Judi Dench was born in 1934 in North Yorkshire. She attended the York School of Art, however she quickly changed courses and moved to the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art in London.
Early in her career, Dench performed in a number of Shakespeare plays, with her debut role with the Old Vic Company in 1957. She had roles in Hamlet as Ophelia, as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Dench was brought into film. She earned her first BAFTA award for her role in Four in the Morning in 1965. Yet, it was theatre in which she concentrated over the next two decades, with films coming along every so often.
Outside of the theatre, she is perhaps best known for her role as M in the James Bond movies, starting with Goldeneye in 1995 right up until Skyfall in 2012. Her first leading movie role came in 1997, as Queen Victoria in the biographic film Mrs Brown, for which she won an Oscar nomination. Some of her other notable movies include Chocolat, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal.
In 2006, she returned the theatre work, with a role in Hay Fever, as well as The Merry Wives of Windsor with the [Royal Shakespeare Company](https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/actor-profile/royal-shakespeare-company) in the same year. In 2009, he played Madame de Montruil in Madame de Sade at the Wyndham’s Theatre. In 2010, she performed alongside Peter Hall in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Rose Theatre. More recently, she has starred in Peter and Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre and The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse. Read a review of The Vote starring Judi Dench here.