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Julie Walters

Full / Real Name: Julia Mary Walters
Born: 22 February 1950 (74 years old)
Gender: Female

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Bio

Julie Walters, CBE is an English actress and novelist who came to international prominence for portraying the title role in the comedy film Educating Rita, in 1983, a role she had created on the West End stage which won her BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress.

She is also known internationally for her on-screen characterisation of Molly Weasley in seven of the eight Harry Potter films and for her collaborations with Victoria Wood, such as appearing with her in the award-winning sitcoms Victoria Wood As Seen On TV and Dinnerladies.

Walters came to prominence in 1981 through her TV series with Victoria Wood, Wood and Walters but it was 1983's film version of Educating Rita which brought huge solo success with a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination.

Her many film credits include Mamma Mia! (2008), Becoming Jane (2007) and Calendar Girls (2003). Recent television productions include The Jury, Mo and A Short Stay in Switzerland.

She was born Julia Mary Walters on February 22, 1950, the youngest of three and only daughter of Irish-Catholic parents. Convent schooled in Birmingham, she expressed an early desire to act. Her iron-willed mother had other ideas, however, and geared her towards a nursing career.

Dutifully applying at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Julie eventually gave up nursing when the pull to be an actress proved too strong.

Studying English and Drama at Manchester Polytechnic, she subsequently joined a theatre company in Liverpool and apprenticed as a stand-up comic.

A one-time company member of the Vanload improv troupe, she made her London stage debut in the aptly-titled comedy Funny Peculiar in 1975, and went on to develop a successfully bawdy act on the cabaret circuit.

While at Manchester, Julie befriended aspiring writer/comedienne Victoria Wood and the twosome appeared together in sketch comedy. A couple of their works, Talent and Nearly a Happy Ending, transferred to TV and were accompanied by rave reviews. Eventually they were handed their own TV series, Wood and Walters.

In 1980, Julie scored a huge solo success under the theatre lights when she made her London debut in Willy Russell's Educating Rita. For her superlative performance she won both the Variety Critic's and London Critic's Circle Awards as the young hairdresser who vows to up her station in life by enrolling in a university.

She conquered film as well when Educating Rita (1983) transferred to the big screen opposite Michael Caine as her Henry Higgins-like college professor, collecting a Golden Globe Award and Oscar nomination.

Reuniting with Victoria Wood in 1984, the pair continue to appear together frequently on TV, most recently with the award-winning series Dinnerladies (1998).

On stage Julie has impressed in a variety of roles ranging from the contemporary (Fool for Love, Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune) to the classics (Macbeth, The Rose Tattoo and All My Sons), winning the Olivier Award for the last-mentioned play.

Following her success as Rita, she immediately rolled out a sterling succession of film femmes including her seedy waitress-turned-successful brothel-owner in Personal Services (1987); the unsophisticated, small-town wife of Phil Collins in Buster (1988); a boozy, man-chasing mum in Killing Dad or How to Love Your Mother (1990); and Liza Minnelli's abrasive tap student in Stepping Out (1991).

Playing a wide variety of ages, she also mustered up a very convincing role as the mother of Joe Orton in the critically-acclaimed Prick Up Your Ears (1987).

She capped her career in films as the abrasively stern but encouraging dance teacher in Billy Elliot (2000) which earned her a second Oscar nod and a healthy helping of quirky character parts, including her charming, charity-driven widow who poses à la natural in Calendar Girls (2003), and the maternal witch-wife Molly Weasley in the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series.

For her work on film and TV, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has honoured Julie numerous times, including four awards in a row (2001-2004).

Married to Grant Roffey since 1997 after a 12-year relationship, the couple tend to a 70-acre organic farm they bought in Sussex. They have one child.

Julie was honoured with an OBE for her services to drama in 1999. A biography was published in 2003 entitled Julie Walters: Seriously Funny.


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