Julie Walters

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Julie Walters

Julie Walters 2014 (cropped).jpg
Walters in 2014
Born (1950-02-22) 22 February 1950 (age 71)
Alma mater Manchester School of Theatre
  • Actress
  • author
  • comedian
Years active1972-present
Grant Roffey
(m. 1997)

Dame Julia Mary Walters DBE (born 22 February 1950), known professionally as Julie Walters, is an English actress, author and comedian. She is the recipient of four British Academy Television Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, two International Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe. Walters has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, once for Best Actress and once for Best Supporting Actress.


Walters rose to prominence for playing the title role in Educating Rita (1983), a role which she had originated on the West End. She has appeared in a number of films, including Personal Services (1987), Stepping Out (1991), Sister My Sister (1994), Billy Elliot (2000), the Harry Potter series (2001–2011) as Molly Weasley, Calendar Girls (2003), Wah-Wah (2005), Driving Lessons (2006), Becoming Jane (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008) and its 2018 sequel, Brave (2012), Paddington (2014) and its 2017 sequel, Brooklyn (2015), Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). On stage, she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the 2001 production of All My Sons .

On television, Walters collaborated with Victoria Wood; they appeared together on several television shows, including Wood and Walters (1981), Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV (1985–1987), Pat and Margaret (1994), and dinnerladies (1998–2000). She has won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress four times, more than any other actress, for My Beautiful Son (2001), Murder (2002), The Canterbury Tales (2003), and her portrayal of Mo Mowlam in Mo (2010). Walters and Helen Mirren are the only actresses to have won this award three consecutive times, and Walters is tied with Judi Dench for the most nominations in the category with seven. In 2006, the British public voted Walters fourth in ITV's poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations. She starred in A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009), which won her an International Emmy for Best Actress. Walters was made a Dame (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama.

Early life

Julia Mary Walters was born on 22 February 1950 at St Chad's Hospital [1] in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, [2] the daughter of Mary Bridget (née O'Brien), an Irish Catholic postal clerk from County Mayo, and Thomas Walters, an English builder and decorator. According to the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are , her maternal ancestors played an active part in the 19th-century Irish Land War. [3] Her paternal grandfather Thomas Walters was a veteran of the Second Boer War, and was killed in action in World War I in June 1915 while serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment; he is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial in France. [4] Walters and her family lived at 69 Bishopton Road in the Bearwood area of Smethwick, Staffordshire. [5] [6] [7] The youngest of five children and the third to survive birth, [8] Walters had an early education at St Paul's School for Girls in Edgbaston and later at Holly Lodge Grammar School for Girls in Smethwick. She said in 2014 that it was "heaven when [she] went to an ordinary grammar school", although she was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth because of her "high jinks". [9]

Walters later told interviewer Alison Oddey about her early schooling, "I was never going to be academic, so [my mother] suggested that I try teaching or nursing. [...] I'd been asked to leave school, so I thought I'd better do it." [10] Her first job was in insurance at the age of 15. [11] At the age of 18, she trained as a student nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham; she worked on the ophthalmic, casualty, and coronary care wards during the 18 months she spent there. [12] She decided to leave nursing and went on to study theatre at Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama (now Manchester School of Theatre). She worked for the Everyman Theatre Company in Liverpool in the mid-1970s, alongside several other notable performers and writers such as Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Jonathan Pryce, Willy Russell, and Alan Bleasdale. [13]



Walters first received notice as the occasional partner of comedian Victoria Wood, whom she had originally met in 1971 when Wood auditioned at the School of Theatre in Manchester. The two first worked together in the 1978 theatre revue In at the Death , followed by the television adaptation of Wood's play Talent .

They went on to appear in their own Granada Television series, Wood and Walters , in 1982. They continued to perform together frequently over the years. The BAFTA-winning BBC follow-up, Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV , featured one of Walters's best-known roles, Mrs Overall, in Wood's parodic soap opera, Acorn Antiques (she later appeared in the musical version, and received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts).


"The basic premise – that education means choice – still matters today, the world over. And not just for women, but for all of us."

—Walters on Educating Rita . [14]

Walters first serious acting role on TV was in Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982. A role that launched her to become a national treasure, Walters starred opposite Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983), a role she had created on the West End stage in Willy Russell’s 1980 play. [15] Playing Susan "Rita" White, a Liverpudlian working-class hairdresser who seeks to better herself by signing up for and attending an Open University course in English Literature, she would receive the BAFTA Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical/Comedy, and an Academy Award for Best Actress-nomination. [15]

In 1985, she played Adrian Mole's mother, Pauline, in the TV adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole . Walters appeared in the lead role of Cynthia Payne in the 1987 film Personal Services  – a dramatic comedy about a British brothel owner. Then she starred with Phil Collins, playing the lead character's wife, June, in the film Buster , released in 1988. [15] She also appeared as Mrs. Peachum in the 1989 film version of The Threepenny Opera , which was renamed Mack the Knife for the screen.


In 1991, Walters starred opposite Liza Minnelli in Stepping Out , and had a one-off television special, Julie Walters and Friends , which featured writing contributions from Victoria Wood, Alan Bennett, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale. [16] [17]

In 1993, Walters starred in the TV film Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift outside the UK) alongside Jim Broadbent and Thora Hird. The film was based on the book by the author Deric Longden and tells the story of the final years of his marriage to his wife, Diana, who contracted a degenerative illness that medical officials were unable to understand at the time, though now believed to be a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis.

In 1998 she starred as the Fairy Godmother in the ITV pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk . [18] From 1998 until 2000, she played Petula Gordeno in Victoria Wood's BBC sitcom dinnerladies . In the late 1990s, she featured in a series of adverts for Bisto gravy.


Star at the Birmingham Walk of Stars Birmingham Walk of Stars Julie Walters.jpg
Star at the Birmingham Walk of Stars

In 2001, Walters won a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Arthur Miller's All My Sons . She received her second Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA for her supporting role as the ballet teacher in Billy Elliot (2000). [15] In 2002, she again won a BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress for her performance as Paul Reiser's mother in My Beautiful Son. [19]

Walters played Molly Weasley, the matriarch of the Weasley family, in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the only film in the series not to have included Walters. In 2003, the BBC voted her portrayal of Molly as the second-"best screen mother". [20]

In 2003, Walters starred as a widow (Annie Clark) determined to make some good come out of her husband's death from cancer in Calendar Girls , which starred Helen Mirren. In 2005, she again starred as an inspirational real-life figure, Marie Stubbs in the ITV1 drama Ahead of the Class. In 2006, she came fourth in ITV's poll of the public's 50 Greatest Stars, coming four places above frequent co-star Victoria Wood. [21] In 2006, she starred in the film Driving Lessons alongside Rupert Grint (who played her son Ron in Harry Potter), and had a leading role in the BBC's adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel The Ruby in the Smoke .

In the summer of 2006, Walters published her first novel, Maggie's Tree. [22] The novel, concerning a group of English actors in Manhattan and published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, was described as "a disturbing and thought-provoking novel about mental torment and the often blackly comic, mixed-up ways we view ourselves and misread each other.". [23] Another reviewer, Susan Jeffreys, in The Independent, described the novel as "the work of a writer who knows what she's doing. There's nothing tentative about the writing, and Walters brings her experiences as an actress to bear on the page. ... you do have the sensation of entering someone else's mind and of looking through someone else's eyes." [24] Walters starred in Asda's Christmas 2007 TV advertising campaign. She also appeared alongside Patrick Stewart in UK Nintendo DS Brain Training television advertisements, and in a public information film about smoke alarms. In summer 2008, Walters appeared in the film version of Mamma Mia! , playing Rosie Mulligan, marking her second high-profile musical, after Acorn Antiques: The Musical! . The same year, she released her autobiography, titled That's Another Story. [25]

In 2007, Walters starred as the mother of author Jane Austen (played by Anne Hathaway) in Becoming Jane . [15] Walters played Mary Whitehouse in the BBC Drama Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story (2008), an adaptation of the real-life story of Mrs. Whitehouse who campaigned for "taste and decency on television". Walters commented, "I am very excited to be playing Mary Whitehouse, and to be looking at the time when she attacked the BBC and started to make her name." [26] Filth won Best Motion Picture Made for Television, and Walters was nominated for Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made For Television, at the 2008 13th Annual Satellite Awards. [27]

In 2009, she received a star in the Birmingham Walk of Stars on Birmingham's Golden Mile, Broad Street. She said: "I am very honoured and happy that the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands want to include me in their Walk of Stars and I look forward to receiving my star. Birmingham and the West Midlands is where I'm from; these are my roots and in essence it has played a big part in making me the person I am today". [28] Her other awards include an International Emmy with for A Short Stay in Switzerland .


