44 Facts About Eileen Atkins


Dame Eileen June Atkins, was born on 15 June 1934 and is an English actress and occasional screenwriter.


Eileen Atkins has worked in the theatre, film, and television consistently since 1953.


Eileen Atkins is a three-time Olivier Award winner, winning Best Supporting Performance in 1988 and Best Actress for The Unexpected Man and Honour.


Eileen Atkins was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.


Eileen Atkins co-created the television dramas Upstairs, Downstairs and The House of Elliot with Jean Marsh.


Eileen Atkins wrote the screenplay for the 1997 film Mrs Dalloway.


Eileen Atkins was born in the Mothers' Hospital in Lower Clapton, a Salvation Army maternity hospital in East London.


Eileen Atkins's mother, Annie Ellen, was a barmaid who was 46 when Eileen was born, and her father, Arthur Thomas Atkins, was a gas meter reader who was previously under-chauffeur to the Portuguese Ambassador.


Eileen Atkins was the third child in the family and when she was born the family moved to a council home in Tottenham.


Eileen Atkins's father did not, in fact, know how to drive and was responsible, as under-chauffeur, mainly for cleaning the car.


When Eileen Atkins was three, a Gypsy woman came to their door selling lucky heather and clothes pegs.


Eileen Atkins saw little Eileen and told her mother that her daughter would be a famous dancer.


Eileen Atkins's mother was appalled but speech lessons were too expensive for the family.


Eileen Atkins has since publicly credited the Principal, Miss Dorothy Margaret Hall, for the wise and firm guidance under which her character developed.


Eileen Atkins introduced her to the works of William Shakespeare.


Eileen Atkins was taken to see Atkins' production of King John at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.


Eileen Atkins wrote to him saying that the boy who played Prince Arthur was not good enough and that she could do better.


Eileen Atkins wrote back and asked that she come to see him.


Eileen Atkins gave a little prince speech and he told her to go to drama school and come back when she was older.


Eileen Atkins's parents were not at all keen on the fact that she would stay in school until 16 as her sister had left at 14 and her brother at 15 but somehow they were persuaded.


Eileen Atkins was, very briefly, an assistant stage manager at the Oxford Playhouse until Peter Hall fired her for impudence.


Eileen Atkins was part of repertory companies performing in Billy Butlin's holiday camp in Skegness, Lincolnshire.


Eileen Atkins joined the Guild Players Repertory Company in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, as a professional actress in 1952.


Eileen Atkins appeared as the nurse in Harvey at the Repertory Theatre, Bangor, in 1952.


Eileen Atkins has regularly returned to the life and work of Virginia Woolf for professional inspiration.


Eileen Atkins has played the writer on stage in Patrick Garland's adaptation of A Room of One's Own and in Vita and Virginia, winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show and an Obie Award for A Room of One's Own in which she played in the 1990 television version; she provided the screenplay for the 1997 film adaptation of Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway, and made a cameo appearance in the 2002 film version of Michael Cunningham's Woolf-themed novel, The Hours.


Eileen Atkins joined the Stratford Memorial Theatre Company in 1957 and stayed for two seasons.


Eileen Atkins appeared as Maggie Clayhanger in all six episodes of Arnold Bennett's Hilda Lessways from 15 May to 19 June 1959, produced by BBC Midlands with Judi Dench and Brian Smith.


Marsh played maid Rose for the duration of the series but Eileen Atkins was unable to accept a part because of stage commitments.


In 2009 Eileen Atkins played the evil Nurse Edwina Kenchington in the BBC Two black comedy Psychoville.


Eileen Atkins replaced Vanessa Redgrave as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the blockbuster movie Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, which was released in the UK in May 2010.


Marsh again played Rose while Eileen Atkins was cast as the redoubtable Maud, Lady Holland.


In September 2011, Eileen Atkins joined the cast of ITV comedy-drama series Doc Martin playing the title character's aunt, Ruth Ellingham.


Eileen Atkins returned as Aunt Ruth for the show's sixth series in September 2013, the seventh in September 2015 and eighth in September 2017.


Eileen Atkins starred as Lady Spence with Matthew Rhys in an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's The Scapegoat, shown in September 2012.


Eileen Atkins has portrayed Queen Mary on two occasions, in the 2002 television film Bertie and Elizabeth and in the 2016 Netflix-produced television series The Crown.


Eileen Atkins portrayed graduate school professor Evelyn Ashford to Vivian Bearing in Wit, a 2001 American television movie directed by Mike Nichols.


Eileen Atkins had a guest role in BBC Radio 4's long-running rural soap The Archers in September 2016, playing Jacqui, the juror who persuades her fellow jurors to acquit Helen Titchener of the charge of attempted murder and wounding with intent of her abusive husband, Rob.


Eileen Atkins was married to actor Julian Glover in 1957; they divorced in 1966.


In 1995, Eileen Atkins was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated for the condition.


Eileen Atkins read an abridged version on BBC Radio 4.


Eileen Atkins was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990.


Eileen Atkins was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on her 67th birthday, 16 June 2001.


Eileen Atkins is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame; she was inducted in 1998.