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Profile of the Day: Judi Dench

Happy birthday to Judi Dench! Today the actress turns 86. A legend on the stage and screen, Dench has won accolades for her work in theater, film, and television.

Image: Thore Siebrands / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Dench was born on December 9, 1934 in Heworth, York, England to Eleanora Olive Jones and Reginald Arthur Dench. Her father was a doctor for the Theatre Royal in York and so Dench was often in presence of actors growing up. From a young age, Dench showed a passion for performing and often joined school plays.

In 1957, she made her professional debut with the Old Vic Company playing Ophelia in Hamlet. Four years later, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she has played most of Shakespeare’s leading ladies. Dench made her big screen debut in the 1964 drama The Third Street. Since then, she has been nominated for 7 Academy Awards, winning one in 1998 for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love. She was also the first woman to portray the role of M in the James Bond franchise and has appeared in eight films in the series.

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