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Also Known As: Julia Mary Walters Died:
Born: February 22, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Birmingham, England, GB Profession: actor, nurse

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This feisty, forthright actress with a tart essence first came to attention in her Oscar-nominated turn opposite Michael Caine in "Educating Rita" (1983). Instantly beloved by audiences after the film, in which she played an adult hairdresser who goes against her husband, family and the class structure to get an education, Walters eschewed a Hollywood career to return to Britain where she quickly became a popular character player and lead in numerous film and TV productions. Many of the latter have been released theatrically in the USA partly because of her drawing power.Walters was in some ways like Susan, the woman going by the name of Rita in "Educating Rita". She was in her second year of nursing school, when, despite the objection of her parents, she decided to switch to acting instead. After some study in Manchester, Walters made her stage debut in Liverpool in a production of "The Taming of the Shrew" and also performed a song, dance and comic imitations act at the tough dockside pubs in Liverpool. By 1976, she had made it to the London stage in "Funny Peculiar" and in 1980 starred in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Educating Rita". She has subsequently starred as Serafina in a...

This feisty, forthright actress with a tart essence first came to attention in her Oscar-nominated turn opposite Michael Caine in "Educating Rita" (1983). Instantly beloved by audiences after the film, in which she played an adult hairdresser who goes against her husband, family and the class structure to get an education, Walters eschewed a Hollywood career to return to Britain where she quickly became a popular character player and lead in numerous film and TV productions. Many of the latter have been released theatrically in the USA partly because of her drawing power.

Walters was in some ways like Susan, the woman going by the name of Rita in "Educating Rita". She was in her second year of nursing school, when, despite the objection of her parents, she decided to switch to acting instead. After some study in Manchester, Walters made her stage debut in Liverpool in a production of "The Taming of the Shrew" and also performed a song, dance and comic imitations act at the tough dockside pubs in Liverpool. By 1976, she had made it to the London stage in "Funny Peculiar" and in 1980 starred in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of "Educating Rita". She has subsequently starred as Serafina in a London production of Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo", Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love" and Terrence McNally's "Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune". Walters also appeared in "Pat and Margaret", a comedy about a woman who returns to Britain after starring in an American soap opera, which was later filmed for British TV.

After the success of the 1983 film version of "Educating Rita", Walters had offers in Hollywood. But after rejecting some scripts as substandard, she also realized that Hollywood was not going to offer the roles she wanted. Although a blazing success on talk shows like "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson", Walters elected to return to Britain. Some of the films she made as a leading lady in the 80s were less than successful (i.e., "She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas" 1985 and "Car Trouble" 1986); instead she seemingly rushed into character parts where she found better roles and more success. In 1987, she played a naive working woman who stumbles into a career as a madam in "Personal Services" and Joe Orton's working-class mother in "Prick Up Your Ears". Walters was cast as the loving wife of a train robber in "Buster" (1988) and played Mrs. Peachum in "Mack the Knife" (1989). In 1991, she traveled to Canada to make her first "Hollywood" film, the lackluster "Stepping Out", in which she was the fastidious and annoying tap dance student of Liza Minnelli.

In the early 90s, the actress took time to care for her daughter who had been diagnosed with leukemia. When the child went into remission, Walters resumed her film career. In "Sister My Sister" (1994), she was cast as the stern mistress of a household whose mistreatment of her two servants leads to violence. Walters delivered a richly nuanced portrayal of a conniving 1950s housewife who seduces a border with disastrous consequences in the based-on-fact "Intimate Relations" (1996). Looking much older and wearing unflattering period costumes and spectacles, she managed to delineate the woman's loneliness and frustration and humanized what could easily have become caricature in the hands of a less gifted artist. Her interplay with co-star Rupert Graves helped to maintain the film's blackly comic tone.

During the late 80s and into the 90s, Walters appeared in several films made for British TV that received theatrical release in the USA. "The Summer House" (made in 1992; released in the USA in 1993) offered her a somewhat routine character, the mother of a bride, but she managed to bring a conviction to the part and held her own amid formidable co-stars like Jeanne Moreau and Joan Plowright. In "Just Like a Woman" (made in 1992; released in USA in 1994), Walters was a divorcee who falls for a man with a penchant for cross-dressing. "The Wedding Gift/Wide-Eyed and Legless" (1993; USA release 1994) was a based-on-fact story of a woman with a terminal illness (Walters) who finds a second wife for her husband.

Specifically for British TV, Walters made one of her earliest appearance in "Talent" (Granada TV, 1979) which first teamed her with British comic Victoria Wood. They headlined their own variety series "Wood and Walters" (Granada TV, 1982) and Walters was a member of the stock company on "Victoria Wood--As Seen on TV" (BBC-2, 1985-86). In the latter, Walters was particularly praised for one characterization, an actress playing a hump-backed charwoman who constantly missed cues and bumped into the scenery in a recurring spoof of soap operas. She also made appearances on the darkly comic series "Boys from the Black Stuff" (BBC-2, 1982) and was the mother of the confused 13-year old in "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4" (Thames TV, 1985), a series based on the popular young adult novels. More recently, she supported Jennifer Ehle in the British series "Melissa" (1997).

