Dame Judi Dench had her start in theater as Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and grew to be one of Britain’s most successful actresses by starring in films like Chocolat, The Chronicles of Riddick and Shakespeare in Love.
Born in North Yorkshire in England 1934, Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Dench had grown up in a family of actors and originally wanted to be a theater designer, but ultimately chose acting.
In a 2022 interview with Mark Oakley, Dench opened up about why she was drawn to acting, saying, “It’s that wonderful feeling of a community of people working together, wanting to do something, and then – this is what’s wonderful about theater – wanting to do it better the next night. And the next night, better than that.”
She established herself as a successful theater performer, working with the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dench starred in the ITV comedy series A Fine Romance with her late husband Michael Williams and rose to international fame with the role of M in the James Bond films. The Dame’s accolades include seven Laurence Olivier Awards, six BAFTA Awards, a Tony Award and an Academy Award.
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