DECEMBER 7 - MAGGIE SMITH
Dame Margaret Nathalie “Maggie” Smith is a British actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films and is one of Britain’s most recognisable actresses. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1990 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama.
Smith began her career on stage at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952 and made her Broadway debut in New Faces of ‘56. For her work on the London stage, she has won a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards for The Private Ear and The Public Eye, Hedda Gabler, Virginia, The Way of the World and Three Tall Women. In New York, she received Tony Award nominations for Private Lives, Night and Day and Lettice and Lovage. For the latter, she won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Other stage roles include Stratford Shakespeare Festival productions of Antony And Cleopatra and Macbeth, and West End productions of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance and David Hare’s The Breath of Life, both at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
On screen, she first drew praise for the crime film Nowhere to Go, for which she received her first BAFTA Award nomination. Her 1965 film role as Desdemona, in William Shakespeare’s Othello, earned her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. Since then, Smith has worked consistently in film, television and stage.
Smith has won two Academy Awards, winning Best Actress for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Best Supporting Actress for California Suite opposite Michael Caine. She is one of only six actresses to win the Academy Award in both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories. A six-time nominee, her other Academy Award nominations were for Travels with My Aunt, A Room with a View, and Gosford Park. She has also won a record four Best Actress BAFTA Awards: for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, A Private Function, A Room with a View and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. She would add a fifth competitive BAFTA for the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, this time as Best Supporting Actress.
Other notable films include Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing, Death on the Nile, Clash of the Titans, Evil Under the Sun, Hook, Sister Act, The First Wives Club, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and a recurring role as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the highly successful Harry Potter film series. She currently stars as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey, for which she has won a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild awards and two consecutive Emmy awards. She previously won an Emmy for the 2003 TV film My House in Umbria. In 2015, she received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Miss Mary Shepherd in The Lady in the Van.
As well as her numerous competitive awards for acting in theatre, film and television, including two Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Tony Award, Smith has also received several honorary awards, including two more BAFTAs, the Special Award in 1993 and the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996. She also received the Honorary Olivier Award in 2011. Smith is one of the few actresses to have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. In September 2012, she was awarded the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Legacy Award, which she accepted from Christopher Plummer, who presented it to her in a ceremony at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada.