Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (born 28 December 1934) is an English actress. With an extensive career on screen and stage over seven decades, she has achieved 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 received Tony Award nominations for Noël Coward's Private Lives (1975) and David Hare's Night and Day (1979), winning Best Actress in a Play for Lettice and Lovage (1990). Smith received two Academy Awards for her roles in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), and California Suite (1978). 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, which she has also won for the HBO film My House in Umbria (2003). She is the recipient of several honorary awards including the British Film Institute Fellowship in 1993, the BAFTA Fellowship in 1996, and the Society of London Theatre Special Award in 2010.