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Judi Dench Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (68) | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 9 December 1934York, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Birth NameJudith Olivia Dench
Height 5' 1" (1.55 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and at Old Vic Theatre. She is a ten-time BAFTA winner including Best Actress in a Comedy Series for A Fine Romance (1981) in which she appeared with her husband, Michael Williams, and Best Supporting Actress in A Handful of Dust (1988) and A Room with a View (1985) . She received an ACE award for her performance in the television series Star Quality: Mr. and Mrs. Edgehill (1985). She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1970, and was created Dame of Order of the British Empire in 1988.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: dh

Spouse (1)

Michael Williams (5 February 1971 - 11 January 2001) (his death) (1 daughter)

Trade Mark (1)

Known for often playing dignified, strong willed women in positions of authority who are sometimes opposed or criticised by those under her.

Trivia (68)

When Royal Shakespeare Company Director Peter Hall asked Judi Dench to play the title role in a staged, and then later televised, production of Cleopatra, Dench refused, saying that her Cleopatra would be a "menopausal dwarf." Director Hall was later successful in coaxing Dench into the role, of which she won rave reviews from both theatre critics and TV audiences.
Her first stage appearance was as a snail in a play at her Quaker junior school.
She made history in 1996 as the first person to win two Laurence Olivier awards (for British theatre) for different roles.
Her 1999 Oscar was awarded for an eight-minute performance in only four scenes as "Queen Elizabeth I" in Shakespeare in Love (1998). It is the second shortest performance ever to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the only shorter one being Beatrice Straight's six-minute performance in Network (1976).
Mother, with Michael Williams, of Finty Williams.
Created the role of Sally Bowles in the London premiere of the musical, Cabaret.
She was to play "Grizabella" in the original "CATS" West End production, but an ailment forced her out of the play. Elaine Paige replaced her.
She was ranked second in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of the greatest British Film Actresses.
Received the Film Actress Award for her role in Chocolat at The Variety Club Showbusiness Awards 2002. Unfortunately Ms Dench was in attendance at the Berlin Film Festival and couldn't attend the Awards ceremony, but was able to send a televised message congratulating the charity on its 50th anniversary.
Awarded an honorary DLitt by Oxford University on 28 June 2000.
Was awarded an honourary Litt.D. (Doctor in Letters) from Trinity College on Friday, 11th July, 2003.
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1984 (1983 season) for Best Actress in a New Play for Pack of Lies.
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1988 (1987 season) for Best Actress in a New Play for Antony and Cleopatra.
Presented with The Society's Special Award for her outstanding contribution to British theatre at the 2004 Laurence Olivier Awards. [February 2004]
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1996 (1995 season) for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in A Little Night Music at the Royal National Theatre Olivier Stage.
She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1996 (1995 season) for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in Absolute Hell at the Royal National Theatre Lyttleton Stage.
She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1999 (1998 season) for Best Actress for her performance in Filumena.
She was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress of the 1997 season for her performance in Amy's View at the Royal National Theatre: Lyttelton and then Aldwych theatres.
Younger sister of Jeffery Dench.
She was awarded the 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Special Award for her Outstanding Contributions to British Theatre.
She was awarded the 1982 London Critics' Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actress of 1981 for A Kind Of Alaska and The Importance of Being Earnest.
She was awarded the 1987 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actress for her performance in Anthony and Cleopatra.
She was awarded the 1987 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in Anthony and Cleopatra.
She was awarded the 1982 London Evening Standard Award for Best Actress for her performance in A Kind of Alaska and The Importance of Being Earnest.
During the filming of As Time Goes By (1992) , she used to direct everybody to hide from the director when he left the set.
Even after winning so many acting awards, she still admits to being insecure and wanting to improve the next performance. She admits that she prefers stage first, television second and film in third place.
She was awarded the 1997 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama) for Best Actress for her performance in Amy's View at the Royal National Theatre.
She was awarded the 1997 London Evening Standard Theatre Award: The Patricia Rothermere Award for her contributions to theatre.
An Associate Member of RADA.
Won Broadway's 1999 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for "Amy's View."
Voted Best British Actress of all time in a poll for Sky TV [Feb 2005].
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2005 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), she failed to receive a nomination however.
She was awarded a Companion of Honour in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama.
