|Dame Maggie Smith
Smith in 2007
|Born||Margaret Natalie Smith
28 December 1934
Ilford, Essex, England
|Spouse(s)||Sir Robert Stephens
(m. 1967; div. 1974)
(m. 1975; d. 1998)
The last couple of years have been a write-off, though I'm beginning to feel like a person now. My energy is coming back.
I said 'It can't go on' and he said 'No, it can't.' Honestly, I don't think I could have mattered less to him by then. But by then, nothing mattered to him.
I loved Robert Altman, so gentle yet naughty! And Julian Fellowes writes so beautifully.
It's true I don't tolerate fools but then they don't tolerate me, so I am spiky. Maybe that's why I'm quite good at playing spiky elderly ladies.
My career is chequered. Then I think I got pigeon-holed in humour; Shakespeare is not my thing.
I had been feeling a little rum. I didn't think it was anything serious because years ago I felt a lump and it was benign. I assumed this would be too. It kind of takes the wind out of your sails, and I don't know what the future holds, if anything.
The thing is, often press people ask questions that are so personal that even your nearest and dearest wouldn't ask them.
I think lots of actors are very nervous and shy. I know lots of them who are, and some who aren't of course.
I know there is something out there and like most people, I tend to believe in it more when things go bad.
I know there is something out there, and like most people, I tend to believe in it more when things go bad. But I'm not like Shirley MacLaine, who probably believes we were past lovers in another life.
I have many good friends, but I tend to keep to myself anyway. It's odd, doing things and having no one to share them with.
It seems to me there is a change in what audiences want to see. I can only hope that's correct, because there's an awful lot of people of my age around now and we outnumber the others.
There is a kind of invisible thread between the actor and the audience, and when it's there it's stunning, and there is nothing to match that.
The performances you have in your head are always much better than the performances on stage.
Some people say you have to fight cancer. But it was fighting me. The cure was worse than the disease, and it left me totally exhausted and depressed. I just hid myself away in my daughter-in-law's flat.
Listen, I must be 110 by now. Granny is going to kick the bucket at some point.
I tend to head for what's amusing because a lot of things aren't happy. But usually you can find a funny side to practically anything.
I like being outside and working with the elements. The elemental aspects of it. The physicality of it.
I wanted to be a serious actress, but of course that didn't really happen.
The chemotherapy was very peculiar, something that makes you feel much worse than the cancer itself, a very nasty thing. I used to go to treatment on my own, and nearly everybody else was with somebody. I wouldn't have liked that. Why would you want to make anybody sit in those places?
If you're lucky, I think you know what you want to do with your life. I think that's a greater gift that any of the gifts you might have when you do know, if you know what I mean. It must be awful to not know what to do.
An actor is somebody who communicates someone else's words and emotions to an audience. It's not me. It's what writers want me to be.
When I started acting almost 50 years ago, it wasn't about fame. It was about acting.
I've been playing old parts forever. I play 93 quite often. When you've done it more than once, you take the hint. I think it's a great burden if you're one of those fantastic stars who've always been beautiful; then I think it's hard.
People think of you differently if you've been in their homes. They think they own you because they watched you while they were eating dinner, or they can turn you up or down, or even freeze you.
I longed to be bright and most certainly never was. I was rather hopeless, I suspect.
There's this wonderful first assistant and he'll be saying, 'Now Harry goes down among the dragons.' You have to hold yourself together. Because if you lose it for a second then you're sunk.
I do love comedy, and when it's a comedy moment and you can make people laugh, of course it is wonderful.
I fear that I won't work in the theatre again. I'm sad about that. But I won't retire.
People say it gets better but it doesn't. It just gets different, that's all.
I believe that I am past my prime. I had reckoned on my prime lasting till I was at least fifty.
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost – it's there and then it's gone.