With a resume that reads a mile long and spans almost a half century, the most famous Dame this side of Edna will receive an honorary degree from the University of Leeds July 17. The Yorkshire-born actress Judi Dench will accept her Doctor of Letters for her lifelong dedication to the arts.
Dench discovered her love for theatre at the age of four when her parents took her first theatre performance, according to the release from Leeds. Her passion for the theatre initially led her to an attempt at a career in design. She then decided to turn and follow her brother Jeffery's footsteps into acting.
Her career encompasses the world of theatre as well as television and films. Her countless stage credits include productions at the Old Vic, Nottingham Playhouse, Oxford Playhouse, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, and Broadway. Among them are Amy's View, Filumena, A Little Night Music, Antony and Cleopatra, Other Places, The Importance of Being Earnest, Hamlet. Her most recent stage work is as the voice of the Giantess in the revival of Into the Woods.
Also a viable film star, her many credits include "Importance of Being Earnest," "The Shipping News," "Iris," "Chocolat," her turns as M in the James Bond films "Goldeneye ," "Tomorrow Never Dies," and the upcoming "Die Another Day" as well as her Academy Award-winning turn in "Shakespeare in Love."
Born Judith Olivia Dench, the British thespian married her constant co-star Michael Williams. Her actor husband of 29 years died in January 2001 following a long battle with lung cancer. The multi-award-winning actress (Tony, Olivier, Evening Standard, Oscar, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, British Academy Film and Television Arts) holds honorary degrees from Oxford University, Queen Margaret University and the University of East Anglia. — by Ernio Hernandez