Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, DBE (born 28 December 1934), better known as Maggie Smith, is an English film, stage, and television actress who made her stage debut in 1952 and is still performing after 59 years. She has won numerous awards for acting, both for the stage and for film, including five BAFTA Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Emmy Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, two SAG Awards, and a Tony Award.
Her critically acclaimed films include Othello (1965), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), California Suite (1978), Clash of the Titans (1981), A Room with a View (1985), and Gosford Park (2001). She has also appeared in a number of widely-popular films, including Hook, Sister Act (1992), and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series. Smith currently appears in the hit TV series Downton Abbey.
 Early life
Margaret Natalie Smith was born in Ilford, Essex. She is the daughter of Margaret Smith (née Hutton), a Glasgow-born secretary, and Nathaniel Smith, a Newcastle upon Tyne-born public health pathologist who worked at Oxford University. She has older twin brothers, Alistair and Ian. Smith studied at Oxford High School.
Smith has had an extensive career both on screen and in live theatre, and is known as one of Britain's pre-eminent actresses. She began her career at the Oxford Playhouse with Frank Shelley and made her first film in 1956. She became a fixture at the Royal National Theatre in the 1960s, most notably for playing Desdemona in Othello opposite Laurence Olivier and winning her first Oscar nomination for her performance in the 1965 film version.
In 1969, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as an unorthodox Scottish schoolteacher in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, a role originally created on stage by Vanessa Redgrave in 1966 in London. (Zoe Caldwell won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play when she created the role in New York.) Smith was also awarded the 1978 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the brittle actress Diana Barry in California Suite, acting opposite Michael Caine. Afterwards, on hearing that Michael Palin was about to embark on a film (The Missionary) with Smith, Caine is supposed to have humorously telephoned Palin, warning him that she would steal the film. She also starred with Palin in the black comedy A Private Function in 1984.
Smith appeared in Sister Act in 1992 and had a major role in the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, where she appeared as the formidable Lady Hester. Indeed, many of her more mature roles have centred on what Smith refers to as her "gallery of grotesques", playing waspish, sarcastic or plain rude characters. Recent examples of this would include the judgmental sister in Ladies in Lavender and the cantankerous snob Constance, Countess of Trentham in Gosford Park, for which she received another Oscar nomination.
Other notable roles include the querulous Charlotte Bartlett in the Merchant-Ivory production of A Room with a View, a vivid supporting turn as the aged Duchess of York in Ian McKellen's film of Richard III, and a little known but powerful performance as Lila Fisher in the 1973 film Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing with Timothy Bottoms. Due to the international success of the Harry Potter movies, she is now widely known for playing the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall, opposite Daniel Radcliffe, with whom she'd previously worked in the 1999 BBC television adaptation of David Copperfield, playing Betsie Trottwood. She also plays an older Wendy in the Peter Pan movie, Hook and Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden. In 2010 she appeared as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the British period drama Downton Abbey, and is signed to reprise her role in the second season, which was filmed in Spring 2011.
She appeared in numerous productions at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, to acclaim from 1976 through to 1980. These roles included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, Virginia Woolf in Virginia, and countless lead roles with long-time Stratford icon Brian Bedford including the Noël Coward comedy Private Lives.
On stage, her many roles have included the title character in the stage production of Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van and starring as Amanda in a revival of Private Lives. She won a Tony Award in 1990 for Best Actress in a Play for Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage, in which she starred as an eccentric tour guide in an English stately home. The play, first performed in London, also featured Margaret Tyzack, whom Smith insisted should also appear in the Broadway production despite initial resistance from the American Actor's Equity. In 2007, she appeared in Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque at Theatre Royal Haymarket.
She was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1970, and was raised to Dame Commander (DBE) in 1990.
 Personal life
Smith has been married twice. She married actor Robert Stephens on 29 June 1967 at Greenwich Register Office. The couple had two sons: actors Chris Larkin (born in 1967) and Toby Stephens (born in 1969), and divorced on 6 May 1974. Smith is a grandmother via both her sons.
In 2007, the Sunday Telegraph's Mandrake diary disclosed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was subsequently reported to have made a full recovery.
