Judy Parfitt

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Judy Parfitt
Judy Parfitt 1968.jpg
Parfitt in The Avengers (1968)
Judy Catherine Claire Parfitt

(1935-11-07) 7 November 1935 (age 85) [1]
Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
(m. 1966;died 2001)

Judy Catherine Claire Parfitt (born 7 November 1935) [2] is an English theatre, film and television actress. She made her film debut in a minor supporting part in Information Received (1961), followed by supporting role in the BBC television serial David Copperfield (1966). She also appeared as Queen Gertrude in Tony Richardson's 1969 film adaptation of Hamlet .


Later credits include as Vera Donovan in the Stephen King film adaptation of Dolores Claiborne (1995), and in Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), the latter for which she earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Beginning in 2012, Parfitt has starred on the drama series Call the Midwife as Sister Monica Joan.

Early life

Parfitt was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1935 [1] to Catherine Josephine (née Caulton) and Lawrence Hamilton Parfitt. [3] As a teenager, she attended Notre Dame High School for Girls and later trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1953. [4]


Parfitt began her career in theatre in 1954, appearing in a production of Fools Rush In at the Amersham Repertory Company. [5]

In 1968, she appeared in the Hammer television film Journey to The Unknown, opposite Joseph Cotten and hosted by Joan Crawford. [6] In 1978, Parfitt appeared opposite Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright and Frank Finlay in the episode "Saturday, Sunday, Monday" of Laurence Olivier Presents . In 1981 she created the role of Eleanor in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Peter Nichols' Passion Play . In 1984 she played Deidre in Jack Rosenthal's The Chain . In 1987, she appeared in Maurice .

Two of her most notable past roles are Mildred Layton in The Jewel in the Crown (1984; for which she received her first BAFTA nomination) and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the 1980 TV serial version of Pride and Prejudice . In 1995, she portrayed Kathy Bates' former, domineering employer in Dolores Claiborne , who is dying in present-time, but is seen as a vibrant, glowing woman in flashback sequences.

She has appeared in some American television shows, beginning with her regular role as Snow White's Stepmother, Evil Queen Lillian "Lily" White in the series The Charmings . Parfitt's real-life husband Tony Steedman guest-starred as Santa Claus in The Charmings' second season Christmas special. She appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1989, and as the mother of Dr Elizabeth Corday (played by Alex Kingston) on several episodes of ER in 2002. [7] In 1998, she played the role of Queen Marie in Ever After: A Cinderella Story .

Parfitt played Lady Mount-Temple in the biopic film Wilde , alongside Stephen Fry, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Jones in 1997. In 2003, she played Maria Thins in Girl with a Pearl Earring . The role earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. [7]

She played the domineering American dowager, Mrs van Schuyler, opposite David Suchet, James Fox, Frances de la Tour and David Soul in a feature-length episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot in the 2004 edition of Death on the Nile . In 2008, she appeared as the primary villainess in Little Dorrit , as the cruel Mrs Clennam, alongside Alun Armstrong, Sue Johnston and Matthew Macfadyen. At Christmas 2011, she appeared in a small role similar to that which she portrayed in Little Dorrit as Aunt Chastity along with Una Stubbs and Phyllida Law in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff . [8]

In 2012, she began appearing in the BBC TV series Call the Midwife as Sister Monica Joan, an elderly nun who is suffering from the early stages of dementia. [9] The character has a strong educational background, particularly in classical literature, and her apparently random quotes are often used in the programme as a way of reflecting on the unfolding drama. [7] [10] She has also appeared in BBC's spy tale, The Game; a film, Hello Carter; a Radio 4 show, Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups; and Jessica Hynes's suffragette sitcom Up the Women . [7]

Personal life

In 1966 Parfitt and actor Tony Steedman married in Harrow, Middlesex. He died in 2001. The couple had one child, a son, David. [7]



1956A Likely TaleUrsula Bludgeon Television film
1962 Information Received June Clifford
1964 Hide and Seek Chauffeur
1966 David Copperfield Rosa Dartle
1967 Angel Pavement Lilian MatfieldTelevision film
1967 Escape in Time Vesta
1969 Hamlet Queen Gertrude
1970 The Mind of Mr. Soames Jenny Bannerman
1971Journey to Murder (Do Me a Favor and Kill Me)Faith WheelerTelevision film
1972The EdwardiansE. NesbitTelevision film
1974 Alice Through the Looking Glass Red Queen
1974 Galileo Angelica Sarti
1979 Secret Orchards Muriel PerryTelevision film
1980 Death of a Princess Elsa Gruber
1983Office Romances Pam IvygaleTelevision film
1983 Champions Dr. Merrow
1984 The Chain Deirdre
1985CovenantRenata BeckTelevision film
1985Bon VoyageLola WidmeyerTelevision film, also known as Star Quality: Bon Voyage
1987 Maurice Mrs. Durham
1989 Diamond Skulls Lady CrewneAlso known as Dark Obsession
1989 Getting It Right Lady Stella Munday
1991 King Ralph Queen Katherine
1993 The Return of the Borrowers Mrs. PlatterTelevision film
1995 Dolores Claiborne Vera Donovan
1995 Heavy Weather Lady Constance Keeble
1996 Element of Doubt Genevieve
1996Goodbye My Love Ruth
1996September VerenaTelevision film
1997 Wilde Lady Mount-Temple
1998 Ever After Queen Marie
2000Falling Through Ambassador
2003 Girl with a Pearl Earring Maria Thins Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
2003Hearts of GoldIsobel JohnTelevision film
2004 The Aryan Couple Rachel Krauzenberg
2005 Asylum Brenda Raphael
2008 Dean Spanley Mrs. Brimley
2008My Talks with Dean SpanleyMrs. Brimley
2011 The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff Aunt ChastityTelevision film
2011 W.E. Queen Mary
2012 The Moth Diaries Mrs. Rood
2013 Hello Carter Aunt Miriam


