Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton
, (born January 9 1956
) is an English actress
best known for her performances in the British
comedy television series Up the Garden Path
and the films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
and Vera Drake
. For the latter, in which she played the title character, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress
Staunton was born in Archway
, North London
to Bridie (née
McNicholas), a hairdresser
, and Joseph Staunton, a road-worker and labourer
. Both of her parents are first-generation Catholic
immigrants from County Mayo, Ireland
, with her father coming from Ballyvary
and her mother from Bohola
. She attended La Sainte Union Convent School
, an all girls catholic school on the edge of Hampstead Heath, from years 7 to 11. Staunton is married to the English actor Jim Carter
and they have a daughter, Bessie, born 1993.
Staunton trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
, then spent six years in English repertory
, including a period at the Northcott Theatre
where she had the title role in Shaw
's Saint Joan
), before moving back to London.
Staunton has stated that her first job was a play by Goldoni. Her most recent stage appearance was in the premiere of Frank McGuinness's There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Almeida in 2007.
She has twice received an Olivier Award, Britain's highest theatre honour, for roles in two 1985 productions: A Chorus of Disapproval and The Corn Is Green and for the 1991 Into the Woods. She was nominated for her performance as Miss Adelaide in the 1996 revival of Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre.
She was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for her services to drama.
One of her first films was an appearance in the 1992
movie Peter's Friends
. Other early roles include performances in Much Ado About Nothing
), Deadly Advice
), Sense and Sensibility
) Twelfth Night
), Chicken Run
), Another Life
), Bright Young Things
(2003), and Freedom Writers
Staunton shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance by a Cast in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love. In 2004, she received the Best Actress honours at the European Film Awards, the BAFTAs, and the Venice Film Festival for her performance of the title role in Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, which also won Best Picture. For the same role, she received Best Actress nominations for the 2005 Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
Staunton portrayed Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), a performance described as "coming close to stealing the show. She was nominated in the "British Actress in a Supporting Role" category at the London Film Critics Circle Awards. She will most likely reprise the role for the final films of the series.
Her latest role was the lead in the British comedy, Three and Out, released on 25th April 2008.
In 1993 she appeared on the small screen alongside Richard Briers
and Adrian Edmondson
in If You See God, Tell Him
. She has had other television parts in The Singing Detective
) and the comedy drama series Is it Legal?
(1995-8). She was a voice artist
on Mole's Christmas
). She had a guest role playing Mrs Mead in Little Britain
in 2005, and in 2007 played the free-thinking gossip, Miss Pole, in the BBC1 five-part drama series based on Mrs Gaskell's Cranford novels
On radio, she has appeared in the title role of detective drama series Julie Enfield Investigates, as the lead, Izzy Comyn, in the comedy Up the Garden Path (which later moved to ITV with Staunton reprising the role), as Mrs Blatherwick, the vile cook in Nanny McPhee, and in Diary of a Provincial Lady (from 1999) and Acropolis Now.
Two seasons at the Northcott Theatre Exeter:
Two seasons at the Nottingham Playhouse (1980-81?):
Theatre roles in London::
- Guys and Dolls (Mimi, Hotbox Girl, 1982), National Theatre Olivier
- The Beggar’s Opera (Lucy Lockit, 1982), National Theatre Cottesloe
- Schweyk in the Second World War (Anna, 1982) National Olivier
- Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide, 1983) National Olivier
- A Mad World, My Masters (Janet Cloughton, 1984) Theatre Royal Stratford East
- Us Good Girls (Paulette, 1984) Soho Poly
- The Corn Is Green (Bessie Watty, 1985), Old Vic - Olivier award
- A Chorus of Disapproval (Hannah Llewellyn, 1985) National Olivier - Olivier award
- The Fair Maid of the West (Bess Bridges, 1987) RSC Mermaid Theatre
- They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Gloria Beatty, 1987) RSC Mermaid
- The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy, 1987) RSC Barbican Theatre
- Uncle Vanya (Sonya, 1988) Vaudeville Theatre
- The Lady and the Clarinet (Luba, 1989) The King's Head Theatre, Islington
- Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife, 1990) Phoenix Theatre - Olivier award
- Rona Munro's Bold Girls (Cassie, 1991) Hampstead Theatre
- Tony Kushner’s Slavs! (Bonfila, 1994) Hampstead Theatre
- Habeas Corpus (play) (Mrs Swabb, 1996) Donmar Warehouse
- Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide, 1996) National Olivier - Olivier nomination
- Divas at the Donmar: Imelda Staunton and Her Big Band (1st-5th September, 1998} Donmar Warehouse
- Yasmina Reza's Life X Three (Ines, 2000) National Cottesloe, then transferring to the Old Vic (2001)
- Michael Hasting's Calico (Nora Barnacle, 2004) Duke of York's Theatre
- Frank McGuinness's There Came a Gypsy Riding (Margaret, 2007) Almeida