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Maggie Smith      

Film, Stage and TV Actress; Known for "Downton Abbey"

British actress Maggie Smith, born on December 28, 1934, in Ilford, Essex, England, has led a distinguished, varied career on stage, in film and in television over the past six decades. Her achievements range from performing Shakespeare to winning an Academy Award for her performance in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" to memorable roles in the acclaimed series "Downton Abbey" and the popular "Harry Potter" films.

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.

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."

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" 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." She continued to appear as Professor McGonagall in the following "Harry Potter" films, even during her fight against breast cancer in 2008. 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 two Emmy Awards for playing the haughty, witty Dowager Countess.

Smith was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990.


'That Really Is The End': Downton Abbey To Finish If Maggie Smith ...
Downton Abbey will soon be returning to our screens for a fourth series, but according to Michelle Dockery, the super successful period drama could come to an ...
Dame Maggie Smith (reluctantly) agrees to have her portrait painted ...
A portrait of veteran actress Dame Maggie Smith has gone on display at the National Portrait Gallery today.

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