Julie Walters

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Julie Walters

Julie Walters at the Paddington Premiere.jpg
Walters at the premiere of Paddington in November 2014
Born (1950-02-22) 22 February 1950 (age 70)
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • author
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, comedian, and author. She is the recipient of four BAFTA TV Awards, two BAFTA Film Awards, two International Emmys, 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 movies, including Personal Services (1987), Stepping Out (1991), Sister My Sister (1994), Billy Elliot (2000), 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). Walters also played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter film series (2001–2011). 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 each. She starred in A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009), which won her an International Emmy for Best Actress. Walters was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (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, [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 a convent school [9] 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", [10] although she was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth because of her "high jinks".

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." [11] Her first job was in insurance at the age of 15. [12] 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. [13] 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. [14]



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).[ citation needed ]


Before making her London stage debut in Educating Rita, Walters had worked in regional theatre, stand-up comedy and cabaret. Her first serious acting role on TV was in Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982, and she broke into films with her Academy-Award-nominated, BAFTA Best Actress award-winning and Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical/Comedy award-winning performance opposite Michael Caine in Willy Russell's Educating Rita (1983), a role she had created on the West End stage.

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 played the lead character's wife, June, in the film Buster , released in 1988. 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 [15] and had a one-off television special, Julie Walters and Friends , [16] which featured writing contributions from Victoria Wood, Alan Bennett, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale.

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 . [17] 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.


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). In 2002, she again won a BAFTA for her performance as Paul Reiser's mother in My Beautiful Son.[ citation needed ]

Walters played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter film series. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the only film in the series not to have starred Walters.

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.[ citation needed ] 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. Also in 2006, she starred in the film Driving Lessons alongside Rupert Grint (who played her son Ron in the Harry Potter series), and later had a leading role in the BBC's adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel The Ruby in the Smoke .[ citation needed ]

In the summer of 2006, Walters published her first novel, Maggie's Tree. [18] 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.". [19] 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." [20] 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. [21]

Walters played Mary Whitehouse in the BBC Drama Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story , 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." [22] 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. [23]

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". [24] Her other awards include an International Emmy with for A Short Stay in Switzerland .[ citation needed ]


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, [25] but the result was highly praised by critics. [26] [27]

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 . [28] 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. [29]

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. [30] She played the part of Cynthia Coffin in the ten-part British drama serial Indian Summers aired on Channel 4 in 2015.[ citation needed ] 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. [31]

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. [32]

Walters was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2018. Having had surgery and chemotherapy, she entered remission. This meant, however, 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 . [33]

Walters is a lifelong supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, having been brought up in Smethwick.


