JUDI DENCH Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Born in York, England, on December 9, 1934, Dench made her stage debut as a snail in a junior school production. After attending art school, she studied acting at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. In 1957, she made her professional stage debut as Ophelia in the Old Vic’s Liverpool production of Hamlet. A prolific stage career followed, with seasons spent performing with the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.


Dench broke into film in 1964 with a supporting role in The Third Secret. The following year, she won her first BAFTA, a Most Promising Newcomer honor for her work in Four in the Morning. Although she continued to work in film, Dench earned most of her recognition for her stage work, occasionally bringing her stage roles to the screen in adaptations like A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968) and Macbeth (1978). In the mid-1980s Dench began to make her name with international film audiences. In 1986, her turn as a meddlesome romance author in A Room with a View, earned her a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA. Two years later, she won the same award for her work in another period drama, A Handful of Dust. After her supporting role as Mistress Quickly in Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 adaptation of Henry V, Dench exchanged the past for the present with her thoroughly modern role as M in GoldenEye (1995), the first of the Pierce Brosnan series of James Bond films. She has reprised the character - traditionally a male role twice since.


In 1997 she earned an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown. The following year, Dench did win the Oscar, garnering Best Supporting Actress honors for her astonishing eight-minute appearance as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love. There would be another Oscar nomination for her role as the tetchy oldster seeking reconciliation in Chocolat (2000). For her role as a talented British writer struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease in Iris (2001), Dench earned her fourth Oscar nomination. After this came The Shipping News, where Dench played the aunt of a troubled Kevin Spacey.