Parfitt in The Avengers (1968)
Judy Catherine Claire Parfitt
7 November 1935
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
(m. 1963; his death 2001)
Judy Catherine Claire Parfitt (born 7 November 1935) is an English theatre, film and television actress. She made her film debut in a minor supporting part in Information Received (1961), followed by supporting role in the BBC television serial David Copperfield (1966). She also appeared as Queen Gertrude in Tony Richardson's 1969 film adaptation of Hamlet.
Later credits include as Vera Donovan in the Stephen King film adaptation of Dolores Claiborne (1995), and in Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), the latter for which she earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Beginning in 2012, Parfitt has starred on the drama series Call the Midwife as Sister Monica Joan.
Parfitt was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1935 to Catherine Josephine (née Caulton) and Lawrence Hamilton Parfitt. As a teenager, she attended Notre Dame High School for Girls and later trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1953.
In 1971, she appeared in the Hammer television film Journey to Murder, opposite Joseph Cotten and hosted by Joan Crawford. In 1978, Parfitt appeared opposite Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright and Frank Finlay in the episode "Saturday, Sunday, Monday" of Laurence Olivier Presents. In 1981 she created the role of Eleanor in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Peter Nichols' Passion Play. In 1984 she played Deidre in Jack Rosenthal's The Chain. In 1987, she appeared in Maurice.
Two of her most notable past roles are Mildred Layton in The Jewel in the Crown (1984; for which she received her first BAFTA nomination) and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the 1980 TV serial version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1995, she portrayed Kathy Bates' former, domineering employer in Dolores Claiborne, who is dying in present-time, but is seen as a vibrant, glowing woman in flashback sequences.
She has appeared in some American television shows, beginning with her regular role as Snow White's Stepmother, Evil Queen Lillian "Lily" White in the series The Charmings. Parfitt's real-life husband Tony Steedman guest-starred as Santa Claus in The Charmings' second season Christmas special. She appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1989, and as the mother of Dr Elizabeth Corday (played by Alex Kingston) on several episodes of ER in 2002.
Parfitt played Lady Mount-Temple in the biopic film Wilde, alongside Stephen Fry, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Jones in 1997. In 2003, she played Maria Thins in Girl with a Pearl Earring. The role earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
She played the domineering American dowager, Mrs van Schuyler, opposite David Suchet, James Fox, Frances de la Tour and David Soul in a feature-length episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot in the 2004 edition of Death on the Nile. In 2008, she appeared as the primary villainess in Little Dorrit, as the cruel Mrs Clennam, alongside Alun Armstrong, Sue Johnston and Matthew Macfadyen. At Christmas 2011, she appeared in a small role similar to that which she portrayed in Little Dorrit as Aunt Chastity along with Una Stubbs and Phyllida Law in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff.
In 2012, she began appearing in the BBC TV series Call the Midwife as Sister Monica Joan, an elderly nun who is suffering from the early stages of dementia. The character has a strong educational background, particularly in classical literature, and her apparently random quotes are often used in the programme as a way of reflecting on the unfolding drama. She has also appeared in BBC’s spy tale, The Game; a film, Hello Carter; a Radio 4 show, Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups; and Jessica Hynes’s suffragette sitcom Up the Women.
|1956||A Likely Tale||Ursula Bludgeon||Television film|
|1962||Information Received||June Clifford|
|1964||Hide and Seek||Chauffeur|
|1966||David Copperfield||Rosa Dartle|
|1967||Angel Pavement||Lilian Matfield||Television film|
|1967||Escape in Time||Vesta|
|1970||The Mind of Mr. Soames||Jenny Bannerman|
|1971||Journey to Murder (Do Me a Favor and Kill Me)||Faith Wheeler||Television film|
|1972||The Edwardians||E. Nesbit||Television film|
|1974||Alice Through the Looking Glass||Red Queen|
|1979||Secret Orchards||Muriel Perry||Television film|
|1980||Death of a Princess||Elsa Gruber|
|1983||Office Romances||Pam Ivygale||Television film|
|1985||Covenant||Renata Beck||Television film|
|1989||Diamond Skulls||Lady Crewne||Also known as Dark Obsession|
|1989||Getting It Right||Lady Stella Munday|
|1991||King Ralph||Queen Katherine|
|1993||The Return of the Borrowers||Mrs. Platter||Television film|
|1995||Dolores Claiborne||Vera Donovan|
|1995||Heavy Weather||Lady Constance Keeble|
|1996||Element of Doubt||Genevieve|
|1996||Goodbye My Love||Ruth|
|1998||Ever After||Queen Marie|
