Staunton at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in London (2011)
|Born||Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton
9 January 1956
Archway, London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Jim Carter (m. 1983)|
Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, OBE (born 9 January 1956) is an English actress of stage and screen. Staunton trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and began her career in repertory theatre.
Since joining the National Theatre in 1982, she has performed in many plays and musicals in the UK. Staunton has been nominated for a total of eight Laurence Olivier Awards, winning two for Best Actress in a Musical in Into the Woods (1991) and in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2011) and one for Best Supporting Performance in her work in both A Chorus of Disapproval (1985) and The Corn is Green (1985). Other London stage roles include Adelaide in Guys and Dolls (1982), Sonia in Uncle Vanya (1988), Claire in A Delicate Balance (2011) and Rose in Gypsy (2014).
Staunton drew critical acclaim for the title role in the 2004 film Vera Drake, for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. Her other film roles include Mrs. Blatherwick in Nanny McPhee (2005), Dolores Jane Umbridge in two of the Harry Potter films (2007–2010) and Hefina Headon in Pride (2014), for which she received a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. On television, she starred in the sitcoms Up the Garden Path (1990–1993) and Is it Legal? (1995–1998).
Early life and education
Staunton was born in Archway, North London, the only child of Bridie (née McNicholas), a hairdresser, and Joseph Staunton, a road-worker and labourer. The family lived over Staunton's mother's hair dressing salon. Her parents were first-generation Catholic immigrants from County Mayo, Ireland, her father from Ballyvary and her mother from Bohola. Staunton's mother was a musician who could not read music, but could master almost any tune by ear on the accordion or fiddle and had played in Irish showbands.
Staunton attended La Sainte Union Convent School, an all-girls Catholic school on the edge of Parliament Hill, Highgate Road, from age 11 to 17. Her talent was spotted by Jacqueline Stoker, her elocution teacher. She starred as Polly Peachum in a school production of The Beggar's Opera. Staunton studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
When she was 18, Staunton enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and studied alongside Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Juliet Stevenson. She graduated two years later in 1976, then spent six years in English repertory, including a period at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter where she had the title role in Shaw's Saint Joan (1979). In 1982, she moved on to the National Theatre. She has stated that her first job was a play by Goldoni. She is also known for her performance as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has had a long and distinguished career in the theatre, performing in such diverse plays as A Man for all Seasons, Mack & Mabel, Side by Side, and Elektra.
Staunton has won three Olivier Awards, Britain's highest theatre honour, the first in 1985 for roles in two productions: A Chorus of Disapproval and The Corn Is Green. Her second was for the 1991 musical, Into the Woods. She was nominated for her performance as Miss Adelaide in the 1996 revival of Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre. More recently, she appeared in the premiere of Frank McGuinness's There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Almeida in 2007 and opened in 2009 in English Touring Theatre's production of Entertaining Mr Sloane alongside Mathew Horne at the Trafalgar Studios.
In October 2011 Staunton took the role of Mrs. Lovett in a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring opposite singer Michael Ball, at the Chichester Festival. The show was well received, and it transferred to the Adelphi Theatre in London from March to September 2012. Staunton won the Olivier Award for 'Best Actress in a Musical' for this production.
Staunton's first big-screen role came in a 1986 film Comrades. She then appeared in the 1992 film Peter's Friends. Other film roles include performances in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Deadly Advice (1993), Sense and Sensibility (1995) Twelfth Night (1996), Chicken Run (2000), Another Life (2001), Bright Young Things (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005), Freedom Writers (2007) and How About You (2007).
Staunton shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance by a Cast in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love. In 2004, she received the Best Actress honours at the European Film Awards, the BAFTAs, and the Venice Film Festival for her performance of the title role in Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, which also won Best Picture. For the same role, she received her first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.
Staunton portrayed Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), a performance described as "coming close to stealing the show." She was nominated in the "British Actress in a Supporting Role" category at the London Film Critics Circle Awards. Staunton reprised her role as Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One in 2010.
Recent film roles include the 2008 movie A Bunch of Amateurs, in which she starred alongside Burt Reynolds, Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond, and the character of Sonia Teichberg in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock (2009). Staunton provided the voice of the Talking Flowers in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), and played one of the lead roles in the ghost film The Awakening in 2011. In 2014, she co-starred in Maleficent as well as the British comedy-drama Pride.
In late 2014, she had a voice role in Paddington, a film based on the Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond. Staunton and her Harry Potter co-star Michael Gambon voiced Paddington's Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo, respectively.
