100 Facts About Judi Dench


Dame Judith Olivia Dench was born on 9 December 1934 and is an English actress.


Judi Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company.


Judi Dench received critical acclaim for her work on television during this period, in the series A Fine Romance and As Time Goes By, in both of which she held starring roles.


An eight-time Academy Award nominee, Judi Dench won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love ; her other Oscar-nominated roles were for Mrs Brown, Chocolat, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal, Philomena and Belfast.


Judi Dench is the recipient of several honorary awards, including the BAFTA Fellowship Award, the Society of London Theatre Special Award and the British Film Institute Fellowship Award.


Judith Olivia Dench was born in the Heworth area of York on 9 December 1934, the daughter of an Irish mother and English father.


Judi Dench's parents met while studying at Trinity College Dublin.


Judi Dench attended the Mount School, a Quaker independent secondary school in York, and became a Quaker.


Judi Dench had two elder brothers named Peter and Jeffery, the latter of whom became an actor.


Judi Dench is a cousin of Greek-Australian actors Rebekah Elmaloglou and Sebastian Elmaloglou.


Judi Dench's niece, Emma Dench, is a historian of ancient Rome.


Judi Dench was inspired by seeing Peggy Ashcroft play Cleopatra on stage, which she later said "changed my life".


Judi Dench applied and was accepted by the Central School, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London, where she was a classmate of Vanessa Redgrave, graduating and being awarded four acting prizes, including the Gold Medal as Outstanding Student.


Judi Dench made her first professional stage appearance in September 1957 with the Old Vic Company at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, as Ophelia in Hamlet.


Judi Dench then made her London debut in the same production at the Old Vic.


Judi Dench joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in December 1961, playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard at the Aldwych Theatre in London and made her Stratford-upon-Avon debut in April 1962 as Isabella in Measure for Measure.


Judi Dench subsequently spent seasons in repertory both with the Playhouse in Nottingham from January 1963, and with the Playhouse Company in Oxford from April 1964.


In 1964, Judi Dench appeared on television as Valentine Wannop in Theatre 625's adaptation of Parade's End, shown in three episodes, and played a juvenile trouble maker in an episode of the police series Z-Cars.


Judi Dench performed again in Theatre 625 in 1966, as Terry in the four-part series Talking to a Stranger, for which she won a BAFTA for Best Actress.


Judi Dench had never done a musical and she has an unusual croaky voice which sounds as if she has a permanent cold.


Judi Dench was nominated for a BAFTA for her role as Hazel Wiles in the 1979 BBC drama On Giant's Shoulders.


Judi Dench had a romantic role in the BBC television film Langrishe, Go Down, with Jeremy Irons and a screenplay by Harold Pinter from the Aidan Higgins novel, directed by David Jones, in which she played one of three spinster sisters living in a fading Irish mansion in the Waterford countryside.


Judi Dench made her debut as a director in 1988 with the Renaissance Theatre Company's touring season, Renaissance Shakespeare on the Road, co-produced with the Birmingham Rep, and ending with a three-month repertory programme at the Phoenix Theatre in London.


Judi Dench's contribution was a staging of Much Ado About Nothing, set in the Napoleonic era, which starred Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as Benedick and Beatrice.


Judi Dench has made numerous appearances in the West End including the role of Miss Trant in the 1974 musical The Good Companions at Her Majesty's Theatre.


In 1981, Judi Dench was due to play Grizabella in the original production of Cats, but was forced to pull out due to a torn Achilles tendon, leaving Elaine Paige to play the role.


From 1981 to 1984, Judi Dench starred in Britain's BAFTA award-winning A Fine Romance with her husband Michael Williams.


In 1987, Judi Dench played a supporting role in Columbia Pictures film 84 Charing Cross Road, with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.


Judi Dench acted with the National Theatre in London where she played Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra.


The character was reportedly modeled on Dame Stella Rimington, the real-life head of MI5 between 1992 and 1996; Judi Dench became the first woman to portray M, succeeding Robert Brown.


Judi Dench starred in BBC1's As Time Goes By, a romantic comedy.


In 1997, Judi Dench appeared in her first starring film role as Queen Victoria in John Madden's teleplay Mrs Brown, which depicts Victoria's relationship with her personal servant and favourite John Brown, played by Billy Connolly.


In 2011, while accepting a British Film Institute Award in London, Judi Dench commented that the project launched her Hollywood career and joked that "it was thanks to Harvey, whose name I have had tattooed on my bum".