Walters at the premiere of Paddington in November 2014 Julie Walters at the Paddington Premiere.jpg
Walters at the premiere of Paddington in November 2014

Walters played the late MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam in a drama for Channel 4 broadcast in early 2010. She had misgivings about taking on the role because of the differences in their physical appearance, [29] but the result was highly praised by critics. [30] [31]

In July 2012, Walters appeared in the BBC Two production The Hollow Crown as Mistress Quickly in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts I and II . [32] In the summer of 2012, she voiced the Witch in Pixar's Brave (2012). In 2012 she worked with LV= to promote one of their life insurance products targeted at people over 50. Walters was seen in television advertisements, at the lv.com website and in other marketing material helping to raise awareness for life insurance. [33]

Walters appeared in The Last of the Haussmans at the Royal National Theatre in June 2012. The production was broadcast to cinemas around the world through the National Theatre Live programme. [34] Set in contemporary London, Walters portrayed Mrs. Bird, the Browns' housekeeper, in the critically acclaimed Paddington (2014). [35] Walters reprised her role for the sequel, Paddington 2 (2017), which has also received universal acclaim. [36] [37]

She played the part of Cynthia Coffin in the ten-part British drama serial Indian Summers aired on Channel 4 in 2015. In 2015, she appeared in the romantic drama film Brooklyn , a film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Her performance in the film earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Walters voiced the Lexi Decoder (LEXI) for Channel 4 during the 2016 Paralympic Games. The graphical system aims to aid the viewing experience of the games by debunking the often confusing classifications that govern Paralympic sport. [38] Set in London during the depression, Walters played Ellen, Michael's and Jane's long-time housekeeper, in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). [39] Set in 1947 England, Walters starred with Colin Firth in The Secret Garden (2020). [40]

Personal life

Walters' relationship with Grant Roffey, a patrol man for the AA, began after a whirlwind romance. The couple have a daughter named Maisie Mae Roffey (born 26 April 1988), but did not marry until they went to New York City to do so in 1997. They live on an organic farm operated by Roffey near Plaistow, West Sussex. [41]

Walters is a lifelong supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, having been brought up in Smethwick. She is a patron of the domestic violence survivors' charity, Women's Aid. [42]


Walters was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2018. Having had surgery and chemotherapy, she entered remission. This meant that she had to be cut from certain scenes in The Secret Garden and also had to miss the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again . [43] Walters did not announce her illness to the public until February 2020, when she said in an interview with Victoria Derbyshire that she would be taking a step back from acting, particularly from large and demanding film roles. She stated however in October 2020, that she would make an exception for Mamma Mia 3! which is currently in development. [44] [45] [46]



1983 Educating Rita Susan "Rita" WhiteFilm debut
1985 She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas Fran
Dreamchild DormouseVoice
Car Trouble Jacqueline Spong
1987 Personal Services Christina Painter
Prick Up Your Ears Elsie Orton
1988 Buster June Edwards
1988 Mack the Knife Mrs. Peachum
1990Killing Dad or How to Love Your MotherJudith
1991 Stepping Out Vera
1992 Just like a Woman Monica
1994 Sister My Sister Madame Danzard
1996 Intimate Relations Marjorie Beasley
1997BathtimeMiss Gideon
1998 Girls' Night Jackie Simpson
Titanic Town Bernie McPhelimy
2000 Billy Elliot Mrs Wilkinson
2001 Lover's Prayer Princess Zasyekin
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Molly Weasley
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Before You Go Theresa
2003 Calendar Girls Annie
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Molly Weasley
Mickybo and Me Mickybo's Ma
2005 Wah-Wah Gwen Traherne
2006 Driving Lessons Evie Walton
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Molly Weasley
Becoming Jane Mrs Austen
2008 Mamma Mia! Rosie
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Molly Weasley
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Gnomeo and Juliet Miss MontagueVoice
2012 Brave WitchVoice
Thread of EvidenceBetty Beesom
2013 Effie Gray Margaret Cox Ruskin
Justin and the Knights of Valour GranVoice
One Chance Yvonne Potts
The Harry Hill Movie Harry's Nan
2014 Paddington Mrs. Bird
2015 Brooklyn Mrs Kehoe
2017 Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool Bella Turner
Paddington 2 Mrs Bird
2018 Sherlock Gnomes Miss MontagueVoice
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Rosie
Mary Poppins Returns Ellen
2019 Wild Rose Marion
2020 The Secret Garden Mrs Medlock


1975 Second City Firsts TerryEpisode: "Club Havana"
1977 The Liver Birds Girl in surgery1 episode
1978 Me—I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf Woman in waiting roomTelevision film
1978, 82 Play for Today Debbie/Valerie2 episodes
1979 Empire Road Jean Watson2 episodes
Talent Julie StephensTelevision film
1979–81ScreenplayFrances/Julie3 episodes
1980 Nearly a Happy Ending Julie StephensTelevision film
1981 Wood and Walters various rolesTelevision film
Happy Since I Met You FrancesTelevision film
BBC2 Playhouse Mrs MorganEpisode: "Days at the Beach"
1982 Boys from the Blackstuff Angie Todd2 episodes
Objects of AffectionJune PotterTelevision film
1984 Love and Marriage BonnieEpisode: "Family Man"
1985 The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ Pauline Mole5 episodes
1985–86 Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV various characters13 episodes
1985, 93 Screen Two Mavis/Monica2 episodes
1987 Theatre Night LuluEpisode: "The Birthday Party"
1986–87 Acorn Antiques Mrs. Overall6 episodes
1988 Talking Heads LesleyEpisode: "Her Big Chance"
1989 Victoria Wood Various roles3 episodes
1991Julie Walters and Friendsherself/various rolesTelevision series
G.B.H. Mrs Murray7 episodes
1992 Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast various rolesTelevision series
1993 Screen One : Wide-Eyed and Legless Diana LongdenEpisode: "The Clothes in the Wardrobe"
1994 Bambino Mio AliceTelevision film
Pat and Margaret Pat Bedford
Requiem ApacheMrs Capstan
1995Jake's ProgressJulie Diadoni6 episodes
1996Roald Dahl Little Red Riding Hood [47] Little Red Riding Hood
Television film, BBC
Brazen Hussies Maureen HardcastleTelevision film
1998 Jack and the Beanstalk Fairy Godmother
Talking Heads 2 MarjoryEpisode: "The Outside Dog"
1997MelissaPaula Hepburn5 episodes
1998–00 dinnerladies Petula9 episodes
1999 Oliver Twist Mrs Mann4 episodes
2001Strange RelationsSheila FitzpatrickTelevision movie
2002MurderAngela Maurer4 episodes
2003The ReturnLizzie HuntTelevision movie
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath BethEpisode: "The Wife of Bath"
2005 Ahead of the Class Marie Stubbs Television movie
2006 The Ruby in the Smoke Mrs Holland
2008 Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Mary Whitehouse
2009 A Short Stay in Switzerland Dr Anne Turner
Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas Bo Beaumont/Mrs. Overall
2010 Mo Mo Mowlam
2011 The Jury Emma WattsLimited Series; 5 episodes
2012 The Hollow Crown Mistress QuicklyLimited Series; 3 episodes
2015–16 Indian Summers Cynthia Coffin PBS Series; 20 episodes
2015 Very British Problems Herself/voiceover2 seasons
A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman Narrator BBC, documentary
2016 National Treasure Marie Finchley PBS Limited Series; 4 episodes
2017Our Friend VictoriaHerself / various charactersDocumentary series
Coastal Railways with Julie Walters Herself / presenter
2019, 2021- Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport Narrator
2020For the Love of BritainNarrator [48]


1976 The Taming of the Shrew PerformerRoyal Exchange
1976Funny PeculiarIrene Tinsley Mermaid Theatre
Garrick Theatre, London
1977 Breezeblock Park VeraMermaid Theatre
Whitehall Theatre
1979Flaming BodiesIrene Goodnight ICA Theatre, London
1980 Educating Rita Rita Royal Shakespeare Company, London
1981Having a BallLyric Hammersmith Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London
1984 Jumpers Dotty Royal Exchange Manchester
1984–85 Fool for Love May Royal National Theatre, London
1985 Macbeth Lady Macbeth Leicester Haymarket Theatre
1986When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and ShoutPerformerWhitehall Theatre
1989 Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune Frankie Comedy Theatre
1991 The Rose Tattoo Serafina Playhouse, London
2000 All My Sons Katie Keller Royal National Theatre, London
2005 Acorn Antiques: The Musical Mrs. Overall Theatre Royal Haymarket
2012The Last of the HaussmansJudy Haussman Royal National Theatre, London



Walters was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1999 Birthday Honours, [49] Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, [50] and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama. [51]

Awards and nominations

1983Boys from the Black StuffAngie ToddNominated BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
1984Educating RitaRita Susan White Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated Academy Award for Best Actress
1987Personal ServicesChristine PainterNominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress
1992Stepping OutVeraNominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
2001Billy ElliotSandra Wilkinson BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated MTV Movie Award for Best Dance Sequence (shared with Jamie Bell)
All My SonsKate Keller Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
2002My Beautiful SonSheila Fitzpatrick British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2003MurderAngela Maurer British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2004The Canterbury TalesBeth Craddock British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2006Driving LessonsEvie WaltonSilver George for Best Actress (28th Moscow International Film Festival) [52]
2009A Short Stay in SwitzerlandDr Anne Turner International Emmy Award for Best Actress [53]
2010MoMo Mowlam British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2011 International Emmy Award for Best Actress
2015BrooklynMrs KehoeNominated BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
2017Film Stars Don't Die in LiverpoolBella TurnerNominated BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
2019Wild RoseMarionNominated BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress

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