In 1993, she appeared on television alongside Richard Briers and Adrian Edmondson in If You See God, Tell Him. Staunton also played the wife of Detective Burakov in the 1995 HBO movie, "Citizen X," which recounted the pursuit and capture of Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. She has had other television parts in The Singing Detective (1986), Midsomer Murders, and the comedy drama series Is It Legal? (1995–98), as well as A Bit of Fry and Laurie. She was a voice artist on Mole's Christmas (1994). She had a guest role playing Mrs. Mead in Little Britain in 2005, and in 2007 played the free-thinking gossip, Miss Pole, in Cranford, the five-part BBC series based on Mrs Gaskell's novels. In 2011, she played Grace Andrews in the second series of Psychoville. In 2011, she was the Voice of the Interface in the highly acclaimed and nominee for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) episode of Doctor Who – The Girl Who Waited. In 2012, she portrayed Alma Reville, the wife of Alfred Hitchcock, in the HBO television movie The Girl, which also starred Toby Jones and Sienna Miller. Her performance saw her nominated for a BAFTA Television Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
On radio, she has appeared in the title role of detective drama series Julie Enfield Investigates, as the lead, Izzy Comyn, in the comedy Up the Garden Path (which later moved to ITV with Staunton reprising the role), in Diary of a Provincial Lady (from 1999) and Acropolis Now.
She starred opposite Anna Massey in the post-World War II mystery series Daunt and Dervish, and opposite Patrick Barlow in The Patrick and Maureen Maybe Music Experience. She played the role of a schoolboy as the lead character in the five part (15 minutes each): "The Skool Days of Nigel Molesworth" for BBC Radio 4.
Staunton has narrated The Gruffalo for an unabridged audio book of Julia Donaldson's children's book. In 2014 she collaborated with her husband Jim Carter and Show of Hands on Centenary: Words and Music of the Great War, an album of songs and poetry from and inspired by World War One.
Staunton met her husband, English actor Jim Carter, in Richard Eyre's landmark early 1980s production of Guys And Dolls at the National Theatre. They have a daughter, Bessie, born in 1993. In 2007, the couple, together with Bessie, appeared in the BBC series Cranford (Carter was Captain Brown and Bessie a maid).
Staunton owns a bitch (Molly) which appeared in Gypsy at the Chichester Festival Theatre from 6 October 8 November) as "Chowsie" the dog. Staunton played the leading role as "Momma Rose".
- Waiting for Godot (Lucky, 1976), Birmingham Rep
- Hay Fever, Watermill, Newbury
- Grease, York Theatre Royal
- Henry V, Leeds Playhouse
- The Gingerbread Man, Leeds Playhouse
- Travesties (1978) Northcott Exeter
- A Man for All Seasons (1978) Northcott Exeter
- Elektra (Elektra, 1978) Northcott Exeter
- Dear Daddy (1978) Northcott Exeter
- Cinderella (1978) Northcott Exeter
- 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (1978) Northcott Exeter:
- Macbeth (1978) Northcott Exeter
- Cabaret (1978) Northcott Exeter
- As You Like It (1978) Northcott Exeter
- Saint Joan (Saint Joan, 1979) Northcott Exeter
- The Beggar's Opera (1979) Northcott Exeter
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1979) Northcott Exeter
- Side by Side by Sondheim (1979) Northcott Exeter
Two seasons at the Nottingham Playhouse (1980–81?):
- Pam Gems' Piaf (Piaf) Nottingham Playhouse
- Mack and Mabel (Mabel) Nottingham Playhouse
- Mrs Warren's Profession, Nottingham Playhouse
- A Little Night Music, Nottingham Playhouse
Theatre roles in London:
- Guys and Dolls (Mimi, Hotbox Girl, 1982), Royal National Theatre Olivier
- The Beggar's Opera (Lucy Lockit, 1982), Royal National Theatre Cottesloe
- Schweyk in the Second World War (Anna, 1982) National Olivier
- Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide, 1983) National Olivier
- A Mad World, My Masters (Janet Cloughton, 1984) Theatre Royal Stratford East
- Us Good Girls (Paulette, 1984) Soho Poly
- The Corn Is Green (Bessie Watty, 1985), Old Vic – Olivier award
- A Chorus of Disapproval (Hannah Llewellyn, 1985) National Olivier – Olivier award
- The Fair Maid of the West (Bess Bridges, 1987) RSC Mermaid Theatre
- They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Gloria Beatty, 1987) RSC Mermaid
- The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy, 1987) RSC Barbican Theatre
- Uncle Vanya (Sonya, 1988) Vaudeville Theatre
- The Lady and the Clarinet (Luba, 1989) The King's Head Theatre, Islington
- Into the Woods (Baker's Wife, 1990) Phoenix Theatre – Olivier award
- Rona Munro's Bold Girls (Cassie, 1991) Hampstead Theatre
- Tony Kushner's Slavs! (Bonfila, 1994) Hampstead Theatre
- Habeas Corpus (play) (Mrs Swabb, 1996) Donmar Warehouse
- Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide, 1996) National Olivier – Olivier nomination
- Divas at the Donmar 
- Yasmina Reza's Life X Three (Ines, 2000) National Cottesloe, then transferring to the Old Vic (2001)
