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Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (born 28 December 1934) is an English actress. With an extensive career on screen and stage beginning in the mid-1950s, Smith has appeared in more than sixty films and seventy plays. She is one of the few performers to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, having received highest achievement for film, television and theatre, winning two Academy Awards, a Tony Award and four Primetime Emmy Awards. Hailed as one of Britain's most recognisable and prolific actresses, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for contributions to the Arts, and a Companion of Honour in 2014 for services to Drama.Smith began her career on stage as a student, performing at the Oxford Playhouse in 1952, and made her professional debut on Broadway in New Faces of '56. Over the following decades, Smith established herself alongside Judi Dench as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. On the Broadway stage she's received Tony Award nominations for Private Lives (1975) and Night and Day (1979), winning Best Actress in a Play for Lettice and Lovage (1990). Smith's breakout film role was in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. For her comedic role as an Oscar loser in California Suite (1978) she received her second Academy Award this time for Best Supporting Actress. Her other Oscar-nominated roles were in Othello (1965), Travels with My Aunt (1972), A Room with a View (1985), and Gosford Park (2001). She rose to popular fame portraying Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). Other notable films include Death on the Nile (1978), Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), The Secret Garden (1993), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), Quartet (2012) and The Lady in the Van (2015). On television she gained newfound attention and international fame for her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, on Julian Fellowes's period series Downton Abbey (2010–2015) as well as the 2019 film and the 2022 film. The role earned her three Primetime Emmy Awards. She also won for the HBO film My House in Umbria (2003). She is the recipient of several honorary awards including the Society of London Theatre Special Award, the BAFTA Fellowship and the British Film Institute Fellowship.