Eileen Atkins Biography
Eileen Atkins born Dame Eileen June Atkins is an English actress and screenwriter, known for her role as Queen Mary in the film ‘The Crown’. She studied at Parkside Preparatory School in Tottenham. She then joined The Latymer School, a grammar school in Edmonton, London and finally graduated in 1953, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.At the age of three, her mother enrolled her in a dance class after being told by a Gypsy woman who came to their door selling lucky heather and clothes pegs that, her daughter Eileen could be a famous dancer. She studied dancing from age 3 to 15 although she didn’t like it. From age 7 to 15, she danced in working men’s club circuits as Baby Eileen. During the second world war, she performed at London’s Stage Door canteen for American troops and sang songs like “Yankee Doodle.”
At the age of 12, she was professional in Clapham, panto and Kilburn. One of her grammar school teachers from Latymer School spotted her potential and quickly drilled away her Cockney accent free of charge, he then introduced her to the works of William Shakespeare, which she studied under him for two years.
She then attended drama demonstration sessions twice a year with this same teacher, she met Robert Atkins who asked her to study drama. She then joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a teaching course and drama classes for three-year course. In her last year, she performed in three plays.
Eileen Atkins Age
She was born on 16 June 1934 in Lower Clapton. She is 84 years old as of 2018.
Eileen Atkins Family
She was born to Annie Ellen, a barmaid and Arthur Thomas Atkins,a gas meter reader who was previously under-chauffeur to the Portuguese Ambassador. She was the third born in the family.
Eileen Atkins Husband
She was first married to actor Julian Glover in 1957 at the age of 21, the couple divorced in 1966. On 2nd February 1978, she got married to Bill Shepherd who later died on 24th June 2016. She has neo child.
Eileen Atkins Career
After graduation at Guildhall, she got her first job with Robert Atkins as Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost in 1953. She was also an assistant stage manager at the Oxford Playhouse for a short time, until Peter Hall fired her for impudence. She met Julian Glover in repertory companies where she was performing in Billy Butlin’s holiday camp in Skegness, Lincolnshire.
Since 1953, she begun working in the film, theatre, and television frequently. In 1957, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and first joined Broadway in the 1966 production of The Killing of Sister George. She was the co-creator of the television dramas Upstairs, Downstairs which begun from 1971 to 1975 and The House of Elliot of 1991 to 1993 with Jean Marsh. She is also the writer of the screenplay film Mrs Dalloway of 1997 . Other film appearances include Equus of 1977, The Dresser of 1983, Let Him Have It of 1991, Wolf, Magic in the Moonlight of 2014 and others.
Eileen Atkins Photo
Eileen Atkins Movies
- 2014: Magic in the Moonlight
- 2003: Cold Mountain
- 2010: Robin Hood
- 2003: What a Girl Wants
- 2013: Beautiful Creatures
- 2001: Gosford Park
- 2008: Last Chance Harvey
- 2010: Wild Target
- 2002: The Hours
- 1995: Cold Comfort Farm
- 2004: Vanity Fair
- 2006: Ask the Dust
- 2006: Scenes of a Sexual Nature
- 1995: Jack and Sarah
- 1991: Let Him Have It
- 2001: Wit
- 2002: Bertie and Elizabeth
- 1975: I Don’t Want to Be Born
- 2012: The Scapegoat
- 2007: Ballet Shoes
- 1991: The Lost Language of Cranes
- 1968: Inadmissible Evidence
- 2014: Suite Française
- 2003: A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda
- 1977: Equus
- 2007: Evening
- 1997: Mrs. Dalloway
- 1999: Women Talking Dirty
- 1983: The Dresser
- 1982: Oliver Twist
- 2005: The Feast of the Goat
- 2016: ChickLit
- 2004: The Queen of Sheba’s Pearls
- 1998: The Avengers
- 2000: Madame Bovary
- 1994: Wolf
- 1978: She Fell Among Thieves
- 2017: Carnage
- 1987: Roman Holiday
- 2000: David Copperfield
- 2017: Paddington 2
- 1983: Nelly’s Version
- 1985: A Better Class of Person
- 1987: The Vision
- 1970: The Three Sisters
- The Children’s Rebellion
- 1985: Titus Andronicus
- Marple Mystery: Towards Zero