 Television and cinema
 Theatre roles
- Twelfth Night, Oxford Playhouse, 1952
- He Who Gets Slapped, Clarendon Press Institute, 1952
- Cinderella, Oxford Playhouse, 1952
- Rookery Nook, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- The Housemaster, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- Cakes and Ale (revue), Edinburgh Festival, 1953
- The Love of Four Colonels, Oxford Playhouse, 1953
- The Ortolan, Maxton Hall, 1954
- Don’t Listen Ladies, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Government Inspector, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Letter, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- A Man About The House, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- On the Mile (revue), Edinburgh Festival, 1954
- Oxford Accents, New Watergate Theatre, London, 1954
- Theatre 1900, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- Listen to the Wind, Oxford Playhouse, 1954
- The Magistrate, Oxford Playhouse, 1955
- The School For Scandal, Oxford Playhouse, 1955
- New Faces (revue), Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 1956
- Share My Lettuce (revue), Lyric Hammersmith and Comedy Theatre, 1957–1958
- The Stepmother, St. Martin's Theatre, 1958
- The Double Dealer, Old Vic, 1959
- As You Like It, Old Vic, 1959
- Richard II, Old Vic, 1959
- The Merry Wives of Windsor, Old Vic, 1959
- What Every Woman Knows, Old Vic, 1960
- Rhinoceros, Strand Theatre, 1960
- Strip the Willow, UK Tour, 1960
- The Rehearsal, Bristol Old Vic/ London, 1961
- The Private Ear and The Public Eye, Globe Theatre, 1962
- Mary, Mary, Queen's Theatre, 1963
- The Recruiting Officer, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1963
- Othello, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1964
- The Master Builder, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1964
- Hay Fever, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1964
- Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1965
- Black Comedy, National Theatre – Chichester and Old Vic, 1965
- Miss Julie, National Theatre – Chichester and Old Vic, 1965–1966
- Trelawney of the Wells, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1966
- A Bond Honoured, National Theatre – Old Vic, 1966
- The Country Wife, National Theatre – Chichester and Old Vic, 1969
- The Beaux Stratagem, National Theatre – Old Vic/ Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1970
- Hedda Gabler, National Theatre – Cambridge Theatre, 1970
- Design For Living, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1971
- Private Lives, Queens Theatre, 1972–1973
- Peter Pan, London Coliseum, 1973
- Snap, Vaudeville Theatre, 1974
- Private Lives, Los Angeles, 1974/ 46th Street Theatre, New York, 1975 [Tony nomination]
- The Way of the World, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- Antony and Cleopatra, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- Three Sisters, Stratford, Canada, 1976
- The Guardsman, Stratford, Canada/ Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1976
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stratford, Canada/ Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, 1977
- Richard III, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- As You Like It, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- Hay Fever, Stratford, Canada, 1977
- Macbeth, Stratford, Canada, 1978
- Private Lives, Stratford, Canada, 1978
- Night and Day, Phoenix Theatre/ Washington D.C./ ANTA Playhouse, New York, 1979–1980 [Tony nomination]
- Much Ado About Nothing, Stratford, Canada, 1980
- The Seagull, Stratford, Canada, 1980
- Virginia, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 1981
- The Way of the World, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 1984
- The Interpreters, Queens Theatre, 1985
- The Infernal Machine, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1986
- Coming Into Land, National Theatre/ Lyttelton, 1987
- Lettice and Lovage, Globe Theatre, 1987–1988
- Lettice and Lovage, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 1990 [Tony win]
- The Importance of Being Earnest, Aldwych Theatre, 1993
- Three Tall Women, Wyndham's Theatre, 1994–1995
- Talking Heads, Chichester and Comedy Theatre, 1996
- A Delicate Balance, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 1997–1998
- The Lady in the Van, Queens Theatre, 1999–2000
- The Breath of Life, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 2002–2003
- Talking Heads, Tour of Australia, 2004
- The Lady From Dubuque, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 2007
 See also
- ↑ Mackenzie, Suzie (20 November 2004). "You have to laugh". The Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1354891,00.html?gusrc=rss. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
- ↑ Maggie Smith Biography (1934–)
- ↑ Maggies Smith at Yahoo Movies.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Maggie Smith biography. Tiscali.film & TV.
- ↑ Maggie Smith. Film Reference.com.
- ↑ Bruce Weber "Margaret Tyzack, Award-Winning Actress, Dies at 79", New York Times, 27 June 2011
- ↑ Michael Coveney, "I'm Very Scared of Being Back on Stage", thisislondon.co.uk, 3 February 2007 
- ↑ Mark Lawson, "Prodigal Son", The Guardian, 31 May 2007
- ↑ Actress Maggie Smith recounts cancer battle