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Dame JUDI DENCH plays Armande, the aging libertine who makes a last stand for freedom on her birthday. Dench is one of the world's leading and most versatile actresses — and recently was awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth in John Madden's "Shakespeare In Love." The lauded role also brought her the BAFTA. National Soc ietv of Film Critics Awards and nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes. In her previous collaboration with Madden. Dench starred as Queen Victoria in "Mrs. Brown." winning an Academy Nomination for Best Actress and a cluster of other awards. including the Golden Globe and a BAFTA award among many others.

Her other film credits include the role of M in the recent Bond films — "The World Is Not Enough," "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "Golden Eye," as well as Franco Zefferelli's "Tea With Mussolini." Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" and "Henry V." Tim Sullivan's "Jack and Sarah," Charles Sturridge's "A Handful of Dust." David Jones's "84 Charing Cross Road" and James Ivory's "A Room With A View."

Judi Dench's career in the theatre spans more than 40 years. Most recently, she appeared on Broadway' and at the National Theatre in Richard Eyre's production of "Amy's View," for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress and the Critics Circle Award. Other recent credits include Sir Peter Hall's "Filumena" for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award; "A Little Night Music" for which she won the Oliver for Best Actress in a Musical; Anthony Page's "Absolute Hell." garnering another Olivier: and John Caird's "The Seagull."

Over the years, she has played most of the great Shakespearean roles - Juliet, Beatrice. Lady Macbeth, Isabella. Titania, Viola, Portia and Cleopatra - and a wide variety of other classical and contemporary plays including the title roles in "The Duchess of Malfi," "St Joan" and "Mother Courage," Anya in "The Three Sisters," Sally Bowles in "Cabaret," Juno in "Juno and the Paycock" and Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Ernest."

Her numerous television roles include the BBC's hugely popular comedy series "As Time Goes By." She has also appeared in BBC productions of "The Browning Version," "Smiley's People." "The Cherry Orchard," as well as the series "A Fine Romance" with her husband Michael Williams. Recently, she starred with Leslie Caron, Olympia Dukakis and Sir Ian Holm in HBO's "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells." Over the years she has won dozens of awards for her work in theatre, film and television and she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1988.

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