1962 The Avengers Miss EllisEpisode: "Bullseye"
1963 The Odd Man Lisa KappEpisode: "Portrait of Caroline"
1963 The Avengers Brenda PatersonEpisode: "The White Elephant"
1963 The Sentimental Agent Sally ClareEpisode: "The Height of Fashion"
1965 Public Eye Marion HordernEpisode: "But the Joneses Never Get Letters"
1965 Out of the Unknown MarieEpisode: "Time in Advance"
1965 The Wednesday Play Dorothy GorbetEpisode: "Tomorrow, Just You Wait"
1965 Z-Cars Christina HainesEpisode: "But the Crying..."
1967 The Saint Anne LiskardEpisode: "The Persistent Patriots"
1967 The Avengers VestaEpisode: "Escape in Time"
1967 Adam Adamant Lives! IreynaEpisode: "Black Echo"
1967 Les Misérables Mme. Thenardier 5 episodes
1967 Angel Pavement Lilian Matfield4 episodes
1968 Dixon of Dock Green Mary DewarEpisode: "The Attack"
1968 The Avengers LorisEpisode: "Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40?"
1969 Journey to the Unknown Faith WheelerEpisode: "Do Me a Favor and Kill Me"
1971 Shadows of Fear Episode: "The Death Watcher"
1973 Play for Today Episode: "Like the Filmstar"
1973 The Protectors Lena HaydenEpisode: "Lena"
1974 Shoulder to Shoulder Lady Constance Lytton Episode: "Lady Constance Lytton"
1975 Crown Court Pauline FanshaweEpisode: "The Healing Hand: Part 1"
1976–82 Crown Court Gillian Forrest QC16 episodes
1978 Rumpole of the Bailey Anna AspenEpisode: "Rumpole and the Honourable Member"
1978 Laurence Olivier Presents N/AUnknown episodes
1979 Malice Aforethought Julia Bickleigh2 episodes
1980 Pride and Prejudice Lady Catherine de Bourgh2 episodes
1980 A Tale of Two Cities Madame Defarge7 episodes
1981 Yes Minister Betty OldhamEpisode: "A Question of Loyalty"
1984 The Jewel in the Crown Mildred Layton9 episodes
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
1986 Mr Pye Miss Dredger4 episodes
1987–88 The Charmings Queen Lillian White21 episodes
1989 Murder, She Wrote Peggy BrooksEpisode: "From Russia...with Blood"
1993 The Alleyn Mysteries Lady O'CallaghanEpisode: "The Nursing Home Murder"
1997 Holding the Baby MargaretEpisode: "#1.7"
1998 Berkeley Square Lady HarmonsworthEpisode: "Ladybird, Ladybird"
1999 Midsomer Murders Angela WentworthEpisode: "Death's Shadow"
2000–02 ER Isabelle Corday7 episodes
2001 Murder in Mind Margaret CollinsEpisode: "Mercy"
2004 Agatha Christie's Poirot Miss Van SchuylerEpisode: "Death on the Nile"
2004 The Long Firm Lady Ruth ThursbyEpisode: "Teddy's Story"
2005 Funland Mercy Woolf11 episodes
2008 Heartbeat Lady VeroniqueEpisode: "Danse Macabre"
2008 Little Dorrit Mrs. Clennam12 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2008 Midsomer Murders Caroline HalseyEpisode: "Days of Misrule"
2009 Jonathan Creek Constance GesslerEpisode: "The Grinning Man"
2012–present Call the Midwife Sister Monica Joan50 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2012 The Syndicate MaureenEpisode: "#1.2"
2012 Vera MaggieEpisode: "A Certain Samaritan"
2013 Agatha Christie's Marple Cicely BeauclerkEpisode: "Greenshaw's Folly
2015 The Game Hester Waterhouse5 episodes

Awards and nominations

BAFTA Film Awards

Other awards

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  1. 1 2 Year of birth: 1935, findmypast.co.uk; accessed 28 June 2014.
  2. "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch (1 October 2014), Judy C C Parfitt, 1935; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com  : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  3. Judy Parfitt profile, Film Reference.com; accessed 28 June 2014.
  4. "Judy Parfitt". RADA. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  5. "Judy Parfitt profile". Film Reference. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  6. Cotter 2013, p. 145.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Judy Parfitt at IMDb
  8. "The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff". BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  9. Wilson, Benji (19 January 2014). "Call the Midwife's Judy Parfitt: "All the old tarts gainfully employed"". The Telegraph.
  10. Wilson, Benji (19 January 2014). "Daily Telegraph" . Retrieved 18 February 2015.

Works cited