She’s so much more than Dolores Umbridge, everybody! Imelda Staunton is a theatrically trained actor with a huge resume of work on stage and screen, doing everything from British sitcoms to musicals to adventurous indie films and, yes, our fave, the costume dramas. She’s also married to Jim Carter, aka Carson from Downton Abbey, so it’s surprising she didn’t get a cameo in that until the big-screen frock flick. But she has tons of credits to her name and is still going strong. As she says of herself: “I am a character actress, well, let’s say, I am a leading character actress who does interesting, odd parts.”
Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Charlotte Palmer in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Maria in Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)
Nurse in Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Ethel Graydon in Another Life (2001)
Lady Brown in Bright Young Things (2003)
The Queen in Cambridge Spies (2003)
Vera in Vera Drake (2004)
Mrs. Sucksby in Fingersmith (2005)
Miss Pole in Cranford (2007-2009)
Maud Hill in The Awakening (2011)
Alma Reville Hitchcock in The Girl (2012)
Maud Bagshaw in Downton Abbey (2019)
Coming soon — Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown (2022-)
Imelda Staunton will take over from Olivia Colman as the Queen in the fifth and sixth (final) seasons of this Netflix series.
What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role of Imelda Staunton’s?
I loved her in everything she does.Her Dolores is perhaps my favourite part of the Harry Potter series,the character we love to hate.
Wonderful to have her play E-II in The Crown.So basically all actresses who essayed the role of E-II have played atleast one more English Queen.
I remember thinking to myself while reading The Order of the Phoenix that Imelda Staunton would be perfect as Umbridge. I’m still wondering if I should request a finders fee or something for that idea… :D
I loved her in all productions.
It’s so much more of an improvement for a film, if the actors of the smaller roles are so great like Imelda Staunton or Hugh Laurie in “S&S” for example.
I love her SO MUCH. She’s going to be amazing as QEII. Good for her – it’s about time!
All of them. She brings a subtle humour to S&S, Shakespeare in Love and as Lady Bagshaw she holds her own and at times wins against the Dowager Countess Grantham. But she is so poignant in Vera Drake that imo the Oscar should have gone to her and not Swank.
I enjoyed her and the other older women in Cranford. Their outfits were charmingly out if date in universe.
So hard to choose! Scrolling through this, I kept thinking, oh yeah, I love her in that! She’s also a musical theatre star–first London cast of Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife), Miss Adelaide, and she was stunning as Mrs. Lovett with Michael Ball as Sweeney Todd.
Very hard to choose. Not a period film, but I loved her in “Pride” (and everyone else in the cast, especially the dotty old lady who asked in a precise Welsh accent, “And where are my young lesbians? Have my lesbians not come to see me?”) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_(2014_film)
Gotta echo everyone else here: It’s hard to choose because I love her in everything (and I’ve seen most of these)! She is totally amazeballs all of the time!
BBC showed a live performance of “Gypsy” a few Christmas ago. She played Rose and was magnificent. I heard her talk about the creative process of filming “Vera Drake” and how she had never done the arrest scene with the actors playing the police until it was filmed. The reaction you see when the police knock on the door are in the moment and real.
Vera Drake is one of the viscerally depressing movies I’ve ever seen. I mean, Imelda is sympathetic and compelling, but what a bleak, bleak story.
I especially enjoyed her performances in “Sense and Sensibility”, “Vera Drake” and “Cranford”.
Oh my, I loved her in Much Ado and Cranford and completely failed to recognize her as Dolores Umbridge because she was so convincingly evil I could barely look at her! What an actress!
She’s always so brilliant in everything she does but definite soft spot for her in Twelfth Night.
Love her in everything but honestly, she’s far too pretty to be Dolores Umbridge! Of course she absolutely killed it. I do have a soft spot for Cranford and for that version of Sense & Sensibility. I’m really looking forward to seeing her as QEII in The Crown!
It’s very important to note that the Twelfth Night she’s in is directed by Tevor Nunn and does not involve Kenneth Branaugh in any way shape or form and you can sense his absence by the fact that the movie doesn’t suck. Branaugh should be barred from ever doing Shakespeare. That Twelfth Night is really very good.
Not fair. His Twelfth Night is also wonderful. Richard Briers as Malvolio is superb. And Much Ado and Henry V are excellent. Branagh himself is capable of real greatness. His Hamlet with the RSC was brilliant. He gets delusions of grandeur when he’s allowed to do things on a huge scale, but he has a great deal of both skill and talent.
My favorite is Mama Rose in Gypsy. I didn’t see it live but even in the filmed version she commands your attention. Such a tiny woman but she packs a wallop.