- 2010: Tell Me
- Burston Rebellion
- Vita and Virginia
- Since 2016: The Crown
- 2010 – 2012: Upstairs Downstairs
- 2009 – 2011: Psychoville
- Since 2007: Cranford
- 2004 – 2018: Doc Martin
- 1991 – 1994: The House of Eliott
- 1988 – 1998: Talking Heads
- Since 1974: David Copperfield
- 1971 – 1975: Upstairs, Downstairs
- Madame Bovary
- Since 1964: The Massingham Affair
- Rosamunde Pilcher’s Shades of Love
Eileen Atkins The Crown
Based on an award-winning play (“The Audience”) by showrunner Peter Morgan, this lavish, Netflix-original drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from the 1940s to modern times. The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the queen, who ascended the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI. As the decades pass, personal intrigues, romances, and political rivalries are revealed that played a big role in events that shaped the later years of the 20th century.
First episode date: 4 November 2016
Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, MORE
Eileen Atkins Awards
- 2002: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Gosford Park.
- 2004: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, Honour
- 1999: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, The Unexpected Man.
- 2008: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie, Masterpiece.
- 2008: British Academy Television Award for Best Actress, Cranford.
- 1988: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, Cymbeline.
- 2002: Satellite Award for Best Ensemble – Motion Picture, Gosfoed Park.
- 1978: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, The Night of the Tribades.
- 1991: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, A Room of Oe’s Own.
- 1995: Obie Award for Performance, Vita and Virginia.
- 1972: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance, Vivat!Vivat Regina!
- 1995: Drama Desk Special Award
- 1995: Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production, A Room of One’s Own
- 2004: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, The Retreat from Moscow
- 1995: Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, Vivat!Vivat Regina!
- 1995: Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, A Room of Oe’s Own.
- 1993: Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress, The Night of The Iguana.
- 1991: New York Drama Critics’ Circle Special Citation, A Room of Oe’s Own.
Eileen Atkins Interview| The Salvation Army
Eileen Atkins Interview
Source: The Guardian
You are playing the title role in the RSC’s production of The Witch of Edmonton. Is a witch typical casting for a mature actress?
Eileen Atkins: Of course. Even today there’s a resentment of what you call mature and I call old people. They are thought of as witches. I have a very good speech in the play, saying that the only reason I’m called a witch is because I’m ill-favoured with age.
There is a terrible shortage of parts for older actresses, isn’t there?
Eileen Atkins: Absolutely. I’m just reading Antony Sher’s autobiography. I’ve never read anything so honest. I got quite angry and envious at times. He’s listed all the parts he wants to play in the future. What actress could do that?
How did you come to be cast as this witch?
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Eileen Atkins: Gregory Doran, the artistic director of the RSC, saw me play Rosalind when he was 12. His story was that it made him take up the theatre as a career. I think I’m a kind of talisman for his first season here. He offered me this part. I did say no twice. You have to look so terrible, you get depressed straight away. But there’s also a relish in playing someone so utterly hideous.
You were seven when you first went on the stage?
Eileen Atkins: I wasn’t an actress. I was a child performer. Really disgustingly horrible. My professional card said “Baby Eileen, soubrette and dancer”. Most of my gigs were at working men’s clubs in Tottenham, Stoke Newington and Hackney.
Did you like it?
Eileen Atkins: No, I hated it. I didn’t know about paedophilia but I knew that there was something wrong about me being told to waggle my arse at the audiences of men.
When you read about paedophilia cases now do you think back to that time?
