National treasure, Dame Judi Dench, is set to appear on BBC’s genealogy programme, Who Do You Think You Are.
Known for starring in various James Bond films and Shakespearean plays and movies, Dench will delve into her past to explore where she came from on episode 2 of the 18th series of the show, which will air on 19 October.
Investigating her father Reginald Dench, who took part in the First World War, Dench will explore where his gallantry medals came from, given that he never spoke much about his time as a soldier.
She will then discover 16th century links to Danish nobility, as well as Shakespearean connections - much to her delight.
But who is Judi Dench, what film roles has she starred in, who was her husband Michael Williams and what does her daughter Finty do? This is what you need to know.
How old is Judi Dench?
Dame Judi is 86 years old, and will turn 87 on her birthday this year. She was born on 9 December 1934 in Heworth, York.
Her mother, Eleanora Olive (nee Jones) was born in Dublin, and her father Reginald Dench was a doctor who also grew up mainly in Dublin. They met while studying at Trinity College in Dublin.
She had two brothers, Peter and Jeffery, who was also an actor, and worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
What movies has Judi Dench starred in?
Dame Judi has appeared in a huge number of film, television and theatre productions.
Over the course of her career, she has amassed major nominations and awards from the likes of the Oscars, the Tony’s, BAFTA Awards and Golden Globe Awards.
She has been nominated for seven Oscars for her roles in Mrs Brown, Shakespeare in Love, Chocolat, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal and Philomena. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the role of Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love.
Some of her other notable roles include Evelyn Greenslade in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, M in Daniel Craig’s James Bond franchise, Dame Sybil Thorndike in My Week with Marilyn, Miss Matty Jenkyns in Cranford, Elizabeth in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, Queen Victoria in Victoria & Abdul and Annie Hoover in J. Edgar, to name a few.
In the theatre world, Dame Judi has picked up seven Olivier Awards and a Tony for her roles in Amy’s View (1999), Macbeth (1977), Juno and the Paycock (1980), Pack of Lies (1983), Antony and Cleopatra (1987), Absolute Hell (1996), A Little Night Music (1996) and The Winter’s Tale (2016).
Who was her husband Michael Williams?
Judi Dench married her husband Michael Williams in 1971. Their daughter Tara Cressida Williams (Flinty Williams) was born the following year, on 24 September 1972.
Michael, who came from Liverpool, was also an actor and got his first film role at the age of 25, and later went on to star in Elizabeth R, Educating Rita, Henry V and other movies.
The couple stayed together until Michael’s death in 2001, following a battle with lung cancer.
In recognition of his work for the Catholic church, Michael was appointed as a Knight of St Gregory by Pope John Paul II just the day before he died, on 10 January 2001.
Despite the fact that she’s now in a relationship with conservationist David Mills, Judi has said that she never fully recovered from the death of her husband, and still feels his presence in her home.
Who is her daughter Finty Williams?
Dame Judi’s daughter is Tara Cressida Frances “Finty” Williams, who goes professionally as just Finty Williams.
Williams was born on 24 September 1972, and is the only child of Dame Judi and Michael Leonard Williams.
Finty has followed in the footsteps of her parents and has also pursued a career in acting. She graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London in 1994.
Her filmography includes also starring alongside her mother in Mrs Brown, as well as We Can Be Heroes, Delicious, Even Girls Cry Sometimes, Ladies in Lavender, The Importance of Being Earnest and Gosford Park.
Most recently, Williams appeared in the 2021 TV series The A List as Dr Shaw, alongside Lisa Ambalavanar, Ellie Duckles, Rosie Dwyer and Jack Kane.
In 2020, she starred in the children’s TV series Ricky Zoom as Scootio.
Williams has also lent her voice to narrating audiobooks such as Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number and the Terry Mancour Spellmonger Cadet books, including Hawkmaiden, Hawklady and Sky Rider.
Williams has one child, her son Sam, who was born on 6 June 1997.
According to Dame Judi in an interview with The Telegraph, the birth of her grandson came as a surprise.
Speaking about her daughter, Dame Judi said: “Finty is very much her own woman. We have the same profile, but, in character she is different. Wise.
“She thinks things through; I act on impulse.”
Who Do You Think You Are featuring Judi Dench is on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 19 October. You can also watch it on BBC iPlayer.
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