In conversation with Maggie Smith: "I led a perfectly normal life until Downton Abbey" | BFI
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Dame Margaret Natalie "Maggie" Smith, DBE is an English actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. In 1990, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts. Smith began her career on stage at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952 and made her Broadway debut in New Faces of 56. For her work on the London stage, she has won a record five Best Actress Evening Standard Awards, for The Private Ear and The Public Eye, Hedda Gabler, Virginia, The Way of the World and Three Tall Women. In New York, she received three Tony Award nominations, for Private Lives, Night and Day and Lettice and Lovage. For the latter, she won the Tony for Best Actress in a Play. On screen, she first drew praise for the crime film Nowhere to Go, for which she received her first BAFTA Award nomination. Her 1965 film role as Desdemona, in William Shakespeare's Othello, earned her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. Since then Smith has worked consistently in film, television and stage, establishing herself as one of the most respected British actresses.