|2003||Girl with a Pearl Earring||Maria Thins||Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role|
|2003||Hearts of Gold||Isobel John||Television film|
|2004||The Aryan Couple||Rachel Krauzenberg|
|2008||Dean Spanley||Mrs. Brimley|
|2008||My Talks with Dean Spanley||Mrs. Brimley|
|2011||The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff||Aunt Chastity||Television film|
|2011||W.E.||Mary of Teck|
|2012||The Moth Diaries||Mrs. Rood|
|2013||Hello Carter||Aunt Miriam|
|1962||The Avengers||Miss Ellis||Episode: "Bullseye"|
|1963||The Odd Man||Lisa Kapp||Episode: "Portrait of Caroline"|
|1963||The Sentimental Agent||Sally Clare||Episode: "The Height of Fashion"|
|1965||Public Eye||Marion Hordern||Episode: "But the Joneses Never Get Letters"|
|1965||Out of the Unknown||Marie||Episode: "Time in Advance"|
|1965||The Wednesday Play||Dorothy Gorbet||Episode: "Tomorrow, Just You Wait"|
|1965||Z-Cars||Christina Haines||Episode: "But the Crying..."|
|1967||The Saint||Anne Liskard||Episode: "The Persistent Patriots"|
|1967||The Avengers||Vesta||Episode: "Escape in Time"|
|1967||Adam Adamant Lives!||Ireyna||Episode: "Black Echo"|
|1967||Les Misérables||Mme. Thenardier||5 episodes|
|1967||Angel Pavement||Lilian Matfield||4 episodes|
|1968||Dixon of Dock Green||Mary Dewar||Episode: "The Attack"|
|1968||The Avengers||Loris||Episode: "Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40?"|
|1969||Journey to the Unknown||Faith Wheeler||Episode: "Do Me a Favor and Kill Me"|
|1973||Play for Today||Episode: "Like the Filmstar"|
|1973||The Protectors||Lena Hayden||Episode: "Lena"|
|1974||Shoulder to Shoulder||Lady Constance Lytton||Episode: "Lady Constance Lytton"|
|1975||Crown Court||Pauline Fanshawe||Episode: "The Healing Hand: Part 1"|
|1976–82||Crown Court||Gillian Forrest QC||16 episodes|
|1978||Rumpole of the Bailey||Anna Aspen||Episode: "Rumpole and the Honourable Member"|
|1978||Laurence Olivier Presents||N/A||Unknown episodes|
|1979||Malice Aforethought||Julia Bickleigh||2 episodes|
|1980||Pride and Prejudice||Lady Catherine de Bourgh||2 episodes|
|1980||A Tale of Two Cities||Madame Defarge||7 episodes|
|1981||Yes Minister||Betty Oldham||Episode: "A Question of Loyalty"|
|1984||The Jewel in the Crown||Mildred Layton||9 episodes|
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
|1986||Mr Pye||Miss Dredger||4 episodes|
|1987–88||The Charmings||Queen Lillian White||21 episodes|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||Peggy Brooks||Episode: "From Russia...with Blood"|
|1993||The Alleyn Mysteries||Lady O'Callaghan||Episode: "The Nursing Home Murder"|
|1997||Holding the Baby||Margaret||Episode: "#1.7"|
|1998||Berkeley Square||Lady Harmonsworth||Episode: "Ladybird, Ladybird"|
|1999||Midsomer Murders||Angela Wentworth||Episode: "Death's Shadow"|
|2000–02||ER||Isabelle Corday||7 episodes|
|2001||Murder in Mind||Margaret Collins||Episode: "Mercy"|
|2004||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Miss Van Schuyler||Episode: "Death on the Nile"|
|2004||The Long Firm||Lady Ruth Thursby||Episode: "Teddy's Story"|
|2005||Funland||Mercy Woolf||11 episodes|
|2008||Heartbeat||Lady Veronique||Episode: "Danse Macabre"|
|2008||Little Dorrit||Mrs. Clennam||12 episodes|
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|2008||Midsomer Murders||Caroline Halsey||Episode: "Days of Misrule"|
|2009||Jonathan Creek||Constance Gessler||Episode: "The Grinning Man"|
|2012–19||Call the Midwife||Sister Monica Joan||50 episodes|
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|2012||The Syndicate||Maureen||Episode: "#1.2"|
|2012||Vera||Maggie||Episode: "A Certain Samaritan"|
|2013||Agatha Chritie's Marple||Cicely Beauclerk||Episode: "Greenshaw's Folly|
|2015||The Game||Hester Waterhouse||5 episodes|
Awards and nominations
- BAFTA Film Awards
- BAFTA TV Awards
- Other awards
- 2009 - Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - as Mrs Clennam in Little Dorrit - nominated
- 2014 - Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - as Sister Monica Joan in Call the Midwife - nominated
- Year of birth: 1935, findmypast.co.uk; accessed 28 June 2014.
- "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch (1 October 2014), Judy C C Parfitt, 1935; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
- Judy Parfitt profile, Film Reference.com; accessed 28 June 2014.
- "Judy Parfitt". RADA. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "Judy Parfitt profile". Film Reference. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
- Cotter 2013, p. 145.
- Judy Parfitt on IMDb
- "The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff". BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- Wilson, Benji (19 January 2014). "Call the Midwife's Judy Parfitt: "All the old tarts gainfully employed"". The Telegraph.
- Wilson, Benji (19 January 2014). "Daily Telegraph". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
- Cotter, Robert Michael Bobb (2013). The Women of Hammer Horror: A Biographical Dictionary and Filmography. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-47208-6.