Penelope Wilton stars in "Downton Abbey" on PBS as Isobel Crawley. Wilton is delighted that viewers have embraced the clash of the battle-axes Isobel and Violet, particularly because it was the opportunity to work with her personal heroine Maggie Smith that in part attracted her to Downton Abbey. "I very much hope they will repeat that, as those sorts of scenes are so much fun to play. There's more energy going on, it's more interesting. Also, Julian has plotted it so there's build up of irritations and clashes of wills between Violet and Isobel. These are very strong women, who are used to being in charge of their own properties and their own homes."

Wilton also stars in the HBO original movie "The Girl," opposite Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren. On the big screen, Wilton recently starred in Fox Searchlight Pictures' "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," opposite Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith, as Jean Ainslie.

Born in England to a former actress and businessman father, Penelope Wilton moved to London when she was young, attended the Drama Centre, and began acting in the early 1970s. Her first love was the stage, where she garnered many honors for her work. Wilton has twice won the London Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress for "Much Ado About Nothing" (1981) and "The Deep Blue Sea" (1993). She also received an Olivier nomination for the latter production. Other theater credits include "Afterplay" at the Gielgud, London, "Little Foxes" at the Donmar, "Heartbreak House" at the Almeida, "A Kind of Alaska" at the Donmar, for which she won the Irish Theatre Best Actress Award in 1997, and several productions at the National Theatre and Royal Court.

Wilton has worked with some of Britain's most accomplished directors both on stage and screen, including Richard Eyre, Jonathan Miller, Peter Hall, Karel Reisz and Harold Pinter. Best known for her stage work, she has starred in several acclaimed films including the Academy Award-winning "Iris," directed by Richard Eyre, Christopher Hampton's "Carrington," Howard Davies' "The Secret Rapture," Richard Attenborough's "Cry Freedom" and Karel Reisz' "The French Lieutenant's Woman."

Wilton has appeared in several "Masterpiece" productions on PBS including "Country Matters," "The Tale of Beatrix Potter," "Wives and Daughters" and "Lucky Jim." Other notable film and television projects include "North by Northamptonshire," "South Riding," "Five Days," "The Borrowers," "Iris," "Calendar Girls," "Shaun of the Dead," "Match Point" and "Doctor Who," "Bob and Rose," "Alan Bennett's Talking Heads" and "The Monocled Mutineer."




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FACTS

How old is she? Find out here.

Age: 70 years old
Birthday: June 3, 1946
Full Name / Real Name: Penelope Alice Wilton
Birthplace: Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Husband: Ian Holm (1991 - 2001, divorced)
Daniel Massey (1975 - 1984, divorced, 1 child)





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