#RespectYourElders: Dame Margaret “Maggie” Smith (born 1934) has worked as a stage, film and television actor for over 60 years. This week, at age 81, she won her fourth Emmy award, the third for her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in the beloved “Downton Abbey” series.

If you’re a fan of the show or read our recent blog post on our favorite TV shows featuring older actors, you know about Smith’s often-quoted role in “Downton Abbey,” which is PBS’ most successful drama series to date. But her role as the Dowager Countess is only the latest in a vibrant career.

Smith’s first role came in 1952, when she was just 17 and played Viola in a production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” She began landing more theatrical roles almost immediately, and added television and film to her resume not long afterwards. Through the years, she has proven her skill in a wide breadth of roles, from dramatic to comedic and classical to contemporary. In addition to her role in “Downton Abbey,” she may be most widely known for her work in the “Harry Potter” films, in which she played Professor McGonagall.

Smith has worked in both Britain and the U.S., and earned awards and honors in both countries. Notably, she was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 for her work in the arts.

In an industry that too-often seems focused on youth, Smith continues to show that older actors have plenty to bring to television, film and the stage. And it turns out we may have a chance to see Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham again — according to The Guardian, she has signed on appear in a “Downton Abbey” movie. Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/19/downton-abbey-movie-maggie-smith

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