Also in 1999, Judi Dench won the Tony Award for her 1999 Broadway performance in the role of Esme Allen in Sir David Hare's Amy's View.


Judi Dench shared her role with Kate Winslet, both actresses portraying Murdoch at different phases of her life.


Judi Dench received BAFTA and SAG Award nominations for her performance.


In 2002, Judi Dench was cast opposite Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, and Reese Witherspoon in Oliver Parker's The Importance of Being Earnest, a comedy about mistaken identity set in English high society during the Victorian Era.


In 2004, Dench appeared as Aereon, an ambassador of the Elemental race who helps uncover the mysterious past of Richard B Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, in David Twohy's science fiction sequel The Chronicles of Riddick.


Judi Dench followed Riddick with a more traditional role in Charles Dance's English drama Ladies in Lavender, starring friend Maggie Smith.


Also in 2004, Judi Dench provided her voice for several smaller projects.


Also in April 2006, Judi Dench returned to the West End stage in Hay Fever alongside Peter Bowles, Kim Medcalf and Belinda Lang.


Judi Dench finished off 2006 with the role of Mistress Quickly in the RSC's new musical The Merry Wives, a version of The Merry Wives of Windsor.


Judi Dench appeared opposite Cate Blanchett as a London teacher with a dedicated fondness for vulnerable women in Richard Eyre's 2006 drama film Notes on a Scandal, an adaption from the 2003 novel of the same name by Zoe Heller.


That same year, Judi Dench narrated "Go Inside to Greet the Light," a film about the spiritual experience of Quaker meetings for worship in James Turrell's Deershelter Skyspace.


Judi Dench became the voice for the narration for the updated Walt Disney World Epcot attraction Spaceship Earth in February 2008.


Judi Dench returned to the West End in mid-2009, playing Madame de Montreuil in Yukio Mishima's play Madame de Sade, directed by Michael Grandage as part of the Donmar season at Wyndham's Theatre.


Also in 2009, Judi Dench reprised the role of Matilda Jenkyns in Return to Cranford, the two-part second season of a Simon Curtis television series.


Critically acclaimed, Judi Dench was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and a Satellite Award.


In July 2010, Judi Dench performed "Send in the Clowns" at a special celebratory promenade concert from the Royal Albert Hall as part of the proms season, in honour of composer Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday.


In 2011, Dench starred in Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn and J Edgar.


In Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, which depicts the making of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench played actress Sybil Thorndike.


Hand-picked by Eastwood to play Anna Marie Hoover, Hoover's mother, Judi Dench initially thought a friend was setting her up upon receiving Eastwood's phone call request.


Judi Dench made a second cameo that year in Ray Cooney's Run for Your Wife.


In 2011, Judi Dench reunited with director John Madden on the set of the comedy drama The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring an ensemble cast consisting of Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Penelope Wilton, as a group of British pensioners moving to a retirement hotel in India, run by the young and eager Sonny.


Also in 2012, Friend Request Pending, an indie short film which Judi Dench had filmed in 2011, received a wide release as part of the feature films Stars in Shorts, "Camden Clog dancing Nelson Mills" by Pat Tracey, and The Joy of Six.


Judi Dench made her seventh and final appearance as M in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes.


In 2013, Judi Dench starred as the title character in the Stephen Frears-directed film Philomena, which was inspired by true events of a woman looking for the son which the Catholic Church took from her a half-century before.


From April to May 2015, Judi Dench played a mother, with her real-life daughter Finty Williams playing her character's daughter, in The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse.


Judi Dench reprised her role as M in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, in the form of a recording that was delivered to Bond.


In 2016, Judi Dench made Olivier Award history when she won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Paulina in The Winter's Tale, breaking her own record with her eighth win as a performer.


Judi Dench played Miss Esmeralda Avocet, a headmistress who can manipulate time and can transform into a bird.


In September 2017, the website LADBible posted a video of Judi Dench rapping with UK Grime MC Lethal Bizzle.


Judi Dench portrayed Princess Dragomiroff opposite Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Penelope Cruz.


Judi Dench was cast as the elder version of titular character Joan Elizabeth Stanley in Trevor Nunn's spy drama film Red Joan.


In May 2020, Judi Dench became the oldest British person to be featured on the cover of British Vogue.