Eileen Atkins: Oh gosh yes! My God, if all of us who were touched up complained, the whole country would rise up. I certainly was fiddled about with. It was quite normal then. People liked patting your bottom, some men drew you on to their lap.
When did you stop performing as a child?
Eileen Atkins: I went on till I was 12. My grammar school caught on to the fact that the reason I was falling asleep in class was that I was doing working men’s clubs till 10 or 11 at nights. My mother was told I shouldn’t do it any more. Of course I was bringing in money to the family so nobody liked hearing that.
You were born in a council house but you often seem to end up playing aristocrats?
Eileen Atkins: That was the main trouble in Upstairs Downstairs. I thought I was going to get a marvellous part as the old cook but I got the lady of the house. I hope that shows I am a real actor. Well that’s unfair, because someone like Hugh Grant plays himself brilliantly. He’s a marvellous actor. There seem to be two sorts of actors. Some people play themselves marvellously and others like me rather like to become someone else.
Can you still do cockney?
Eileen Atkins: Of course I can. Whenever I went back [home] to Tottenham I also went back to how they spoke. I think there’s so much stupidity at the moment about accents. There was a rule recently in drama schools that you must hold on to your original accent. I think that is deeply affected. For goodness sake, when you leave home you don’t need to have a house such as you were brought up in. There’s no need to have lino on the floor.
Have you ever played Cleopatra?
Eileen Atkins: I’ve turned it down about five times. I didn’t have the courage to do it. I knew there would be a swell of people thinking, “She’s not right for Cleopatra.” The one time I came close to playing it the director – it was Toby Robertson at the Old Vic – wanted to do it in Elizabethan clothes, as if she was like Elizabeth I. I thought it would be extremely difficult to be sexy in a farthingale.
Are you writing anything at the moment?
Eileen Atkins: I’ve got a movie that I’m writing. I’ve spent the summer doing rewrites for a Dutch director. It’s about Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West – about their affair. It’s been a long time bringing it to this point. I’m desperately trying to get Kate Winslet to read the script.
Didn’t you do a rap with some other actresses?
Eileen Atkins: Oh my God! We did the Dame Rap. Jean Marsh wrote it. It was Joan Plowright’s idea that we did a Tsunami charity gig. It was Helen Mirren, Judi Dench – I think every dame who was then around except Maggie Smith. It was when The Vagina Monologues were going on. We each had two lines. Mine were “I don’t brag about my vagina/ Because Virginia Woolf’s be a damn sight finer”.
You lived for some time in America?
Eileen Atkins: I was there for four years and I nearly settled there. But the trouble with being in America is you just get locked into English parts. I won’t do American parts in America, so it was getting dull. I like doing new plays, and the new stuff for English people was being done in England not in America.
Do you enjoy doing comedy?
Eileen Atkins: I do. That is one of the reasons I liked filming Magic in the Moonlight with Woody Allen. It has been absolutely slated by the critics, which I totally understand because it’s not about anything. But it’s sweet, it’s adorable. I think Woody Allen’s like me. We all know the serious streak in him, and I’ve got a very serious streak in me: I don’t believe that no one has a dark side. But he’s old. He’s 79, I’m 80. He wants sometimes to do something that is just flibbertigibbet, just fun.
How much do you think people’s clothes tell you about them?
Eileen Atkins: An enormous amount. I’m fascinated by that. I love dresses that just skim the body, that suggest what’s underneath rather than display it. I suppose that is my idea about life altogether. I hate tight, tight stuff showing every line. I want to be sick when people are in Lycra. Someone once commented that even if I wore fur, I would wear it on the inside of my coat not on the outside.
When you were about to turn 70, you had a new twist to your fame when Colin Farrell tried to get into your bed. Any more surprises?
Eileen Atkins: I really don’t like old women talking about sex. Or old men for that matter. I think after 65 you should really shut up. I’ve just had a very wonderful life: that’s all I’d say.