Given her extensive credits and impressive 60-year-plus career, it's safe to say that Dame Judi Dench is a national treasure. As well as having a thoroughly fascinating career in film, TV and theatre, the actor's ancestral history is seemingly just as interesting.
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The actress is set to appear in a brand new episode of BBC factual programme, Who Do You Think You Are? and, according to the synopsis, will discover some familial links to William Shakespeare. As a seasoned thespian and former member of the RSC, we're sure that Judi is thrilled to have The Bard apart of her history!
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The actress, 85, is a seven-time Academy Award nominee, winning the Oscar for her 1998 portrayal as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.
She has also won six BAFTAs, seven Olivier Awards and was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1988. To celebrate her impressive career, and her being back on our screens this week, we've taken a look back at her most iconic roles from over the years…
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Judi Dench's early career
Judi began her professional acting career in the late fifties, predominantly in Shakespearean theatre. She appeared in productions such as Hamlet, Measure for Measure and Macbeth across the country as well as across the pond in Broadway. The actress then came to prominence towards the end of the sixties, when she was nominated for her first BAFTA for Best Actress for her portrayal as Terry in Talking To Strangers.
Judi as Ophelia in Hamlet in 1957
Judi then continued to remain a staple part of the Royal Shakespeare Company while growing her success in other parts of theatre such as at the National Theatre, the Old Vic theatre and on Broadway. At this point, the actor was also beginning to star in more popular films such as the James Bond franchise, Shakespeare in Love and Tea with Mussolini.
Judi Dench's later career
In more recent years, Judi is known for her work in credits such as Notes on a Scandal, alongside Cate Blanchett, Nine, Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn and many more. She also continued to appear in the James Bond films, working with both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig up until her character, M, was killed in the 2012 film Skyfall. Judi has two films due out in 2020 including war film Blithe Spirit and drama film Six Minutes to Midnight.
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Judi with her partner, David
Judi Dench's family
In 1961, Judi Dench married actor Michael Williams and they remained together until his death in 2001. The pair had one daughter together, Finty Williams, through whom she also has a grandson. Almost ten years after the death of her first husband, the actress then began a relationship with her current partner David Mills. Speaking to the Times in 2014, she spoke of her new romance. "I wasn't even prepared to be ready for it. It was very, very gradual and grown up ... It's just wonderful."
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