Today is the 82nd birthday of Dame Maggie Smith. Harry Potter, yes. Downton Abbey, naturally. But The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie, brilliant. The world is a better place because she is in it.
NAME: Maggie Smith
BIRTH DATE: December 28, 1934
EDUCATION: Oxford High School for Girls, Oxford Playhouse School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Ilford, England
OSCAR for Best Actress 1970 for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
OSCAR for Best Supporting Actress 1979 for California Suite
GOLDEN GLOBE 1979 for California Suite
GOLDEN GLOBE 1987 for A Room with a View
EMMY 2003, Outstanding Lead Actress, for My House in Umbria
TONY 1990, Best Actress, for Lettice and Lovage
EMMY 2011, Outstanding Supporting Actress, for Downton Abbey
COMMANDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE 1970
DAME OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE 1990
BEST KNOWN FOR: Celebrated British actress Maggie Smith starred opposite Laurence Olivier in ‘Othello’ and won her first Oscar for ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.’ She has since earned acclaim for her roles in the ‘Harry Potter’ films and ‘Downton Abbey.’
Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Ilford, Essex, England, to Margaret (Hutton) and Nathaniel Smith. When she was 4 years old, her family moved to Oxford, where her father worked as a pathologist at Oxford University.
After graduating from high school, Smith attended the Oxford Playhouse School from 1951 to 1953. She made her professional stage début in 1952, playing Viola in an Oxford University Dramatics Society production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
After a brief detour to New York’s Broadway, where she performed in the comedy revue New Faces of 1956, Smith also began to act in film. Her first role was a short, uncredited appearance in Child in the House in 1956, followed by a larger part in the crime drama Nowhere to Go in 1959.
In the 1960s, Smith was active in the National Theatre of Great Britain. She played Desdemona to Laurence Olivier’s Othello in 1964; the two of them reprised their roles in a film version of Othello the following year. While at the National Theatre, she acted in classic dramas by major authors such as Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov.
Smith has received two Academy Awards. She received the first (for best actress) in 1969, for her portrayal of an idealistic, unorthodox schoolteacher in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She won the second (for best supporting actress) in 1978, in honor of her performance in Neil Simon’s California Suite. She has also received British Academy Film Awards for her work, including for her roles in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1984’s A Private Function, 1985’s A Room with a View and 1987’s The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. Additionally, she has received several accolades for her stage performances, including a Variety Club Award for her performance in Noël Coward’s Private Lives in 1972, and a Tony Award for Lettice and Lovage in 1990.
Throughout the 1990s, Smith acted in a diverse range of projects, from the 1993 comedy Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit with Whoopi Goldberg, to the 1997 literary adaptation Washington Square and the 1999 ensemble drama Tea with Mussolini. Her appearance as a snobbish aristocrat in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park (2001) received especially positive notice.
Smith captured the attention of a new generation when she played the strict witchcraft teacher Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). The movie was a huge hit, and Smith reprised the role for six of the seven Harry Potter sequels.
Since 2010, Smith has been acclaimed for her performance as the grandly irrepressible Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the period drama Downton Abbey. She has received three Emmy Awards for the role in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
The esteemed and busy actress has also continued her prolific film career. In 2012, she joined the ensemble cast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was featured in the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet. In 2015, she returned for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and starred in the comedy-drama The Lady in the Van, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination.
Smith has been married twice. Her first marriage, to actor Robert Stephens in 1967, ended in divorce in 1974. Her two sons with Stephens, Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin, are both actors. In 1975, Smith married writer Beverley Cross, who died of cancer in 1998.
Smith was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990.
In 2008, Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent intensive treatment that included chemotherapy sessions which coincided with the filming schedule for Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.
Downton Abbey Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (2010-)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Lady in the Van (12-Sep-2015)
My Old Lady (10-Sep-2014)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (30-Nov-2011) · Muriel Donnelly
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (7-Jul-2011) · Prof. Minerva McGonagall
Gnomeo & Juliet (23-Jan-2011) · Lady Bluebury [VOICE]
Nanny McPhee Returns (24-Mar-2010) · Mrs. Docherty
From Time to Time (15-Oct-2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (6-Jul-2009) · Prof. Minerva McGonagall
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (3-Jul-2007)
Becoming Jane (2-Mar-2007)
Keeping Mum (2-Dec-2005)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (6-Nov-2005)
Ladies in Lavender (17-Sep-2004) · Janet
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (31-May-2004) · Prof. Minerva McGonagall
My House in Umbria (8-Mar-2003)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (3-Nov-2002) · Prof. McGonagall
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (3-Jun-2002) · Caro
Gosford Park (7-Nov-2001) · Constance Trentham
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (4-Nov-2001) · Prof. McGonagall
David Copperfield (25-Dec-1999)
All the King’s Men (14-Nov-1999)
Curtain Call (30-Aug-1999)
The Last September (16-May-1999) · Lady Myra
Tea with Mussolini (26-Mar-1999) · Lady Hester
Washington Square (12-Sep-1997)
The First Wives Club (20-Sep-1996) · Gunilla Garson Goldberg
Richard III (20-Aug-1995) · Duchess of York
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (10-Dec-1993) · Mother Superior
The Secret Garden (27-Jan-1993)
Sister Act (29-May-1992) · Mother Superior
Hook (11-Dec-1991) · Granny Wendy
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (23-Dec-1987) · Judith Hearne
A Room with a View (Dec-1985) · Charlotte Bartlett, a chaperon
A Private Function (Nov-1984) · Joyce Chilvers
Lily in Love (17-Oct-1984)
The Missionary (2-Nov-1982) · Lady Ames
Evil Under the Sun (5-Mar-1982) · Daphne Castle
Better Late Than Never (1982)
Clash of the Titans (12-Jun-1981) · Thetis
California Suite (15-Dec-1978) · Diana Barrie
Death on the Nile (30-Oct-1978) · Miss Bowers
Murder by Death (23-Jun-1976) · Dora Charleston
Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing (19-Apr-1973) · Lila Fisher
Travels with My Aunt (17-Dec-1972) · Aunt Augusta
Oh! What a Lovely War (10-Mar-1969)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Jan-1969)
Hot Millions (19-Sep-1968) · Patty
The Honey Pot (21-Mar-1967) · Sarah Watkins
Othello (15-Dec-1965) · Desdemona
Young Cassidy (22-Mar-1965) · Nora
The Pumpkin Eater (9-May-1964) · Philpot
The V.I.P.’s (1-Sep-1963) · Miss Mead
Go to Blazes (Apr-1962)
Nowhere to Go (2-Dec-1958) · Bridget Howard
Source: Maggie Smith
Source: Maggie Smith – Wikipedia