Picture for Maggie Smith

December 28, 1934

Ilford, Essex, England

Maggie Smith


Dame Maggie Smith is quite simply one of the world’s greatest stage and screen actresses revered both by her peers and the public alike and the recipient of countless awards, including two Academy Awards, the CBE and the DBE. Most recently she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for her role in Robert Altman’s highly acclaimed Gosford Park.

Smith first appeared on stage with the Oxford University Drama Society in 1952 and then made her professional debut in New York in the "New Faces 1956 Revue". She joined the Old Vic Company in 1959 and began gathering awards including the 1962 Evening Standard’s Best Actress Award for her roles as Doreen in "The Private Ear" and Belinda in "The Public Eye".

She joined The National Theatre in 1963 playing Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier’s "Othello" and went on to further success in "Black Comedy", "Miss Julie", "The Country Wife", "The Beaux Stratagem" and "Much Ado About Nothing".

But, it was in 1969 and her portrayal in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" which catapulted her into the public eye and won her an Academy Award and the Society of Film and TV Arts Best Actress Award. Further film roles followed including: Travels with my Aunt (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress) and Death on the Nile. Then, in 1977 Smith won her second Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her role in Neil Simon’s California Suite.

The accolades continued to flow with Alan Bennett’s A Private Function (co-starring Michael Palin) for which she won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, a Variety Club Award and her fifth Academy Award nomination. Further film success followed with Merchant Ivory’s A Room with a View; The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress); Stephen Spielberg’s Hook; Sister Act; The Secret Garden; Richard III, The First Wives Club; Washington Square; Tea with Mussolini (for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress) and The Last September.

In 1970 Smith received a CBE and in 1990 she became Dame Maggie Smith when she received the DBS. She was awarded the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize in 1991, is a Fellow of the British Film Institute; was awarded a Silver BAFTA in 1993, is an Hon. DLitt of Cambridge University and St. Andrews and is a patron of the Jane Austen Society.

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