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Judi Dench celebrates turning 80

December 9, 2014
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Happy birthday, Judi Dench! As the Philomena actress celebrates turning 80, HELLO! Online takes a look at what the stars have in store for Judi, and you…This is what Judi, who is a Sagittarius, can be expecting today:When people are reluctant to discuss 'an elephant in the room', we must wonder why. Might it simply be because if it were acknowledged, it would lead to questions like, how did that elephant get into the room in the first place? How did it pass through the door? And if it came in long ago, as a tiny baby elephant, and has been growing ever since, how can anyone ever hope to get it back out again? Or perhaps the room has a very large pair of French windows. The solution to a problem may not be as obtuse as you fear.

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Dame Judi Dench is a seven-time Oscar nominee

Dame Judi Dench had a somewhat less-than-auspicious beginning in theatre. At her Quaker junior school in York, the celebrated actress appeared in Four And Twenty Tailors Went To Kill A Snail, in the title role as the snail. Oh, if the tailors could see her now. Judith Olivia Dench was born on December 9, 1934, in North Yorkshire, England. After attending Mount School in York she went on to study at the Central School Of Speech And Drama. She was discovered, aged 22, at the famed Old Vic theatre playing a tortured Ophelia in Hamlet. She later undertook a string of legendary roles including Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest and Lady Macbeth in the Shakespeare classic. In the course of her career she has appeared in over 80 plays worldwide and enjoyed success in genres ranging from the TV sitcom notably in A Fine Romance to Hollywood blockbusters, including the James Bond franchise. She played the super spy's boss M, becoming the first female actress ever to play the role. She often shared the screen with her late husband Michael Williams, whom she met in the Sixties when they were both promising young talents in the Royal Shakespeare Company. It wasn't, however, until nearly a decade later that romance blossomed between the pair.

judi © Photo: Getty Images

The actress is well known for her role in the James Bond franchise, in which she plays James

When Judi left for a six-week tour of Australia, Michael followed and finally proposed. "Ask me on a rainy night in Battersea, and I'll think about it," she replied. And that's exactly what he did. The two were married in 1971 and enjoyed a unique partnership until he succumbed to cancer in January 2001. Their love was something out of the theatre; he sent her a single red rose every Friday, no matter where she was in the world and losing him proved particularly difficult. Just months after Michael's death she put on a brave face for the 2001 Academy Awards where she was nominated for the movie Chocolat. And despite not taking home the gong said: "The best thing about the Academy Awards is being nominated. The terrible thing is that somebody's got to win." Judi has been nominated seven times in total. She took home the gold in 1997 for her role in Shakespeare in Love.

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