Dame Judi Dench is widely known for being one of Britain’s most respected actresses.  Her acting career spans over six decades through theatre, film, and TV.  She has won an array of awards including four Baftas and has been voted number one in the polls for Britain’s top actor.  She is perhaps most famous for her outstanding theatre performances in Shakespeare’s plays, and more recently for her roles in films such as Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Mrs Brown (1997).  Below we’ll look through her life, career, and some surprising facts that you may not know about Judi Dench.

Judi Dench’s Birthplace and Early Years

Judi Dench was born in York on December 9th, 1934.  She attended an all-girls Quaker school and studied Design at the York School of Art.  Judi was surrounded by acting from a young age as her father was the doctor at the Theatre Royal in York.  Judi’s brother, Jeffrey Dench, also grew up to be an actor and inspired Judi to pursue her passion.  As her interest in theatre grew, Judi went on to study at the London Central School of Speech and Drama, where her career in acting took off. 

Acting Career

Theatre Appearances by Judi Dench

Dench’s career began and blossomed in theatre.  She made her debut in 1957, age 22, where she turned heads with her performance of Ophelia in Hamlet.  The year after she made her first Broadway performance in Twelfth Night.  Dench was signed by the Royal Shakespeare company, and went on to play every leading female Shakespeare role.  Her performance as Lady Macbeth has been deemed as one of the greatest of its generation.  Dench has also been known to dabble in Cabaret and Comedy from time to time.

Judi Dench’s TV Appearances

Throughout her career, Dench has starred in numerous television series and play adaptations.  BBC’s romantic comedy A Fine Romance (1981 – 84) saw her perform alongside her then husband, Michael Williams, who she married in 1971.  Other series include Love in a Cold Climate (1980), As Time Goes By (1992 – 2005) and Cranford (2007 – 2010).  Cranford was an adaptation of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, which Dench read at school. 

Judi Dench’s Movies and Film 

Dench’s film career is something to be marvelled at.  She has been an ongoing star in the Bond movies, most famously playing ‘M’ in Golden Eye (1995).  She has played two British Queens; Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown (1997), and Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998).  in fact, both herself and Gwyneth Paltrow won Oscars for their outstanding performances in Shakespeare in Love.  Other famous titles include Iris (2001) and Notes on a Scandal (2006).

Surprising Facts – Judi Dench’s Tattoos, Rap and Horse Racing 

Beyond Dench’s thriving acting career, there is perhaps a less known side to her.  Did you know Judi celebrated her 81st birthday with a tattoo?  Challenging the stereotypes of aging, Judi decided to leap into her 81st year by having her life motto ‘Carpe Diem’ tattooed on her wrist.  Who could ask for a cooler grandmother or icon?

Another less known fact about Dench is her love of horse racing.  She has been the proud owner of several racehorses over the years, including ‘Amsby’ who she currently co-owns with Mystic Meg, ‘Smokey Oakey’ and ‘As De Mee’, who has been a runner in several Grand Nationals.  Judi Dench has often been spotted at the races looking as stylish as always.   

Judi Dench has also dabbled in rap music.  In 2017 Dench paired up with Lethal Bizzle to perform a captivating rap rendition of Bizzle’s ‘Pow’.  This was after Dench was overjoyed to hear that Bizzle coined the word ‘Dench’ in slang, to describe anything ‘brilliant’.

Judi Dench’s Net Worth 

Judi Dench’s long and prosperous career as one of Britain’s most loved actresses, has earned her an impressive net worth of $45 million.  Her life motto of Carpe Diem has certainly paid off!  Maybe we can all learn something from her.