Judi Dench is an English actress, artist and author. Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company.
Over the following few years, she performed in several of Shakespeare’s plays, in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.
Although most of her work during this period was in theatre, she also branched into film work and won a BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer. She drew rave reviews for her leading role in the musical Cabaret in 1968.
Over the next two decades, Dench established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
She received critical acclaim for her work on television during this period, in the series A Fine Romance (1981–1984) and As Time Goes By (1992–2005), in both of which she held starring roles.
Her film appearances were infrequent, and included supporting roles in major films, such as A Room with a View (1986), before she rose to international fame as M in GoldenEye (1995), a role she continued to play in James Bond films until Skyfall (2012).
A seven-time Academy Award nominee, Dench won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998); her other Oscar-nominated roles were in Mrs Brown (1997), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2013).
She has also received many other accolades for her acting in theatre, film, and television; her other competitive awards include six British Academy Film Awards, four BAFTA TV Awards, seven Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Tony Award.
She has also received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2001, and the Special Olivier Award in 2004. In June 2011, she received a fellowship from the British Film Institute (BFI). Dench is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
- Full name: Dame Judith Olivia Dench CH DBE FRSA
- Profession: British actress
- Born: 9 December 1934 (age 85 years), Heworth, York
- Spouse: Michael Williams (m. 1971–2001)
- TV shows: As Time Goes By, A Fine Romance, Cranford
- Upcoming movies: Artemis Fowl, Blithe Spirit, Six Minutes to Midnight
- Children: Finty Williams
About Judi Dench
Dench was born in Heworth, York. Her mother, Eleanora Olive (née Jones), was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her father, Reginald Arthur Dench (1897-1964), a doctor, was born in Dorset, England, and later moved to Dublin, where he was brought up. He met Dench’s mother while he was studying medicine at Trinity College, Dublin.
Dench attended the Mount School, a Quaker independent secondary school in York, and became a Quaker.
Her brothers, one of whom was actor Jeffery Dench, were born in Tyldesley, Lancashire. Her niece, Emma Dench, is a historian of ancient Rome.
In Britain, Dench has developed a reputation as one of the greatest actresses of the post-war period, primarily through her work in theatre, which has been her forte throughout her career.
She has more than once been named number one in polls for Britain’s best actor.