1975 Second City Firsts TerryTV: 1 episode
1977 The Liver Birds Girl in surgeryTV: 1 episode
1978 Me—I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf Woman in waiting roomTV film
1978, 1982 Play for Today Debbie/ValerieTV: 2 episodes
1979 Empire Road Jean WatsonTV: 2 episodes
Talent Julie StephensTV
1979–1981ScreenplayFrances/JulieTV: 3 episodes
1980 Nearly a Happy Ending Julie StephensTV film
1981 Wood and Walters various rolesTV
Happy Since I Met You FrancesTV film
BBC2 Playhouse Mrs MorganTV: 1 episode
1982 Boys from the Blackstuff Angie ToddTV: 1 episode
Objects of AffectionJune PotterTV: 1 episode
1983 Educating Rita Susan "Rita" White
1984 Love and Marriage BonnieTV: 1 episode
1985 She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas Fran
Dreamchild Dormouse (voice)
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ Pauline MoleTV: 5 episodes
Car Trouble Jacqueline Spong
1985–1986 Victoria Wood As Seen on TV various charactersTV: 13 episodes
1987 Personal Services Christina Painter
Prick Up Your Ears Elsie Orton
Theatre Night LuluTV: 1 episode
1986–1987 Acorn Antiques Mrs. OverallTV: 6 episodes
1988 Talking Heads LesleyTV: 1 episode: "Her Big Chance"
Buster June Edwards
Mack the Knife Mrs Peachum
1989 Victoria Wood various rolesTV: 3 episodes
1990Killing Dad or How to Love Your MotherJudith
1991Julie Walters and Friendsherself/various rolesTV
G.B.H. Mrs MurrayTV: 7 episodes
Stepping Out Vera
1992 Just like a Woman Monica
Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast various rolesTV
1985, 1993 Screen Two Mavis/MonicaTV: 2 episodes
1993 Screen One : Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift in the US)Diana LongdenTV: 1 episode
1994 Bambino Mio AliceTV film
Sister My Sister Madame Danzard
Pat and Margaret Pat BedfordTV film
Requiem ApacheMrs CapstanTV film
1995Jake's ProgressJulie DiadoniTV: 6 episodes
1996Roald Dahl Little Red Riding Hood [34] Little Red Riding Hood / GrandmaTV film
Intimate Relations Marjorie Beasley
Brazen Hussies Maureen HardcastleTV film
1997BathtimeMiss Gideon
MelissaPaula HepburnTV: 5 episodes
1998 Jack and the Beanstalk Fairy GodmotherTV film
Girls' Night Jackie Simpson
Titanic Town Bernie McPhelimy
Talking Heads 2 MarjoryTV: 1 episode: "The Outside Dog"
1998–2000 dinnerladies PetulaTV: 9 episodes
1999 Oliver Twist Mrs MannTV: 4 episodes
2000 Billy Elliot Mrs Wilkinson
2001 Lover's Prayer Princess Zasyekin
My Beautiful SonSheila FitzpatrickTV
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Molly Weasley
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
MurderAngela MaurerTV: 4 episodes
Before You Go Theresa
2003 Calendar Girls Annie
The ReturnLizzie HuntTV
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath BethTV
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Molly Weasley
Mickybo and Me Mickybo's Ma
2005 Wah-Wah Gwen Traherne
Ahead of the Class Marie Stubbs TV
2006 Driving Lessons Evie Walton
The Ruby in the Smoke Mrs HollandTV
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Molly Weasley
Becoming Jane Mrs Austen
2008 Mamma Mia! Rosie
Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Mary Whitehouse TV
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Molly Weasley
A Short Stay in Switzerland Dr Anne TurnerTV
Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas Bo Beaumont/Mrs. OverallTV
2010 Mo Mo Mowlam TV
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Molly Weasley
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Gnomeo and Juliet Miss Montague(voice)
The Jury Emma WattsTV
2012 Brave Witch (voice)
Henry IV, Parts I and II , and Henry V Mistress QuicklyTV films
Thread of EvidenceBetty Beesom
2013 Effie Gray Margaret Cox Ruskin
Justin and the Knights of Valour Gran (voice)
One Chance Yvonne Potts
The Harry Hill Movie Harry's Nan
2014 Paddington Mrs. Bird
2015–2016 Indian Summers Cynthia CoffinTV: 20 episodes
2015 Brooklyn Mrs Kehoe
Very British Problems Herself/voiceoverTV
A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman NarratorTV
2016 National Treasure Marie FinchleyTV
2017Our Friend VictoriaHerself / various charactersDocumentary series
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool Bella Turner
Paddington 2 Mrs Bird
Coastal Railways with Julie Walters Herself / presenterDocumentary series
2018 Sherlock Gnomes Miss Montague (voice)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Rosie
Mary Poppins Returns Ellen
2019 Wild Rose Marion
2019–present Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport Herself / narratorDocumentary series
2020 The Secret Garden Mrs MedlockPost-production



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


Walters was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1999 Birthday Honours, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama. [35]

Awards and nominations

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
1983Boys from the Black StuffAngie ToddNominated BAFTA Television 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 Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
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) [36]
2009A Short Stay in SwitzerlandDr Anne Turner International Emmy Award for Best Actress [37]
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

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