Dame Julia Mary Walters (born 22 February 1950) is an English actress, writer and comedian. She is the recipient of four BAFTA TV Awards, two BAFTA Film Awards, a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe. She has been nominated twice for an Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Walters came to international prominence in 1983, for playing the title role in Educating Rita. It was a role she had created on the West End stage and it earned her an Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress. It also won her a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. She received a second Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in the 2000 film Billy Elliot, which also won her a BAFTA.
Her other film credits include Personal Services, Prick Up Your Ears (both 1987), Buster (1988), Stepping Out (1991), Sister My Sister (1994), Girls' Night, Titanic Town (both 1998), Calendar Girls (2003), Wah-Wah (2005), Driving Lessons (2006), Becoming Jane (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008) and its sequel (2018), Brave (2012), Paddington (2014) and its sequel (2017), Effie Gray (2014), Brooklyn (2015), Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). She played Molly Weasley in seven of the eight Harry Potter films (2001–2011). On stage, she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the 2001 production of All My Sons.
On television, she collaborated with Victoria Wood, and appeared with her in 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 for her portrayal of Mo Mowlam in Mo (2010); Walters and Helen Mirren are the only actresses to have won the award thrice consecutively and Walters is tied with Judi Dench for the most nominations in the category, at seven each. She starred in A Short Stay in Switzerland in 2009, which won her an International Emmy for Best Actress. In 2006, she came fourth in ITV's poll of the public's 50 Greatest TV stars in Britain. In 2008, she released her autobiography titled That's Another Story.
The youngest of five children and the third to survive birth, Walters had an early education at a convent school and later at Holly Lodge Grammar School for Girls on Holly Lane in Smethwick. "It was heaven when I went to an ordinary grammar school", she said in 2014,Radio Times, 29 November-5 December 2014, p. 33 although she was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth because of her "high jinks". In an interview with Alison Oddey, Walters said about her early schooling: "I was never going to be academic, so my suggested that I try teaching or nursing ... I'd been asked to leave school, so I thought I'd better do it." Performing Women: Stand-ups, Strumpets and Itinerants, by Alison Oddey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, p. 305
Her first job was in insurance at the age of 15. At 18 she trained as a student nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and worked on the ophthalmic, casualty and coronary care wards during the 18 months she spent there. Walters decided to leave nursing, and studied English and drama at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University). She worked for the Everyman Theatre Company in Liverpool in the mid-1970s, alongside several other notable performers: Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Jonathan Pryce, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale.
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 Parody soap opera, Acorn Antiques (she later appeared in the musical version, and received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts).
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 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, alongside actors Neil Morrissey, Adrian Edmondson, Paul Merton, Denise van Outen and Julian Clary. From 1998 until 2000 she played Petula Gordeno in Victoria Wood's BBC sitcom dinnerladies.
In the late 1990's she featured in a series of adverts for Bisto gravy.
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. 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.
In the summer of 2006, Walters published her first novel, Maggie's Tree. 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.".Rachel Hore, Manhattan Transfer . The Guardian, 14 October 2006; retrieved 2 September 2013. 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."Susan Jeffreys, Maggie's Tree, by Julie Walters . The Independent, 13 October 2006; retrieved 2 September 2013. 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 . The same year, she released her autobiography, titled That's Another Story.
Walters played Mary Whitehouse in the BBC Drama , 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." 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.
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". Her other awards include an International Emmy with for A Short Stay in Switzerland.
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. 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.
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. She played the part of Cynthia Coffin in the ten-part British drama serial Indian Summers aired on Channel 4 in 2015. 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.
In August 2014, she featured in the first episode in the eleventh series of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? The programme revealed that her maternal ancestors played an active part in the 19th-century Land War. Although not included in the programme, Walters' paternal grandfather, Thomas Walters, was a veteran of the Second Boer War. He was killed in action in World War I in June 1915, serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial, France.
