The younger fans probably know her best for her stellar performance in Harry Potter. But her legendary career stretches a couple of decades prior. She began acting in theater and film in 1952 and since then, she has accomplished almost everything there is to accomplish in the industry. Well, despite her immense popularity and success, we are sure we can catch you by surprise with a few interesting facts about the beloved actress.
Bright Side wants to show you 10 facts about Maggie Smith that are going to make even some long-time fans say “wow.”
At first, her parents were not supportive of her acting ambitions.
Every beautiful fairy tale has a bumpy beginning. Maggie also had her Cinderella moment. Born in Ilford, England on December 28, 1934, her parents were everything but super keen theater fans. Her mother was a secretary from Glasgow, and her father worked as a University of Oxford lab technician.
Putting it mildly, her parents didn’t understand her aspirations nor supported her. Her mother even thought she had no chance of becoming an actress, “with a face like that.”
She was battling cancer while filming Harry Potter.
During the epic and intense battle for the Wizarding World, the actress portraying Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter was fighting on the personal front too. Maggie Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 73, and she needed extensive treatment like chemo and radiation therapy. However, the legendary actress showed inspiring will and unbreakable mental fortitude, and she stoically finished her scenes.
She has an impressive amount of rewards.
During her career, Maggie really did feel that ecstasy of gold, because she accumulated tons of precious metal in the form of awards. Let’s start listing her accomplishments: four Emmy Awards, seven BAFTAs, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards. We are not done here. Add to that: three Golden Globes, six Best Actress Evening Standard Theater Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. All she needs is a Grammy to join the EGOT club — a group of people that have won every major award in their industry.
Her two sons are actors too.
Well, Maggie’s parents may have had some negative things to say about cinema, however Maggie Smith started a shift, and now acting basically runs in the family. Both of her sons, Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin, are in the acting business. Smith said she didn’t push them in that direction, but was supportive and encouraging of their choice.
She can sing really well.
If you think getting a Grammy is too far-fetched even for super Maggie, think again. The acting profession sometimes requires a little singing prowess, and this is a field in which Maggie Smith excels. West End revue and New Faces are just a few examples where her musical talent shines. But when asked about it, she keeps a rather humble and down-to-earth attitude.
She doesn’t really like Shapespeare.
To be or not to be in a Shakespeare play — this question is redundant for Maggie. Despite the fact she has seen quite a lot of exposure to the work of the legendary screenwriter, she says: “My career is chequered. Then I think I got pigeonholed in humor; Shakespeare is not my thing.”
She was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Her achievements have been recognized not only by her fanbase, but also by some people with blue blood in their veins. Smith was bestowed the title of Dame (for men, it’s Sir) in 1989, by Queen Elizabeth II. So if you are looking for her full name, search for Dame Margaret Natalie Smith CH, DBE.
She loves the theater more than the cinema.
Saying that Maggie Smith likes cinema is surely an understatement. However, it is true that her true love lies elsewhere, in the cozy and personal yet magnetic and surreal spirit of the theater. “I’m deeply grateful for the work in Harry Potter and indeed Downton Abbey, but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying. I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things,” she shared with the Evening Standard.
She met Daniel Radcliff before the filming of Harry Potter.
Everyone remembers the swift transformation Professor Minerva McGonagall did in front of the startled students in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone. However, this was not the first time Maggie worked with the up-and-coming acting prodigy Daniel Radcliff. They worked together in the BBC drama David Copperfield in 1999, two years before the movie saga of the boy wizard began.
She has a special connection to cats.
Well, cats are not only McGonagall’s spirit animal. It seems like Maggie loves them too. She has shared that she likes a lot the scene in the first movie where she changed into a cat. Also, she has participated in a fundraising campaign for stray cats where celebrities created special artwork that was then sold at an auction and donated to fund cats’ protection.
Do you know another fascinating fact about Maggie Smith? Share it with us in a comment.