Smith, Dame Maggie

Smith, Dame Maggie (Dame Margaret Natalie Cross), 1934–, English actress. Smith first appeared on stage in Twelfth Night (1952). With her precise, sometimes rapid-fire, articulation and her meticulous stagecraft, she is adept at both comedic and serious roles. Smith worked with the Old Vic Company and the National Theatre, giving notable performances in As You Like It, Richard II, The Rehearsal, and Private Lives. In 1989 she scored a personal triumph in London and New York in, and won a Tony Award for, Lettice and Lovage. Among her films are Othello (1966), Travels with My Aunt (1973), A Room with a View (1985), and A Private Function (1985). She has won two Academy Awards, for The Prime of Miss Brodie (1969) and, ironically, in the role of a nominated actress on Academy Award night, in California Suite (1978). Subsequent performances in plays include Three Tall Women (1991) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1992); in films, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1991) and The Secret Garden (1993). Smith has had notable supporting roles in Tea with Mussolini (1999; BAFTA Award); in film based on J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books (2001–11); and in the Downton Abbey television series (2010–15), for which she won a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and two Emmies. In the film The Lady in the Van (2015) Smith reprised a role she created (1999) on stage, that of a irascible but humorous homeless woman. She was created a dame commander, Order of the British Empire, in 1990.

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