She will be remembered as Professor McGonagall in “Harry Potter”—but the role was only one of many during Maggie Smith’s career. At 87, she can look back on her many successes.
Maggie Smith is one of the few actresses to have won all the major theater and film awards , And several times in fact: two Oscars, three Golden Globes, four Emmys, and a Tony Award. She is known for two roles: as Hogwarts’ deputy headmistress and as the Quidditch fan Professor McGonagall, supporting Harry Potter in the films. and as Lady Violet Crowley, widowed Countess of Grantham on the nostalgic series “Downton Abbey,” which brought her into living rooms around the world.
Smith does not think anything of his fame – until “Downton Abbey” he led a completely normal life. “No one knew who I was,” she described at the festival. “I went to the theater, visited the galleries, all by myself.” Smith is very secluded and hates interviews. “And now I can’t do that. And it’s terrible.”
Maggie Smith was born in Ilford, near London, in 1934, but the family soon moved to Oxford, where her father was offered a job at the university. Her Scottish mother worked as a secretary and for a long time advised her against becoming an actress. But Smith was already on stage at the Oxford Playhouse at age 17 as the viola in Shakespeare’s “Was Iher Volt”—the beginning of a successful stage career.
Maggie Smith: Here in London in 1962. (Source: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
In 1963 he supported Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the play “Hotel International”. Exactly two years later she was nominated for an Oscar when she played Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier’s Othello. Her best film of 1969 is “The Best Years of Miss Jean Brody”, for which she received an Oscar at the age of 35. The second Oscar in 1979 was due to his supporting role in the drama “The Crazy California Hotel”.
Smith also became a theater star
Also she shone on London’s West End and New York’s Broadway. In one of her rare interviews, she explained why she liked the stage for the film: “No two performances are exactly the same,” she told the Sunday Post. “If something goes wrong, you can look forward to fixing it in the next performance.”
She later went on to become unforgettable in blockbuster films such as Steven Spielberg’s Peter Pan version of “Hook”, “Sister Act” and “The Devil’s Club”. In the retired comedy “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel, she fired one sentence after another. With “The Lady in the Van” he once again demonstrated his great theatrical talent: a film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s friendship with a homeless man who lived in his van in his driveway for 15 years.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008; Chemotherapy left her severely weakened, but in the meantime she was making her sixth Harry Potter film. “You feel so sick. I grabbed the railing and thought: ‘I can’t do that.'”, she told the Telegraph and joked about her hair loss: “I had no problem putting on a wig . I was like a hard-boiled egg.”
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