- Michael Hastings' Calico (Nora Barnacle, 2004) Duke of York's Theatre
- Frank McGuinness's There Came a Gypsy Riding (Margaret, 2007) Almeida
- Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane (Kath, 2009) Trafalgar Studios
- Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (Claire, 2011) Almeida Theatre
- Sweeney Todd (Mrs Lovett, 2011), Chichester Festival Theatre
- Sweeney Todd (Mrs Lovett, 2012), Adelphi Theatre – Olivier award
- Good People (Margie, 2014), Hampstead Theatre and Noël Coward Theatre
- Gypsy (Rose, 2014), Chichester Festival Theatre
- Gypsy (Rose, 2015), Savoy Theatre
|1986||The Singing Detective||Staff Nurse White||5 episodes|
|1986||Ladies in Charge||Edith||Episode: "Double Act"|
|1988||Thompson||Various roles||6 episodes|
|1990–1993||Up the Garden Path||Izzy||18 episodes|
|1990||Screenplay||Stephanie||Episode: "The Englishman's Wife"|
|1991||Screenplay||Jane Hartman||Episode: "Antonia and Jane"|
|1992||A Masculine Ending||Bridget Bennet||Television film|
|1993||Don't Leave Me This Way||Bridget Bennet||Television film|
|1993||If You See God, Tell Him||Muriel Spry||4 episodes|
|1994||Frank Stubbs Promotes||Susan||Episode: "Charity"|
|1995–1998||Is It Legal?||Stella Phelps||21 episodes|
|1995||Citizen X||Mrs Burakova||Television film|
|1995||Look at the State We're In!||Councillor Johnson||Television film|
|1995||The Adventures of Mole||(voice)||Television film|
|1996||Tales From The Crypt||Sarah||Episode: "About Face"|
|1998–2000||The Canterbury Tales||The Prioress||2 episodes|
|1999||David Copperfield||Mrs. Micawber||Television film|
|1999||Midsomer Murders||Christine Cooper||Episode: "Dead Man's Eleven"|
|2002||Murder||DCI Billie Dory||Television film|
|2003||Cambridge Spies||The Queen||2 episodes|
|2003||Strange||Reverend Mary Truegood||Episode: "Incubus"|
|2003||Let's Write A Story||Mrs. Twit||Television film|
|2005||Fingersmith||Mrs Sucksby||3 episodes|
|2005||Little Britain||Mrs. Mead||6 episodes|
|2006||Dog Town||Gwen Gregson||Episode: "1.4"|
|2006||The Wind in the Willows||Barge Lady||Television film|
|2007||Cranford||Miss Octavia Pole||5 episodes
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress
|2008||Big & Small||Ruby/Twiba||14 episodes|
|2008||Clay||Mary Doonan||Television film|
|2009||Return to Cranford||Miss Octavia Pole||2 episodes|
|2010–2011||Psychoville||Grace Andrews||7 episodes|
|2011||Doctor Who||The Interface (voice)||Episode: "The Girl Who Waited"|
|2012||The Girl||Alma Hitchcock||Television film
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actress
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
- 2012 Sweeney Todd Revival Cast Recording as Mrs. Lovett
- 2015 Gypsy - 2015 London Cast Recording as Momma Rose
- Lawley, Sue (15 May 2005). "This Week's Guest: Imelda Staunton". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
- Imelda Staunton profile at BBC Radio 4 "Desert island Discs"
- "Imelda Staunton Biography". Tiscali Film and TV. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
- "Imelda Staunton: My Career Is Not About Looks" The Telegraph, 8 December 2008
- Irish News UK – News from the Irish Community in Britain
- "Imelda Staunton's surprising confession: I might have nibbled the odd hash brownie and I'd love to have been a hippy Chris Sullivan, 19 November 2009, the Daily Mail
- The prime of Miss Imelda Staunton
- Raymond, Kurt. "We're Off To Stage The Wizard of Oz". Beyond the Rainbow to Oz website. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- "Wizard of Oz (MUNY 1945)". Tams–Witmark Music Library, Inc. 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- Happy Birthday, Sir Larry theatre programme, 31 May 1987
- "Staunton, Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette". Who's Who. A & C Black. 2012.
- Olivier Awards winners
- Billington, Michael (2 February 2009). "Theatre review: Entertaining Mr Sloane / Trafalgar Studios, London". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Billington, Michael (21 March 2012). "Sweeney Todd – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- McCurry, Justin (29 June 2007). "Japan goes wild about Harry". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 May 2008.
- Dawtrey, Adam (13 December 2007). "London critics love 'Control,' 'Atonement'". Variety. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
- Ghostly Art From 'The Awakening'
- The Milton Rooms homepage
- "Imelda Staunton on acting naturally" The Sunday Times, 21 June 2008
- "New Year Honours—United Kingdom". The London Gazette (57855): N12. 31 December 2005.
- Chichester Festival Theatre "Gypsy A Musical Fable" 2014 Official Program.
- Imelda Staunton and Her Big Band (1–5 September 1998) Donmar Warehouse
- Billington, Michael (13 May 2011). "A Delicate Balance". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Imelda Staunton at the Internet Movie Database
- The Prime of Miss Imelda Staunton, Sunday Telegraph interview 15 July 2007
- on YouTube
- The Telegraph: Imelda Staunton interview
- Imelda Staunton in Conversation, filmed BAFTA event, March 2009