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MAGGIE SMITH (Mrs. Docherty) graduated from comedy and revue to major tragic roles, to become one of our greatest actresses. She made her first appearance on stage with the Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS) in 1952, but her professional debut was as a comedienne in New York in New Faces of 1956 revue. She joined the Old Vic Company in 1959, appearing in As You Like It, Richard III, The Merry Wives of Windsor and What Every Woman Knows. She played Daisy in Rhinoceros at The Strand in 1960 and received the Evening Standard Best Actress Award of 1962 for her roles as Doreen in The Private Ear and Belinda in The Public Eye, at the Globe Theatre.

In 1963, she joined the National Theatre and was seen at Chichester playing Desdemona, opposite Laurence Olivier in Othello. In 1965, she played Clea in Black Comedy and the title part in Miss Julie, for the National—the double bill transferred to Chichester where, in 1969, she was also seen as Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife. In 1970, she played Mrs. Sullen in The Beaux' Stratagem at the National (having already appeared in the part with the National Theatre Company in Los Angeles) and the title role in Hedda Gabler. In 1976, she received her second Variety Club's Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Millamant in The Way of the World at Stratford in Ontario.

Smith is undoubtedly best known for her fine portrayal of Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which gained her an Oscar® in 1969 and the Society of Film and TV Arts Best Actress Award in 1970. A second Oscar® followed in 1978 for her part in Neil Simon's California Suite (1978). In the theater, she was seen in Night and Day in London and on Broadway (1979/1980), followed by Much Ado About Nothing (directed by Robin Phillips), in which she played Beatrice at the Stratford in Ontario, and Madam Arkadina in The Seagull in 1980. She also played the title role in the world premiere of Edna O'Brien's Virginia, repeating her success in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, again directed by Robin Phillips, for which she received another Evening Standard Award Best Actress Award.

In 1983, she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress for her performance in the title role of Granada TV's play Mrs. Silly. She appeared in Alan Bennett's A Private Function, in which she co-starred with Michael Palin.

In 1985, Smith played a leading role in Merchant Ivory's production of A Room With a View. She also appeared with Edward Fox in Interpreters at The Queen's Theatre. The following year, she played Jocasta in Cocteau's The Infernal Machine at the Lyric Hammersmith.

In 1987, she appeared in Coming in to Land at the National Theatre and filmed The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne for Handmade Films. Smith also appeared in Lettice and Lovage at the Globe Theatre, which transferred to Broadway.

In January 1991, Smith appeared in Hook, for Tri- Star, and Sister Act, for Disney. In November 1991, she starred in Memento Mori for the BBC. Early in 1992, she starred in the BBC's Suddenly, Last Summer and, later that year, performed in Warner Bros.' The Secret Garden.

In 1993, after completing a West End run playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Smith went straight into filming Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit for Disney, and then starred in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End, followed by the role of the Duchess of York in Richard III, directed by Richard Loncraine and starring Ian McKellen. In 1996, she appeared in the film The First Wives Club, for Paramount Pictures, and Washington Square, for Disney. She also performed in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads at the Comedy Theatre in London and on tour in Australia.

Smith's most recent films include the Harry Potter films in the role of Minerva McGonagall; Robert Altman's Oscar®-winning Gosford Park; the telefilm My House in Umbria, for which she won an Emmy; Julian Fellowes' From Time to Time; and Niall Johnson's Keeping Mum.

The Queen's 1970 New Year's Honours List named Smith a Companion of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), followed by a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1990. Smith was awarded the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize in 1991, is a fellow of the British Film Institute, was awarded a BAFTA Special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993 and an Olivier Special Achievement Award in 2010, is an Hon. D.Litt. of Cambridge University and The University of St Andrews and is a patron of the Jane Austen Society.

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