Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith Gets a National Portrait Gallery Painting: What Do We Think?

Dame Maggie Smith, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey and general luminary of stage and screen who has won seven BAFTA awards and two Oscars is certainly deserving of an official portrait in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. It’s a great honor, and one which she has certainly earned.

So, it’s definitely a fantastic thing that the great actress has been so honored – Smith’s portrait was revealed at the London museum on April 9. However, well, it could be said that this particular bit of artwork is not quite the equal of the lady it’s depicting. (In my ever so humble opinion of course. Someone convince me I’m wrong!)

Have a look for yourselves below.

Rare Dame Maggie Smith Interview Set to Happen on 60 Minutes

All Downton Abbey fans are probably going to want to make sure that they tune in to CBS news program 60 Minutes this weekend (February 17) because it’s going to be a rare opportunity to see an interview with the Dowager Countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith!

We all love Dame Maggie and her fantastic portrayal of Downton’s indomitable Dowager Countess, but it’s common knowledge that the star rarely makes public appearances like this. The two-time Oscar winner has a shelf full of awards for her portrayal of Violet Crawley , including multiple Golden Globes and Emmys, but the actress has never picked any of them up herself. Smith is notorious for never attending awards shows and the actress hardly ever does promotional appearances or interviews like this. (Read: Also pretty much never.) Get a sneek peek at Dame Maggie's CBS interview after the jump.

Rejoice, Downton Abbey Fans: The Dowager Countess Returneth

Downton Abbey fans, we can all breathe a (gigantic) sigh of relief. Though we already knew that everyone’s favorite costume drama was going to be back for a fourth series, filming is set to begin in just a few weeks – though word on the street from the Television Critics Association Press Tour this week says that Downton Series 4 will still bow in January 2014 in America.

Anyway, yes, that’s all awesome and everything, obviously, but let’s get to the news we really care about – for what is Downton without the acerbic wit and cutting one liners of the Dowager Countess? Well, thankfully, we won’t have to find out anytime soon. TV Line News reported exclusively yesterday that executive producer Gareth Naeme has confirmed Dame Maggie Smith has signed on for the drama’s fourth series. (Warning: Series 3 spoilers are present over at that site so tread carefully if you visit it!)

Smith was originally contracted for the show’s first three series, but there had been some doubt about whether the actress would choose to continue on past that point in the role that’s won her a boatload of acting awards in recent years. In another interview with TV Line earlier this year, creator Julian Fellowes explained that Smith was in charge of her own destiny on the show.

“I can’t tell you, ‘Oh, yes, she’s definitely contracted [for Season 4] — because she isn’t,” Fellowes said at the time. “It’s entirely up to her when she stays and when she goes.”

“With Maggie, you never know,” he added. “Other [actors] sign on for the next series and they sign for this and they sign for that, but she doesn’t. She stays her own person. But as far as I’m concerned, I hope she stays with the show until Downton falls down.”

We do too, Julian. We do too. Series 4 certainly seems like a good start!

Happy Birthday, Maggie Smith: Celebrate the Dowager Countess with a Few of Her Other Fantastic Roles

Happy birthday to the Dowager Countess herself! The incomparable Dame Maggie Smith turns 78 today.

Last year, we celebrated with our favorite Lady Violet moments, but this year it seemed worthwhile to celebrate Smith’s entire catalog of fantastic performances, especially as there are likely some people who have come to know her primarily from her role on Downton Abbey and are subsequently missing out on a lot of great films!

Ten of my favorite Dame Maggie performances (complete with trailers) are below – what are yours? Did I leave out something must-see?

12 Days of Downton: Celebrate Maggie Smith’s Birthday with the Best of the Dowager Countess

Happy Birthday to the Dowager Countess herself! Dame Maggie Smith turns 77 today.

The Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning actress is well known for fantastic performances on both stage and screen, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Travels with My Aunt, A Room with A View, Gosford Park, and her turn as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films.

Her amazing performance as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is a major highlight of Downton Abbey. The delightfully imperious head of the Crawley family gets all the best lines, and Smith’s impeccable delivery is fantastic.

So, what better way to celebrate the birthday of such a great lady than to relive some of her best Downton moments? Click through for the most memorable scenes from the Dowager Countess – and be sure to share any favorites that may have been left out in the comments!