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Dame Judi Dench is an Academy Award-winning British actress. She won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love.
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Dame Judi Dench was born on December 9th, 1934 in York, Yorkshire, England. She made her stage debut in 1957 as Ophelia in Hamlet. She also performed in musical roles, starring in the London premiere of Cabaret in 1968. She won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Currently she is portraying James Bond's boss M in the Bond film series.
Actress Judith Olivia Dench was born on December 9, 1934, in North Yorkshire, England, to parents Reginald, a doctor, and his wife Eleanora Dench. From an early age Dench received considerable exposure to the world of acting. Dench's father was the resident doctor for the Theatre Royal in York and it wasn't uncommon for her to tag along with him during his visits there.
Even as a young girl, Dench showed a passion for performance. She loved to dress up, and with her mother at the piano, she would sing alongside her. Her first foray on to the stage came with the York Mystery Plays, where Eleanora helped out with the wardrobes and her father did some acting himself.
Dench attended an all girls Quaker school, then followed that up with a brief stop at the York School of Art before changing course and heading off to London's Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. The decision, Dench would later say, could be blamed on her brother Jeffrey, another aspiring actor who also attended the school and pushed his sister to pursue stage work. "I'd never have thought of acting if it wasn't for Jeff," she has said.
Dench's innate talent, and versatility, though, were hard to ignore. She made her stage debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Production Company at the Royal Court, turning heads, as Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Dench continued work with the Old Vic for another four years.
In 1961 Dench joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, the start of a 30-year run with that playhouse that would see Dench take on every leading female Shakespeare role.
But Dench wasn't just content with Shakespeare or drama. In 1959 she made her television debut in the BBC series Hilda Lessways. She stretched herself even more by taking on comedic work, including stage productions of Oscar Wilde. In 1968 she had a starring role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
The 1960s brought Dench to the big screen as well. Her performance as a young wife in Four in the Morning (1965) earned Dench the first of her ten British Academy of Film and Television awards. Other strong performances in additional British movies followed. Coupled with her continued stage work Dench's name only grew in stature in her native England.
But gaining a foothold with American audiences was another matter. Her early play work had brought to the States, but Dench was hardly a household name. It wasn't until the 1990s, most notably as a result of her role as M, James Bond's boss in GoldenEye (1995) that changed everything for her. Dench has continued to reprise the role with each new Bond film, including the 2012 release, Skyfall.
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