Currently supporting the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds Restoration Appeal (2005).
Topped the poll in Britain's Finest Actresses, July 2005
Attended the Mount School and at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
She and Vanessa Redgrave were in the same class at drama school.
As of 2014, received seven Oscar nominations, all of them when she was already over the age of 60. No other actor or actress collected more nominations when older than 60, the closest runner-ups being Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Laurence Olivier, Spencer Tracy, Melvyn Douglas and Edith Evans with a mere three nominations each.
When she started training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, she admits she wasn't taking it as seriously as she ought to have done. She was caught out during an improvisation scene at which point she realised that that was what it was all about and studied harder than she had ever done in her life.
Was not able to attend the Oscars in 2007, because she had to undergo a knee surgery.
Shares two roles with both Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett. She and Winslet both played the title role in Iris (2001), and she and Blanchette have both played Queen Elizabeth. All three of them have played Ophelia in Hamlet.
At the opening of the Judi Dench Theatre in London in 1986 she was introduced as "Here she is, Miss Judy Geeson'.
She and her The Shipping News (2001) and Notes on a Scandal (2006) co-star Cate Blanchett both received Oscar-nominations for playing Queen Elizabeth I in 1999. Dench won for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love (1998) while Blanchett was nominated for Elizabeth (1998).
Provides the narration for Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot in the 4th version (soft opening December 2007, final opening scheduled for February 2008).
Judi Dench is the new narrator of "Spaceship Earth", the dark ride at EPCOT. She replaced Jeremy Irons after Walt Disney World and Siemens decided to update the classic ride housed inside the infamous golf-ball.
She is a frequent co-star of her close friend Geoffrey Palmer.
First female to portray the 007 series character "M" which she did in GoldenEye (1995).
Good friend of Paul Scofield.
Awarded honorary D.Litt from the University of St Andrews, June 2008.
She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1970 Queen's Honours List and awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1988 Queen's New Years Honours List for her services to drama.
In a 2004 opinion poll of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Dame Dench's performance as "Lady Macbeth" in Trevor Nunn's 1976 production of "Macbeth" was voted the second greatest Shakespearean performance of all time. Only Paul Scofield's masterful "King Lear" was ranked higher.
In her autobiography "And Furthermore," Dench says that she never really understood what was going on in the movie The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), but she enjoyed the experience of making the movie, and she thought the sets were great.
Has twice been nominated for an Oscar in the same year that another actress was nominated for playing the same role. She received Best Supporting Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998), while Cate Blanchett was nominated for Elizabeth (1998). She was later nominated for Best Actress in Iris (2001), for which Kate Winslet was also nominated for the title role.
Whilst training at the Old Vic Theatre in the 1950s, Dench shared a flat with Barbara Leigh-Hunt.
Was six months pregnant with her daughter Finty Williams when she completed her run of the play "London Assurance".
Following the birth of her daughter, Finty Williams, Dench and her husband immediately began trying for another child. However, having been unsuccessful, the couple looked into adoption when Dench was in her 40s, but they were turned down.
Became engaged to Michael Williams during Christmas 1970 after he proposed to her on a beach in Australia.
Has had custody of her grandson, Sammy Williams (b. 1997), since 2004 following her daughter Finty Williams's rehabilitation for alcoholism.
Going blind due to condition called macular degeneration. Does not plan to retire [February 19, 2012].
A lifelong animal lover, Judi is the proud owner of a racehorse named Smokey Oakey. Also owns a dog, 4 cats, 2 Guinea pigs and some fish.
Counts Mrs Brown (1997) as the movie that became the quintessential breakthrough event of her career as a film actress, winning her her first Oscar nomination. Even though she'd performed regularly on stage in the US in Old Vic productions almost 40 years earlier, it wasn't until after this movie that Hollywood really came calling.
Dench is a supporter of Everton Football Club and she has been named as a patron of the soccer team's official charity "Everton in the Community".
She played a Countess in William Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well" in London West End. [February 2004]
She visited Staunton, Virginia to promote the Shenandoah Shakespeare Theatre. [May 2004]
Playing Mistress Quickly in a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor - The Musical at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. [January 2007]
Her father, Reginald Arthur Dench, was from Hampshire, England, and her mother, Eleanora Olive (Jones), was from Dublin, Ireland.
The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is the 7 years between Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2013).
As of 2014, has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: A Room with a View (1985), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Chocolat (2000) and Philomena (2013). The only film to win in the category was Shakespeare in Love (1998).

