Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Judi Dench - Biography

Dame Judi Dench is one of Britain's greatest actors of all time 

Judi Dench attends the "Allelujah" European Premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at Southbank Centre on October 09, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Updated: 11 July 2023
Share this:

Dame Judi Dench is one of the iconic British actresses of all time. Find out all you need to know about the award-winning actress here...

What is Judi Dench's maiden name? 

Dame Judi was born Judith Olivia Dench 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. 

What films has Judi Dench been in?

In the course of her career she has appeared in over 80 plays worldwide and enjoyed success in all mediums but is perhaps best known to many for her films role which were infrequent until she rose to international fame as M in GoldenEye (1995), a role she continued to play in eight James Bond films, until her final cameo appearance in Spectre (2015).

An eight-time Academy Award nominee, Judi won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's Shakespeare in Love; she was also nomnated for her work in Mrs Brown (1997), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006), Philomena (2013) and Belfast (2021). 

Does Judi Dench have an EGOT?

EGOT stands for Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar and Tony, and only 18 people have competiviely won all four, giving them EGOT status.

Judi does not have an EGOT - she has an Oscar, two Golden Globes (for Mrs Brown and The Last of the Blonde Bombshells), and a Tony for the 1999 play Amy's View.

She has been nominated four times for an Emmy but has never won.

Who was Judi Dench's husband?

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. 

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 died after a batt;e with lung 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. In 2022, 21 years later, during an interview with Louis Theroux Judi revealed that she was still grieving.

What actress has macular degeneration? 

Judi revealed in 2012 that she had been diagnosed with macular degeneration, which can result in blurred or no vision. She shared that she had been receiving treatment but that she could no longer read scripts

How many movies did Judi Dench play M? 

Jdudi was the first woman cast to play M, the head of MI6 and Bond's superior. She played the role in eight films, four with Pierce Brosnan (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day) and four with Daniel Craig (Casino Royale ,Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre).

Who replaced Judi Dench as M?

Ralph Fiennes joined the cast as M, Judi's successor, in Spectre. Judi made a final appearance as the character posthumously to give Bond his final mission.

More Profiles

See more