With over six decades in the entertainment industry, it is safe to say that Maggie Smith has practically lived her entire life on screen. The English actress, who is one of Britain’s most recognized actresses, has appeared in over 50 films and in several iconic television shows, including Downton Abbey. With her well-deserved awards and honors, Maggie Smith has managed to stay relevant till date. Here’s everything to know about the British icon.
Who Is Maggie Smith?
Dame Margaret ‘Maggie’ Smith was born on the 28th of December 28, 1934, in Ilford, Essex to 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 went on to study acting at the Oxford PlayHouse. She began acting at 17 with Twelfth Night, an Oxford PlayHouse production, being her first performance. Later, she 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.
Maggie Smith became highly recognized in the 1960’s mostly due to her role as Desdemona in Othello which also earned her an Oscar nomination for her performance in the film adaptation.
In the 1990’s, Maggie Smith appeared in the hit movie Hook, the comedy film – Sister Act (1992), The First Wives Club (1996), Richard III (1995) and Washington Square (1997). She became a household name following the international success of the Harry Potter movies thanks to her popular role as Professor Minerva McGonagall opposite Daniel Radcliffe. She starred in seven of the eight Harry Potter films from 2001 to 2011.
In 2014, her role in the British drama, Downtown Abbey, as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham earned her high praise as well as a Golden Globe Award, two Emmy Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Asides acting, Maggie Smith is involved in charity work. In July 2012, she was appointed a patron of the International Glaucoma Association to support the organization as well as raise awareness.
Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Actress
The English actress was first married to actor Robert Stephens on June 29, 1967, at Greenwich Register Office. The union produced two sons. Her first son, Chris Larkin, was born on the 19th of June, 1967; he also happens to be an actor. He chose ‘Larkin’ as his stage name because he was fond of the works of the English poet, Philip Larkin.
Maggie’s second son is Toby Stephens who was born on the 21st of April, 1969. Toby is also an actor.
Sadly, Maggie Smith and Sir Robert Stephens got divorced on April 6, 1975. Two months after the divorce, the actress got married to playwright Beverley Cross on the 23rd of June, 1975. They were together until Beverley’s death on the 20th of March, 1998. Since then, the actress has not been involved with anyone romantically – at least not to the public’s knowledge.
In 1988, Maggie Smith was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. For this reason, she underwent radiotherapy. By 2007, as reported by the Sunday Telegraph, she was diagnosed with breast cancer but was eventually reported to have made a full recovery.
In the 1970 New Year Honors of the Commonwealth Realms, Maggie Smith was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and in the 1990 New Year Honors, she was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the Britain Empire (DBE) for her contribution to the performing arts.
In 2014, during the Queen’s Birthday Honors, she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor (CH), making her the third actress to receive the honor. She has also received honorary awards from tertiary institutions such as the University of Cambridge, University of St. Andrews, British Film Institute, British Academy of Film and Television and many more.
The 83-year old actress, who has won numerous awards comprising of seven BAFTA Awards, three Emmy Awards, and a Tony Award, has an estimated net worth of $18 million.
Maggie Smith has elder identical twin brothers – Alistair and Ian Smith, who are six years older than she is. Both brothers wanted to become architects but in 1981, Alistair suffered a heart attack and died. Ian Smith went on to study architecture.
Dead or Alive
In 2017, an Internet rumor was spread, saying that the actress was dead, causing grief to fans across the world. A follow-up report was made confirming that it was a death hoax as the Dame is very much alive and well.