Personal Quotes (25)

[on her long marriage to Michael Williams] We were just happy to be in the same room together.
My only regret is that I didn't have more children.
[in 1994, when asked why A Room with a View (1985) was such a success] I've never seen it, so I don't know. Florence was lovely, of course, and it's a wonderful love story. I did enjoy doing the part, because Maggie Smith and I were old friends from 1958. We both arrived in Florence on the same day and neither of us had any family with us, so we would spend all day together filming and then go out to dinner together, catching up on our Old Vic days. But I didn't enjoy working with James Ivory. I didn't feel that I was on his wavelength and I didn't feel that he wanted me in the film, I have to say that. I remember doing that scene in the middle of the square where she goes mad and attacks the man selling postcards; James went to see the rushes and told me afterwards that everyone had laughed at it, they'd thought it was very funny. "Well done", he said to me. I thought perhaps we'd turned the corner but, when I came to post-sync the film, that scene was missing. When I asked why, he told me that Helena Bonham Carter hadn't been feeling up to it that day, so he'd cut the whole sequence. I don't know if that was the real reason he cut it - I just don't know.
I hate how people have been attacking Daniel Craig. It's despicable and it disgusts me. I have filmed with him in Prague and the Bahamas and he is a fine actor. He brings something new and edgy to the role. His critics will be proved wrong.
And then it was working with Bob Hoskins, who I had never worked with before - except radio. It was like being given a wonderful meal - full of the things you love most.
I don't like reading scripts very much. I like it better for someone to just explain to me what it is about this story.
I don't think anybody can be told how to act. I think you can give advice. But you have to find your own way through it.
The best moment of playing [William Shakespeare's] Juliet is the nanosecond when they offer you the part.
On plastic surgery: I've considered it, but I'm too old now. Every time I go to America I wonder if there is some process where it could all be sucked out and I could be out of there in time for dinner, but I'm frightened it would all drop off under the anaesthetic.
Of course I have a temper. Who hasn't? And the older I get the more angry I get about things. It's not sudden anger, it smoulders and then if I really let it go on for a bit the shit hits the fan. I get very angry about general injustice. I get angry about the way people say 'Tomorrow X will make a speech about X'. Just let them say it. I get furious about the whole business of not allowing conkers in school, and banning things because they are supposedly dangerous. I am riveted by the current Iraq inquiry, though angry already because I feel it will end with a report and nobody's actually going to be arraigned for what happened.
[Celebrity culture has led to a "quick fix" mentality on the part of younger actors.] They think a big part will change their life, without any back-up. Young actors go into a run and don't do all the performances. That would have been unheard of at one time. I know I can sustain a run because of my training.
I mourn that there are so many repertory companies that aren't around any more. I don't want the arts to take the form of a reality programme. I heard somebody say the other day that it is good if people can bring drink and food into a theatre and get up and go if they don't like the play. Well, yes, go out if you don't like it, but where do you draw the line? They tell people not to take pictures of us on stage but when you look up you see 100 red lights twinkling at you.
When you go abroad people always talk with such love about British theatre, but the irony is it's not appreciated by the Government as it should be. The state of the arts has always been, and will always be, precarious. But there is something so alarming about the huge cuts made to companies, particularly when you read of the astronomical amounts some people are earning.
