Smith made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films and is one of Britain's most recognisable actresses. Apart from her role as Violet she is probably best known for her roles in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Gosford Park as well as her role as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series.
She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film California Suite, as well as two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for her performance as Violet Crawley.
Smith has previously worked with Julian Fellowes on the film Gosford Park, often viewed as a predecessor of Downton Abbey.
She is the mother of actor Toby Stephens, who is currently portraying the lead role of Captain Flint on the Starz production Black Sails.
- Maggie Smith wins Golden Globe for 'Downton Abbey' role, Sarah Luoma, Digital Spy, 14th January, 2013.