Judi Dench has developed a reputation as one of the greatest British actresses of the post-war period, primarily through her work in theatre, and later films.

Judi Dench was born in Yorkshire in 1934. She attended a Quaker school in York and became a Quaker.

Through her parents, Judi had regular contact with the theatre and actors often stayed in the Dench household. A classmate of Vanessa Redgrave, she graduated from the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art in London in 1956.

In her first major role, she gave her first important critically acclaimed performance, as Ophelia in the Old Vic production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1957.

She was awarded the 1966 BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles.

Awarded eight Olivier Awards, Judi admits that she prefers stage first, television second and film in third place.

An outspoken critic of prejudice in the movie industry against older actresses, Judi has received seven Oscar nominations, all of them when she was already over the age of 60.

Even after winning so many acting awards, she still admits to being insecure and wanting to improve the next performance.

Her husband, actor Michael Williams died in 2001 – their daughter is actress Flinty Williams. She has “Carpe diem” tattooed on her right wrist and suffers from macular degeneration often needing someone to read scripts to her.

A quaker since a child, Judi is the patron of over 150 charities, many of which are related either to the theatre or to medical causes.

“I’m tired of being told I’m too old to try something… age is a number, something imposed on you… it drives me absolutely spare when people say ‘are you going to retire?'”