[Does she feel fulfilled?] No, no, no, no, I hope not. Being fulfilled is closing the drawer again and I don't want to do that just yet. I'd bore myself silly. I wouldn't learn anything new. I'd just sit around and I hate wasting time. I hate waste of any kind. I love quiz programmes. I am riveted by The Weakest Link (2000) but I'd be too terrified to appear on it.
[Could she find love with anyone else?] It's not something that's ever happened. I've loved living in the same house, in the same grounds with my family. Sammy (grandson) was 4 when Michael died and he does look extraordinarily like him sometimes.
[Does she miss Michael Williams?] You bet. I don't expect you ever get over that. Time changes something, I suppose, but you miss the basic things. Michael was a realist, down to earth, a Lancashire man. I'm a Yorkshire woman and so that was pretty volatile, I suppose. He was Cancerian, I'm Sagittarian. He would say: 'I'm always rushing for the dark, you're always rushing for the light. If we hold in the middle, there's a kind of balance'.
Once, a long time ago, I read some bad reviews and I made the decision not to read the reviews. You get some critics who don't like you, or the play. But they don't have to do it every night. I don't want to be affected like that. I loved doing "Madame de Sade. A friend told me not to apologise for myself or the play, and I won't. Then I cast it all off and go and put my feet up under the chimney with my family
[on ageing.] I don't like it at all. Suddenly I get up out of a chair and can't rush across the room. But there's nothing I can do about that, alas. My energy levels are OK, but I can't see very well. People have to come up and wave at me. If a restaurant is too dark I can end up talking to the backs of chairs.
The passion doesn't lessen over time but you get more anxious. You always worry about getting employed. But I love what I do ... You're only as good as the last thing you did. But that anxiety feeds what you're doing. It gives you energy. It's very much part of me. You know that right behind you, stretching back as far as you can see, are other people wanting to play the same part and probably better than you.
I'd never met [Sophia Loren] and she arrived on set just as I was about to perform my number. She sat and watched. I said to Rob Marshall: 'I can't have ever been more frightened than at this moment.' It was like someone had given me an enormous injection. I suddenly had to be on the ball.
I am very un-divaish. Very rarely in 52 years in the business have I met anyone who has behaved in a selfish way.
I had no film career until Mrs Brown (1997), which Harvey Weinstein oversaw. He gave a lunch for me at the time and I told him I had his name tattooed on my bum. I hadn't, I had my make-up lady design something that I showed him. He's never forgotten it.
I'm more comfortable on stage, where there is an audience to tell a story to, as opposed to a film set where you are not in charge at all. On stage you can hear an audience's reactions. Within two minutes of a play starting you know how the evening will go. On film you're more reliant on the director. The moment he leaves you, you're like a child learning to walk.
National treasure? I hate that. Too dusty, too in a cupboard, too behind glass, too staid. I don't want to be thought of as recognisable - I always want to do the most different thing I can think of next. I don't want to be known for one thing, or as having done huge amounts of Shakespeare and the classics. I hate speaking as myself. I could never do a one-woman show. But I love being part of a company. On stage I am not trying to be myself, I'm trying to be someone else, the more unlike me the better. I remember someone who saw me in Juno and the Paycock said I was completely unrecognisable. How marvellous. I've done two sitcoms, lots of films. Look at my character [an obsessive, damaged stalker] in Notes on a Scandal. You wouldn't want to ask her around.
I'm always fearful. Fear in you generates a huge energy. You can use it. When I feel that mounting fear, I think, 'Oh yes, there it is'. It's like petrol.

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