With over six decades in the entertainment industry, it is safe to say that Maggie Smith has spent virtually her entire life on the silver screen. The English actress, who is one of Britain’s most respected actresses, has appeared in over 50 films and several iconic television shows, including Downton Abbey. With her well-deserved awards and honors, Maggie Smith has managed to remain relevant to this day. Here you will find everything you need to know about the British icon.
Who Is Maggie Smith?
Dame Margaret “Maggie” Smith was born in Ilford, Essex on December 28, 1934, the daughter of Nathaniel Smith, a public health pathologist, and Margaret Hutton, a Scottish secretary. At the age of four, the family moved to Oxford, where she attended Oxford High School and then studied acting at Oxford PlayHouse. She began acting at the age of 17, her first performance being Twelfth Night, a production of Oxford PlayHouse. She later made her film debut in 1956 with an uncredited role in Child in the House. In the same year, she made her Broadway debut in New Faces of ’56 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
In the 1960s Maggie Smith gained great recognition especially for her role as Desdemona in Othello, which also earned her an Oscar nomination for her performance in the film adaptation.
In the 1990s Maggie Smith appeared in the blockbuster movie Hook, the comedy film – Sister Act (1992), The First Wives Club (1996), Richard III (1995), and Washington Square (1997). Following the international success of the Harry Potter films, she became a household name thanks to her popular role as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the face of Daniel Radcliffe. From 2001 to 2011 she starred in seven of the eight Harry Potter films.
In 2014, her role in the British drama Downtown Abbey as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, was highly acclaimed and won a Golden Globe Award, two Emmy Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In addition to acting, Maggie Smith is also involved in charitable work. In July 2012, she was named Patron of the International Glaucoma Association to support the organization and raise awareness.
Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Actress
The English actress was first married to the actor Robert Stephens on June 29, 1967, at the registry office in Greenwich. The marriage produced two sons. Her first son, Chris Larkin, was born on June 19, 1967; he also happens to be an actor. He chose “Larkin” as his stage name because he liked the works of the English poet Philip Larkin.
Maggie’s second son is Toby Stephens, who was born on April 21, 1969. Toby is also an actor.
Sadly, Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens were divorced on April 6, 1975. Two months after the divorce, the actress married the playwright Beverley Cross on June 23, 1975. They were together until Beverley’s death on March 20, 1998. Since then the actress has – at least to the public’s knowledge – never had a love affair with anyone.
In 1988, Maggie Smith was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. For this reason, she underwent radiotherapy. As the Sunday Telegraph reported, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 but was eventually reported to have made a full recovery.
At the Commonwealth New Year’s Honours 1970 Maggie Smith was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and at the 1990 New Year’s Honours, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the Britain Empire (DBE) for her services to the performing arts.
In 2014, during the Queen’s Birthday Honors, she was named a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor (CH), making her the third actress to receive this honor. She also received honorary awards from tertiary institutions such as the University of Cambridge, the University of St. Andrews, the British Film Institute, the British Academy of Film and Television, and many others.
The 83-year-old actress, who has won numerous awards, including seven BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards, and one Tony Award, has estimated net assets of $18 million.
Maggie Smith has older identical twin brothers – Alistair and Ian Smith, who are six years older than her. Both brothers wanted to be architects, but in 1981 Alistair suffered a heart attack and died. Ian Smith then studied architecture.
Dead or Alive
In 2017, a rumor was spread on the Internet that the actress was dead, causing grief to fans around the world. A follow-up report confirmed that it was a hoax, as the lady is very much alive and well.