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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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In 1997 she further endeared herself to movie audiences in her first leading role as Queen Victoria in the biopic Mrs. Brown. But it was another royal performance, this time as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998) that proved Oscar worthy. Despite an on-screen time totaling just eight minutes,
Dench's performance was so dazzling she walked away with the Best Supporting Actress award.
Other memorable roles followed in films such as Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001) and Notes on a Scandal (2006).
That's not to suggest that Dench has shied away from stage work. The same year she won her first Oscar, Dench also earned a Tony for best actress for her role in Amy's View. In 1996 she won an unprecedented two Lawrence Olivier awards for Best Actress and Best Actress in a Musical.
Dench's approach to her work is unusual. She famously doesn't read parts before accepting them, choosing instead to rely on the word of her friends and colleagues to help her make a decision. With her stage work, she often comes to rehearsals not having read the entire play. "Not reading pushes me to a kind of dangerous edge and there is something in me that needs that," she has explained.
It's hard to argue with the results. Over the course of her career, Dench has been recognized like few other actors. In addition to her 1999 Oscar, she's received six Academy Award nominations. She's also won two Golden Globes and six Lawrence Olivier Awards. In addition, she was named an Order of the British Empire in 1970 and honored with the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1988. In 2006 she was recognized with a Fellowship at the Royal Society of Arts.
Judi Dench married actor Michael Williams in 1971. The couple worked several times together, including in the British television series, A Fine Romance, and the film Tea with Mussolini (1999). The two remained together up until Michael's death from cancer in 2001. Dench and Williams had one child together, the actress Finty Williams.
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