Imelda Staunton’s mindboggling Academy Award nominated performance in the 2004 English drama Vera Drake is perhaps the most pronounced role of her career. The British actress who was born on January 9, 1956 is among the most celebrated actresses in British cinema. She has also made her mark in American film industry. She has an equally appreciable presence in theatres of Britain. Her fans also recognize her as the villainous Dolores Umbridge of the Harry Potter fame.
Imelda’s unparalleled dedication to her art has been honored by the British government, awarding her with the Order of the British Empire in 2006. Her contributions to British theatres have been vast and she is just as influential in television, film and even radio. She has been a drama enthusiast since she was much younger. She started her theatre career from performing on the stage of La Sainte Union Convent School. A native of Archway, North London, Imelda has been married to her husband Jim Carter for over three decades. She wedded the Downtown Abbey star in the year 1983 and has a daughter with him. Together her family in 2007 starred in Cranford.
A three time Olivier Award winner, Imelda’s works in theatre have been loved by thousands of her fans. She had graduated from Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1976 and not long after she was starring in Saint Joan at the Northcott Theatre as the lead. With the Royal Shakespeare Company, she portrayed Dorothy of the classic The Wizard of Oz and followed with productions of A Man for All Seasons, Elektra, Side by Side and Mack & Mabel. She performed a tributary piece for Lord Olivier on his birthday in 1987 at the National Theatre. She won her first Olivier Award in 1985 and was awarded Britain’s greatest honor in theatre in 1991 for Into The Woods. In 1993, she starred in If You See God, Tell Him. She received a nomination in 1996 for Guys and Dolls which she performed at the National Theatre. She won her third Olivier for her performance in the 2011 revival of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Recently, she got on stage of Chichester Festival Theatre for the musical Gypsy. She has performed in several theatres including The King’s Head Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Duke of York’s Theatre and Trafalgar Studios among others. Her movie roles also aren’t any less popular. With her debut in Comrades in 1986, she has starred in several movies over the two decades such as Peter’s Friends, Deadly Advice, Twelfth Night, Another Life, Nanny McPhee, How About You among others. In 1998, she was seen in Shakespeare in Love. Her success and fame skyrocketed when she appeared in the box office blockbuster Vera Drake in 2004. The role brought on a series of awards for her and the movie alike including nominations for Best Actress at the Oscars, Satellite Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globe Awards that year. She was also honored with the BAFTA Award for Best Actress for Vera Drake. She followed this immaculate performance with a recurring character on the Harry Potter movie in 2007, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was seen in the character again in 2010 in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Her most recent films are A Bunch of Amateurs, Taking Woodstock, Maleficent and Pride.
Imelda has popularly featured in radio series also. Her famous roles in radio were in Julie Enfield Investigates, Up the Garden Path, Acropolis Now and The Patrick and Maureen Maybe Music Experience. She has lent her voice to the audio book version of The Gruffalo and along with Jim Carter she collaborated with Show of Hands in 2014 on Cenetary: Words and Music of the Great War.
Despite both being major mainstream successes, Vera Drake and Dolores Umbridge are just two of the roles Imelda Staunton has played in the sea of critically acclaimed roles of her career. As the actress suggests, glamour has never been her focus in her profession but she never fails to look smashing.