Maggie Smith: The Legendary British Actress


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Maggie Smith is the most legendary and revered British actress of all time. Most young people know Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter franchise. However, she has a long and illustrious career outside of the Harry Potter movies as well.

Here Are Some Magical Tidbits About Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith became a Dame in 1989

Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire Margaret Natalie Smith is the official full name of the most famous English theater and film actress. In 1989, the British crown, in gratitude for her talent, knighted Maggie Smith. Since she is a woman, she received the title of “Dame” instead of “Sir”.

Maggie Smith was born in Pre-War Britain

Maggie Smith was born on December 28, 1934. Maggie is the Smiths’ only daughter and youngest child. She was born when sons Alistair and Ian were growing up in the family. She spent her early childhood in the London suburb of Ilford. The future British theater and film star grew up in an intellectual family, the head of which, Nathaniel Smith, is a professor at Oxford University.

Maggie Smith always dreamt of becoming an actress

When the girl was 5 years old, Nathaniel and Margaret Smith moved from the suburbs to Oxford, where their daughter went to a girls’ school. Young Maggie dreamed of theater since childhood, but after successfully graduating from high school she never entered a theater university: her parents opposed it and did not want to let their 16-year-old darling leave home. Maggie Smith gave in to her parents and became a student at Oxford University, but did not give up her dream: she enrolled in the acting school at the university and soon appeared on the stage of the student theater.

Maggie Smith started her acting career with Twelfth Night

Maggie Smith’s stellar acting career began with her debut role as Viola in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night back in 1952. Then there were the performances of “School of Scandal” and “Cinderella”. Performances with the participation of Maggie Smith enjoyed incredible success with audiences. Soon the directors and producers became convinced that Maggie Smith was the talisman with whom the play was doomed to triumph.

Maggie Smith made her Broadway debut in 1956

Maggie Smith on Broadway

In 1956, the British thespian was invited to the Broadway production of “New Faces of ’56” and was offered a role in the play “Mary, Mary” at the famous London Old Vic theater. In the 1960s, the young artist was the prima of the Royal National Theater troupe. In Shakespeare’s Othello, she shone in the lead roles with Laurence Olivier. Maggie played Desdemona, Olivier – a jealous strangler. In 1965, the play was filmed, and the actress received her first awards.

Maggie Smith had a successful US Tour in the 70s

In the 1970s, the actress went on a tour of America and delighted fans with her appearances in classical and modern productions, where she performed comedic and dramatic roles with equal success. In subsequent years, the artist did not forget about the theater stage, delighting audiences with new works.

Maggie Smith was a striking beauty

Maggie Smith during her youth

In her youth, Maggie Smith was strikingly beautiful. Slender, which is visible in the photos of those years (with a height of 1.65 m, she weighed 52 kg), the red-haired girl with huge gray eyes did not have a shortage of admirers. But she chose her colleague Robert Stevens. The wedding ceremony took place in the summer of 1967, when the couple had their first child, Chris. Two years later, a second son was born, who was named Toby.

Maggie Smith’s children became actors as well

Maggie and Robert’s family life did not work out, and the couple separated five years after Toby’s birth. The beautiful actress was not left alone. In 1975, significant changes took place in the British woman’s personal life: Margaret married for the second time. The husband turned out to be a prominent representative of the film industry – playwright Beverly Cross. The couple lived in love and harmony until 1998, until Cross’s death. Smith’s sons followed in their parents’ footsteps and became actors (the eldest is known as Chris Larkin).

Maggie Smith is a breast cancer survivor

In 2007, during the filming of the 6th part of the Harry Potter saga, a woman felt unwell. Doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. Margaret did not interrupt filming and underwent treatment without interruption from work.

Maggie Smith donates to charity regularly

In September 2011, Smith donated 4.6 million New Zealand Dollars to rebuild the Court Theater in Christchurch, a city on New Zealand’s South Island that was damaged by the earthquake. A year later, Maggie became a patron of the International Glaucoma Association, hoping to support the organization and raise awareness of the problems of patients with this disease.

In addition, the British woman is known as a patron of the Oxford Theater, where she first began a distinguished career. Smith has also acted as vice-president of the Chichester Cinema in New Park and the Royal Theater Trust. The latter’s activities are aimed at supporting artists who, due to circumstances – illness, injury, etc. – are unable to work.

In November 2020, the actress joined Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and other fellow creatives for a Zoom talk called For One Knight Only for the charity Acting for Others. Branagh described the group as “the greatest quartet of Shakespearean actors on the planet” as they spoke about the ups and downs of their careers.

Despite being 88, Maggie Smith is still active

In 2021, the actress continued her creative activity. In April, Smith became a guest on Kathleen Turner’s stream. This event was held with the support of the Royal Theater Fund, which is patronized by the British woman. In the fall, fans of the film history of the Crowley family were treated to good news – the release of the official trailer for the new full-length film Downton Abbey: A New Era. The appearance of Duchess Violet in the promo delighted fans of the saga.


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