Celebrities in Classics – Maggie Smith

maggieFor Naomi

You may know her as the snarky, yet loveable Dowager Countess Violet Crawley on Downton Abbey, but eighty year-old Dame Maggie Smith has been acting and knocking our socks off for over sixty years. She has been in countless movies, TV shows and theatre productions, including book adaptations of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, A Room With a View and the Harry Potter series.

Talented with hard to ignore gravitas, Maggie has mesmerized us throughout the years with her ability to portray a wide range of characters whether innocent or fierce, wise or maternal. She commands our respect just by showing up and has a habit of turning a brief appearance into the most memorable part of a movie.

I’m not entirely sure, but I probably first saw Maggie in Clash of the Titans when she played the sea goddess, Thetis, way back in the `80s.


1965 – Othello ~ Desdemona
1969 – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ~ Jean Brodie
1972 – Travels with My Aunt ~ Aunt Augusta Bertram
1978 – Death on the Nile ~ Miss Bowers
1981 – Quartet ~ Lois Heidler
1982 – Evil Under the Sun ~ Daphne Castle
1985 – A Room with a View ~ Charlotte Bartlett
1987 – The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne ~ Judith Hearne
1991 – Hook ~ Wendy Darling
1993 – The Secret Garden ~ Mrs. Medlock
1995 – Richard III ~ Duchess of York
1996 – The First Wives Club ~ Gunilla Garson Goldberg
1997 – Washington Square ~ Aunt Lavinia Penniman
1999 – The Last September ~ Lady Myra Naylor
2001 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Socerer’s Stone ~ Minerva McGonagall
2002 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ~ Minerva McGonagall
2002 – Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood ~ Caro Eliza Bennett
2004 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ~ Minerva McGonagall
2005 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ~ Minerva McGonagall
2007 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ~ Minerva McGonagall
2009 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ~ Minerva McGonagall
2009 – From Time to Time ~ Linnet Oldknow
2010 – Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang/Nanny McPhee Returns ~ Mrs. Agatha Docherty
2011 – Gnomeo & Juliet ~ Lady Bluebury
2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 ~ Minerva McGonagall
2012 – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ~ Muriel Donnelly
2012 – Quartet ~ Jean Horton

See all of Maggie’s filmography on Wikipedia.

“People say it gets better but it doesn’t. It just gets different, that’s all.”

Actors Chris Larkin (Master and Commander) and Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre) are Maggie’s sons.

Do you love Maggie Smith? What are your favourite characters she has played?



20 comments on “Celebrities in Classics – Maggie Smith

  1. janceewright
    May 5, 2015

    She’s one of my favorite Harry Potter characters! I also like her in Downton, but I’ve only seen the first season.


    • ebookclassics
      May 6, 2015

      Maggie kills it in Downton Abbey. It will probably be her most memorable role, I think.


  2. I think Maggie Smith is terrific! A Room with a View is one of my favorite movies. And how many actors can say that they were in two completely different films with the same title? That’s longevity.


    • ebookclassics
      May 6, 2015

      I agree it’s a pretty amazing career when it circles around like that.


  3. Brian Joseph
    May 6, 2015

    I did not realize that Dame Maggie Smith played the title character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. What a long and distinguished carrier she has had.


    • ebookclassics
      May 6, 2015

      She’s a great actress. I would like to watch her in The prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but I think I should read the book first.


  4. Naomi
    May 6, 2015

    I have not seen everything she’s in. Most recently, of course, it’s been Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. But, in both of those, her character always makes me laugh. She has the best lines (or she’s just so great at delivering them)!
    I had no idea that Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin were her sons. I just wasted 15 minutes of my life googling the whole family. 🙂
    I also like her quote!


    • ebookclassics
      May 6, 2015

      She really does know how to deliver those lines! I have crushed on Toby Stephens forever and had no idea he was her son until I was researching this post. I admire Maggie Smith so much. Thank you for suggesting I feature her!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Naomi
        May 6, 2015

        I know! I wanted to run and watch Jane Eyre immediately.
        That was fun! I will try to think of someone else for you (but don’t hold your breath). 🙂


  5. jessicabookworm
    May 6, 2015

    I love Maggie Smith, her snarky comments are what make Downton Abbey for me. My first and favourite adaptation she’s in is The Secret Garden.


  6. brynhottman
    May 6, 2015

    I love Maggie Smith!! My favorite is Hook but that’s because I watched that movie a million times growing up 🙂


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This entry was posted on May 5, 2015 by in Celebrities in Classics and tagged , .

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