In 2020, Judi Dench reteamed with Kenneth Branagh in his science fantasy adventure film Artemis Fowl, based on the first novel in the same-titled series by Eoin Colfer.


Judi Dench appeared as a headmistress alongside Eddie Izzard, Carla Juri, and James D'Arcy in Andy Goddard's war drama film Six Minutes to Midnight about a discovery at a school for the daughters of the Nazi elite that leads to a series of deadly events.


In 2021, Judi Dench had a brief role in Jules Williamson's comedy drama Off the Rails, starring Kelly Preston, Jenny Seagrove, and Sally Phillips, about three friends in their 50s who embark on a European train adventure to celebrate the life of their recently deceased friend.


In October 2021, it was announced that Judi Dench would be joining the cast of Allelujah, a film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play of the same name directed by Richard Eyre, which will star Jennifer Saunders, Russell Tovey, David Bradley, and Derek Jacobi.


In November 2022, the BBC aired Louis Theroux Interviews: Dame Judi Dench featuring Dench and documentarian Louis Theroux.


In March 2013, Judi Dench was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by The Guardian.


One of the highest-profile actresses in British popular culture, Judi Dench appeared on Debrett's 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK.


Judi Dench married actor Michael Williams in 1971; they remained together until his death from lung cancer in 2001.


Judi Dench has been in a relationship with David Mills, a conservationist, since 2010.


In early 2012, Judi Dench discussed her macular degeneration, with one eye "dry" and the other "wet", for which she has been treated with injections into the eye.


Judi Dench said that she needs someone to read scripts to her.


Judi Dench underwent knee surgery in 2013, but recovered from the procedure well and stated that her knee was no longer an issue.


Judi Dench has worked with the non-governmental indigenous organisation Survival International, campaigning in the defence of the San people of Botswana and the Arhuaco people of Colombia.


Judi Dench made a supporting video saying the San are victims of tyranny, greed, and racism.


Judi Dench is a patron of the Karuna Trust, a charity that supports work amongst some of India's poorest and most oppressed people, mainly, though not exclusively, Dalits.


On 22 July 2010, Judi Dench was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Nottingham Trent University.


The Dr Hadwen Trust announced on 15 January 2011 that Judi Dench had become a patron of the trust, joining, among others, Joanna Lumley and David Shepherd.


On 19 March 2012, it was announced that Judi Dench was to become honorary patron of Everton in the Community, the charity branch of Liverpool-based football team Everton, of which she is a long-time supporter.


Judi Dench is a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.


Judi Dench is a patron of Shakespeare North, a playhouse project due to be completed in 2022 in the town of Prescot near Liverpool.


Judi Dench is patron of East Park Riding for the Disabled, a riding school for disabled children at Newchapel, Surrey.


Judi Dench is a vice-president of national charity Revitalise, that provides accessible holidays for those with disabilities.


In 2014, Judi Dench was one of 200 celebrities to sign an open letter to the people of Scotland asking them to vote to remain part of the UK in that year's referendum.


Judi Dench furthermore argued the show should add a disclaimer warning to remind viewers that it is a fictional drama.


Judi Dench is the Patron and President of the alumni foundation of Drama Studio London, a Patron of the British Shakespeare Association, and a vice-president of wildlife conservation NGO Fauna and Flora International.


Judi Dench has participated multiple times in the Explorers against Extinction wildlife conservation fundraiser Sketch For Survival, in which celebrity artists join prominent wildlife artists in sketching wildlife as well as they can in 26 minutes, and the results are auctioned off.


Judi Dench became president of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London in 2006, taking over from Sir John Mills.


Judi Dench has been president of Questors Theatre, Ealing, since 1985, where the main auditorium is known as The Judi Dench Playhouse, being the only theatre to bear her name.


Judi Dench was patron of Ovingdean Hall School, a special day and boarding school for the deaf and hard of hearing in Brighton, which closed in 2010, and Vice President of The Little Foundation.


Dame Judi Dench is a long-standing and active Vice President of the national disabled people's charity Revitalise.


Judi Dench has received five Best Actress nominations, and three Best Supporting Actress nominations.


Judi Dench has earned six British Academy Film Awards, four British Academy Television Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Tony Award, and seven Laurence Olivier Awards.


Judi Dench was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1970 Birthday Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1988 New Year Honours.


Judi Dench was appointed Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 2005 Birthday Honours.


Judi Dench has earned a variety of Scholastic, Commonwealth, and Honorary awards titles, and degrees.