Although she remains beloved for her comic collaborations with British comic Victoria Wood (appearing together in "dinnerladies" 1998 and "Wetty Haintrop Investigates" 1999), Walters has continue to be a critics' darling for her film work, particularly in the USA. She earned plaudits for her turn as a strong-willed housewife in 1970s Belfast who attempts to negotiate an end to the daily violence in "Titanic Town" (although originally screened at film festivals in 1998 and 1999, the film did not receive a theatrical release until The Shooting Gallery picked it up as part of its film series in 2000). A somewhat restrained Walters also received glowing critical kudos for her turn as the chain-smoking dance teacher who recognizes a young boy's potential in the crowd-pleasing "Billy Elliot" (2000). She followed playing Molly Weasley, the mother of the title character's best friend Ron in the highly anticipated "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), a cameo role she reprised in the 2002 and 2004 sequels.

Following a well-received turn in the U.K. telepics "My Beautiful Son" (2001)n playing terminal leukemia patient Paul Reiser's British birth mother, and "Murder" (2002)--both projects earned her back-to-back BAFTA TV Awards as Best Actress. Walters returned to the big screen starring with Helen Mirren among the ensemble of the sprightly British comedy "Calendar Girls" (2003), inspired by the true story of the Rylstone Women's Institute in North Yorkshire, a group of everyday women who decide to pose nude for their annual calendar to raise funds for Leukemia research, inspiring sales that outdid even the sexiest of celebrity calendars. Walters also had an acclaimed stint as the Wife of Bath in a British miniseries production of "The Canterbury Tales" (2003), for which she won a third consecutive BAFTA TV award as Best Actress.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Effie Gray (2014)
2.
 One Chance (2013)
3.
 Brave (2012)
4.
 Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
7.
9.
 Mamma Mia! (2008)
10.
 Becoming Jane (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Joined Granada's Stable Theatre for one year after finishing at Manchester Polytechnic
:
Made stage debut in the Liverpool production of "The Taming of the Shrew"
:
Joined Everyman Theatre company in Liverpool during mid-1970s
1976:
Made London stage debut in "Funny Peculiar"
1979:
Landed early TV appearance on the British series "Screenplay"
1980:
Appeared in the West End production of "Educating Rita"
1982:
Co-starred with Victoria Wood in the Granada TV series "Wood and Walters"
1982:
Cast on the BBC2 comedy-drama "Boys from the Black Stuff"
1983:
Reprised stage role for the film version of "Educating Rita"; earned first Best Actress Academy Award nomination
1984:
Appeared opposite Ian Charleson in British stage production of "Fool for Love"
1985:
Played the mother on the British TV series "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole"
1985:
Joined cast of the BBC variety series "Victoria Wood As Seen On TV"
1989:
Played lead role in British stage production of "Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune"
1991:
Starred opposite Ken Stott in the West End revival of "The Rose Tattoo"
1991:
Played Robert Lindsay's mother on the Channel 4 series "GBH"
1991:
First U.S. film role, opposite Liza Minnelli in "Stepping Out"
1992:
Headlined her own British TV special "Julie Walters and Friends" (ITV)
1993:
Starred in British TV-movie "Wide-Eyed and Legless" (released in the U.S. as "The Wedding Gift")
1994:
Garnered praise for her performance in "Sister, My Sister"
1996:
Co-starred with Rupert Graves in "Intimate Relations"
1997:
Landed featured role in the miniseries "Melissa" (Channel 4)
1998:
Played Victoria Wood's mother on the BBC comedy series "Dinnerladies"
1998:
Offered a strong performance as a 1970s Belfast housewife who tries to negotiate a peace in "Titanic Town"
1999:
Played Mrs. Mann in the miniseries remake of "Oliver Twist" (PBS)
2000:
Played the title character's supportive ballet teacher in "Billy Elliot"; earned a Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination
2000:
Acted on the London stage in a revival of "All My Sons"
2001:
Cast as Mrs. Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
2002:
Reprised role of Molly Weasley for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
2003:
Played a widow determined to make some good come out of her husband's death in "Calendar Girls"
2004:
Once again played Mrs. Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
2005:
Cast in Richard E. Grant's directorial debut "Wah-Wah"
2006:
Played the lead role in "Driving Lessons" alongside Rupert Grint (who played her son Ron in the "Harry Potter" series)
2007:
Portrayed Jane Austen's mother in the period film "Becoming Jane"
2008:
Featured in the film version of the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!"
2009:
Returned to play Molly Weasley for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
2010:
Reprised role of Molly Weasley for the seventh and final installment of the series directed by David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"
2011:
Appeared on the ITV drama "The Jury II"
2012:
Voiced The Witch in Disney Pixar animated feature "Brave"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Queen Elizabeth Hospital: -
Manchester Polytechnic: -
Manchester Polytechnic: -

Notes

Appointed to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999.

On her "Educating Rita" promotional tour of the USA: "I had great fun, but I was visiting, so I was free to say what I liked and go home. I couldn't take the glitz and lip gloss and shoulder pads, and the fact that people felt they have to look gorgeous all the time. I'd hate to be an actress in L.A. I couldn't stand the pressure." --Julie Walters in Newsday, August 1, 1994.

"Everyone falls in love with Julie Walters. She rubs off on people." --writer Alan Beasdale

On her character in "Billy Elliot", Walters told David Germain of Associated Press (Chicago Sun-Times, October 27, 2000): "I loved the woman. She was truthfully written, I felt. She was disappointed on every single level you can possibly be disappointed. And I just loved that."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Pete Postlethwaite. Actor. Worked together at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre.
husband:
Grant Roffey. Father of Maisie; together since 1985 when they met in a Fulham wine bar; married in at City Hall in NYC in 1997.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Maisie Roffey. Born c. 1988; Walters did not work for two years in the early 1990s to care for Maisie while she suffered with leukemia before the disease went into remission.

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