One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her father was a teacher at Oxford University and her mother worked as a secretary. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross. Her marriage to Stephens ended in divorce in 1974. She was married to Cross until his death in 1999. She had two sons with Stephens, Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens who are also actors.
Maggie Smith's career began at the Oxford Playhouse in the 1950s. She made her film debut in 1956 as one of the party guests in Child in the House (1956). She has since performed in over sixty films and television series with some of the most prominent actors and actresses in the world. These include: Othello (1965) with Laurence Olivier, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), California Suite (1978) with Michael Caine and Jane Fonda, A Room with a View (1985), Richard III (1995) with Ian McKellen and Jim Broadbent, Franco Zeffirelli's Tea with Mussolini (1999) with Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher and Gosford Park (2001) with Kristin Scott Thomas and Clive Owen, directed by Robert Altman. Maggie Smith has also been nominated for an Oscar six times and won twice, for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and California Suite (1978).
Most recently, Smith has appeared in the very successful 'Harry Potter' franchise as the formidable Professor McGonagall.
Smith is a breast cancer survivor.
Her most recent role has been in Julian Fellowes' ITV drama series, "Downton Abbey" (2010) (2010-2011) as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
|Beverley Cross||(23 August 1975 - 20 March 1998) (his death)|
|Robert Stephens||(29 June 1967 - 6 May 1975) (divorced) 2 children|
Appointed a CBE in 1970 and a DBE (Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1990.
Created an honorary D.Litt of the Universities of St Andrews and Cambridge in 1971 and 1995 respectively.
She ranked tenth in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of greatest British film actresses.
Mother-in-law of actress Anna-Louise Plowman.
She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Best Actress for her performance in "The Lady in the Van" at the Queen's Theatre.
She was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress of the 1997 season for her performance in "A Delicate Balance" at the Haymarket Theatre.
She was awarded the 1984 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in "The Way of the World".
She was awarded the 1981 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
She was awarded the 1994 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in "Three Tall Women".
In 2003, she became the seventeenth performer to win the Triple Crown of acting. Oscars: Best Actress, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) & Best Supporting Actress, California Suite (1978), Tony: Best Actress - Play, "Lettice and Lovage" (1990), and Emmy: Best Actress - Miniseries/Movie, My House in Umbria (2003) (TV).
Is a good friend of Judi Dench.
Worked with Laurence Olivier in the 1960s at the National Theatre.
Her father Nathaniel was a Geordie and a pathologist. Her mother Margaret was a Glaswegian and a secretary.
Her twin brothers Ian and Alistair are six years older than she is. They are both architects.
Won Broadway's 1990 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for "Lettice and Lovage." She was also nominated twice before in the same category: for a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" in 1975, and for "Night and Day" in 1980.
Educated at the High School for Girls in Oxford, she started out in the theater as a prompt girl and understudy at the Oxford Repertory. She claims she never went on as no one ever fell ill.
Made her stage debut with the Oxford University Dramatic Society as Viola in Shakespare's "Twelfth Night." Bird-dogged by an American theatrical impresario, the part led to her being cast in her Broadway debut in "New Faces of 1956."
Had to change her stage name to "Maggie Smith" as there already was an actress named "Margaret Smith" at the time she started in the profession.
Appeared with Laurence Olivier in "Rhinoceros" in the English Stage Company's 1960 London production. Olivier pronounced her acting "Marvelous.".
Was a member of the Old Vic Company from 1959 to 1963, when the company was dissolved. It served as the basis for the new National Theatre being organized by Laurence Olivier, whom invited her to join. She gave a memorable performance as Desdemona opposite Olivier's Othello at The National Theatre's temporary home at the Old Vic theater building in 1964. Repeating the performance in the 1965 film made of that production, she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination, her first of six Oscar nods.
Is one of only a few actresses to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar after winning a Best Actress Oscar.
Was the first of 4 consecutive winners of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to have the initials 'M.S.', the others being: Meryl Streep - Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Mary Steenburgen - Melvin and Howard (1980), and Maureen Stapleton - Reds (1981).
One of the first people to have a star on the Avenue of Stars - a British version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven other "Harry Potter" actors also have one.
She and her first husband, Robert Stephens, appeared together in "Much Ado About Nothing". In 1993, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, who were also married at the time, played the same roles. Smith later worked with both Branagh and Thompson in the "Harry Potter" films.
She was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film culture.
Is a patron of the Jane Austen Society, devoted to author Jane Austen and her work.
Was a good friend of "Carry On" star Kenneth Williams.
In 2008, it was reported that she was fighting breast cancer. She has had a tumor removed and undergone chemotherapy.
She appeared in "The Master Builder" with Michael Redgrave and Celia Johnson (who had replaced the recently deceased Diana Wynyard) as part of the new National Theatre Company in 1964. She and Johnson would later appear together in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969).
Not only does she frequently work with Judi Dench, but they have also both worked with each other's children. Maggie worked with Finty Williams in Gosford Park (2001), while Dench worked with Toby Stephens in Die Another Day (2002).
Is one of 12 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Vanessa Redgrave and Ellen Burstyn.
During the time she was cast in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), producers approached her for further film roles in Cactus Flower (1969) and Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) but she turned them down as she wanted to limit her film work and focus more on theater.
Grandmother to Eli (b. May 2007), Tallulah (b. May 2009) and Kura (b. September 2010), all via son Toby Stephens.
One went to school, one wanted to act, one started to act, and one's still acting.
"Jude is the most incredibly level person. Generous, understanding. All the things I'd have to work very hard at, Jude is like that all the time. I would love to be like that. And working with Jude you have to try to remember that you ought to be like that" [on her friend Judi Dench].
I love it, I'm privileged to do it and I don't know where I'd be without it. [on acting]
The performances you have in your head are always much better than the performances on stage.
"I still miss him so much it's ridiculous. People say it gets better but it doesn't. It just gets different, that's all. Even in my dream I kept saying to him, 'You are dead. You can't be here'" [on her second husband, Beverley Cross].
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone.
It's true I don't tolerate fools but then they don't tolerate me, so I am spiky. Maybe that's why I'm quite good at playing spiky elderly ladies.
I longed to be bright and most certainly never was. I was rather hopeless, I suspect.
But there was an incredible nervousness about him. You couldn't do this, couldn't do that. Mustn't ride a bike, you'd be bound to fall off. Couldn't swim, you'd most certainly drown. [on her father]
I wanted to be a serious actress, but of course that didn't really happen. I did Desdemona [at the National, opposite Olivier] with great discomfort and was terrified all the time. But then everyone was terrified of Larry.
My career is chequered. Then I think I got pigeon-holed in humour; Shakespeare is not my thing.
I tend to head for what's amusing because a lot of things aren't happy. But usually you can find a funny side to practically anything.
[on roles] "When you get into the granny era, you're lucky to get anything."
It's true I don't tolerate fools, but then they don't tolerate me, so I am spiky. Maybe that's why I'm quite good at playing spiky elderly ladies.
I've won two Oscars and I still don't begin to understand film acting.
[on whether she will miss filming Harry Potter now that the series is completed] No, it was 10 years, and that's a lot.
(March 2007) Performing in the London West End production of "The Lady from Dubuque".
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.