season 2. In 2014, she received a Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for season 3 of Downton Abbey.
She appeared in numerous productions at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, to acclaim from 1976 through 1980. These roles included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Virginia Woolf in Virginia, and countless lead roles with long-time Stratford icon Brian Bedford including the Noël Coward comedy Private Lives. In September 2012, Smith received the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival Legacy Award, recognizing her career.
On stage, her many roles have included the title character in the stage production of Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van and starring as Amanda in a revival of Private Lives. She won a Tony Award in 1990 for Best Actress in a Play for Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage, in which she starred as an eccentric tour guide in an English stately home. In 2007, she appeared in Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Her five Evening Standard Awards for Best Actress in the theatre are for Peter Shaffer's Private Ear and Public Eye (1962), Ingmar Bergman's production of Hedda Gabler (1970), Edna O'Brien's Virginia (1981), Millamant in The Way of the World by William Congreve (1984), and for Three Tall Women by Edward Albee in 1994 (see List of Maggie Smith awards and nominations).
Smith appeared in a 1954 BBC television programme, Oxford Accents, produced by Ned Sherrin. She was one of the performers, playing several roles, in New Faces of 1956 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre from 14 June to 22 December 1956.
She was "in Orange" in the musical comedy Share My Lettuce, based on the book by Bamber Gascoigne, that opened at the Lyric Hammersmith on 21 August 1957. With Anthony Bowles as musical director, it transferred to the Comedy Theatre on 25 September 1957 and to the Garrick Theatre on 27 January 1958. Smith's musical numbers included: Love's Cocktail (solo), On Train He'll Come (solo), Party Games (solo), Bubble Man (with Kenneth Williams) and Menu (with Kenneth Williams). Eight photos from this performance as well as an article on Smith appeared in the November 1957 issue of Theatre World magazine. One of her earliest acting citations was as nominee for Most Promising Newcomer to Film of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for Nowhere To Go in 1958. In 2012, she played Muriel in the British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. She starred as Jean Horton in Quartet, based on Ronald Harwood's play, directed by actor Dustin Hoffman.
In 1986, she was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath. She also received honorary degrees from the University of St Andrews in 1971 and the University of Cambridge in 1995. In 1999, Smith received the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (The Will Award) presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.
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. Smith is a grandmother via both her sons.
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
- Trelawney 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
Awards and nominations
- 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
- Maggie Smith: A Bright Particular Star by Michael Coveney, Victor Gollancz Ltd, September 1992, ISBN 0-575-05188-4.
- "Queen Honors Naipaul, Maggie Smith". 30 December 1989. Retrieved 1 January 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Maggie Smith profile, imdb.com; accessed 21 April 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, "Obituary: Ned Sherrin", The Guardian, 3 October 2007; retrieved 22 December 2011
- IBDb profile; retrieved 22 December 2011.
- The Guide to Musical Theatre at www.guidetomusicaltheatre.com. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- BAFTA website; retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Viewing Page 9 of Issue 44999". London-gazette.co.uk. 30 December 1969. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Issue 51981, page 7". London-gazette.co.uk. 29 December 1989. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- Shakespeare Theatre Company#The Will Awards
- 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.
- Kemp, Stuart (7 May 2013). "Cannes: Maggie Smith to Star in Israel Horovitz's 'My Old Lady'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
|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.