Walters was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2018. Having had surgery and chemotherapy, she entered remission. Her recovery, however, meant she had to be cut from certain scenes in The Secret Garden. She also had to miss the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
|1975||Second City Firsts||Terry||TV: 1 episode|
|1977||The Liver Birds||Girl in surgery||TV: 1 episode|
|1978||Me—I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf||Woman in waiting room||TV film|
|1978, 1982||Play for Today||Debbie/Valerie||TV: 2 episodes|
|1979||Empire Road||Jean Watson||TV: 2 episodes|
|1979–1981||Screenplay||Frances/Julie||TV: 3 episodes|
|1980||Nearly a Happy Ending||Julie Stephens||TV film|
|1981||Wood and Walters||various roles||TV|
|Happy Since I Met You||Frances||TV film|
|BBC2 Playhouse||Mrs Morgan||TV: 1 episode|
|1982||Boys from the Blackstuff||Angie Todd||TV: 1 episode|
|Objects of Affection||June Potter||TV: 1 episode|
|1983||Educating Rita||Susan "Rita" White|
|1984||Love and Marriage||Bonnie||TV: 1 episode|
|1985||She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas||Fran|
|The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾||Pauline Mole||TV: 5 episodes|
|Car Trouble||Jacqueline Spong|
|1985–1986||Victoria Wood As Seen on TV||various characters||TV: 13 episodes|
|1987||Personal Services||Christina Painter|
|Prick Up Your Ears||Elsie Orton|
|Theatre Night||Lulu||TV: 1 episode|
|1986–1987||Acorn Antiques||TV: 6 episodes|
|1988||Talking Heads||Lesley||TV: 1 episode: "Her Big Chance"|
|Mack the Knife|
|1989||Victoria Wood||various roles||TV: 3 episodes|
|1990||Killing Dad or How to Love Your Mother||Judith|
|1991||Julie Walters and Friends||herself/various roles||TV|
|G.B.H.||TV: 7 episodes|
|1992||Just like a Woman||Monica|
|Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast||various roles||TV|
|1985, 1993||Screen Two||Mavis/Monica||TV: 2 episodes|
|1993||Screen One: Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift in the US)||Diana Longden||TV: 1 episode|
|1994||Bambino Mio||Alice||TV film|
|Sister My Sister||Madame Danzard|
|Pat and Margaret||Pat Bedford||TV film|
|Requiem Apache||Mrs Capstan||TV film|
|1995||Jake's Progress||Julie Diadoni||TV: 6 episodes|
|1996||Roald Dahl Little Red Riding Hood||Little Red Riding Hood / Grandma||TV film|
|Intimate Relations||Marjorie Beasley|
|Brazen Hussies||Maureen Hardcastle||TV film|
|Melissa||Paula Hepburn||TV: 5 episodes|
|1998||Jack and the Beanstalk||Fairy Godmother||TV film|
|Girls' Night||Jackie Simpson|
|Titanic Town||Bernie McPhelimy|
|Talking Heads 2||Marjory||TV: 1 episode: "The Outside Dog"|
|1998–2000||dinnerladies||Petula||TV: 9 episodes|
|1999||Oliver Twist||TV: 4 episodes|
|My Beautiful Son||Sheila Fitzpatrick||TV|
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||Molly Weasley|
|2002||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets|
|Murder||Angela Maurer||TV: 4 episodes|
|Before You Go||Theresa|
|The Return||Lizzie Hunt||TV|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Molly Weasley|
|Mickybo and Me||Mickybo's Ma|
|Ahead of the Class||Marie Stubbs||TV|
|2006||Driving Lessons||Evie Walton|
|The Ruby in the Smoke||TV|
|2007||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Molly Weasley|
|2009||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Molly Weasley|
|A Short Stay in Switzerland||TV|
|Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas||Bo Beaumont/Mrs. Overall||TV|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Molly Weasley|
|2011||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2|
|Gnomeo and Juliet||(voice)|
|The Jury||Emma Watts||TV|
|Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V||Mistress Quickly||TV films|
|Thread of Evidence||Betty 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|
|2015–2016||Indian Summers||Cynthia Coffin||TV: 20 episodes|
|Very British Problems||Herself/voiceover||TV|
|2016||National Treasure||Marie Finchley||TV|
|2017||Our Friend Victoria||Herself / various characters||Documentary series|
|Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool||Bella Turner|
|Paddington 2||Mrs Bird|
|Coastal Railways with Julie Walters||Herself / presenter||Documentary series|
|Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again||Rosie|
|Mary Poppins Returns||Ellen|
|2019–present||Herself / narrator||Documentary series|
|2020||The Secret Garden||Mrs Medlock||Post-production|
|1984||Educating Rita||Rita 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
|1983||Boys from the Black Stuff||Angie Todd||Nominated – BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress|
|1987||Personal Services||Christine Painter||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress|
|1992||Stepping Out||Vera||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role|
|2001||Billy Elliot||Sandra 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 Sons||Kate Keller||Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress|
|2002||My Beautiful Son||Sheila Fitzpatrick||British Academy Television Award for Best Actress|
|2003||Murder||Angela Maurer||British Academy Television Award for Best Actress|
|2004||The Canterbury Tales||Beth Craddock||British Academy Television Award for Best Actress|
|2006||Driving Lessons||Evie Walton||Silver George for Best Actress (28th Moscow International Film Festival)|
|2009||A Short Stay in Switzerland||Dr Anne Turner||International Emmy Award for Best Actress|
|2010||Mo||Mo Mowlam||British Academy Television Award for Best Actress|
|2011||International Emmy Award for Best Actress|
|2015||Brooklyn||Mrs Kehoe||Nominated – BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress |
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
|2017||Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool||Bella Turner||Nominated – BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress|