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Imelda Staunton - Biography

The Crown and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix star was born in 1956

Imelda Staunton smiling on the BAFTA red carpet
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
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Early life

Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton was born 9 January 1956, and grew up in one of the many working-class Irish immigrant families which had settled in London's Archway district, close to where her BAFTA award-winning role in the series Vera Drake was set. She was the only child of her mother Bridie who worked as a hairdresser and her labourer father Joe. 

Career beginnings

Imelda's rich imagination, love of song and admiration for classic screen idols Bette Davis and Vivien Leigh inspired her to become actress. She was encouraged in her goal by the elocution teacher at her convent school who spotted her blooming talent and encouraged her to take a stab at drama college. At age 18 she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), plunging into six years of repertory theatre upon graduation. 

Stage and screen success

Breakout roles followed in plays such as the National Theatre's The Beggar's Opera (for which she received her first Olivier nominations), Guys and Dolls revivals and The Corn is Green - for which she won her first Olivier award. On screen, Imelda's first roles came in shows such as Citizen X, Midsomer Murders and Cranford. She later won acclaim for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix's The Crown. On film, Imelda has also seen huge success, taking leading roles in hits such as Vera Drake, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Pride.

Personal life

In 1982, Imelda's hilarious show-stopping portrayal of Miss Adelaide in Frank Loesser's chorus-line classic Guys And Dolls brought her critical acclaim plus romance. She and fellow star Jim Carter became an item and married one year later. Their daughter, Bessie, was born in 1993, and they've remained together ever since. 

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