Imelda Staunton

Last updated on the 28 March 2024 by Maeve

Imelda Staunton

Mini Biography

Born: 9 January 1956, Archway, London, England. 

Imelda Staunton grew up in a working-class family. Her parents, Bridie and Joseph Staunton, were both Irish immigrants who instilled in her a love for the arts from an early age. Imelda discovered her passion for acting during her formative years, often participating in school plays and local theater productions. 

After completing her secondary education, Staunton pursued her acting aspirations by enrolling at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Staunton’s illustrious career spans over four decades, during which she has showcased her remarkable talent across a wide range of roles. Here are a few of her most notable performances.

In 2004, Staunton delivered a tour de force performance as the titular character in “Vera Drake.” Her portrayal of a kind-hearted working-class woman performing illegal abortions in 1950s England earned her widespread acclaim. Staunton’s emotionally charged portrayal earned her numerous awards, including a BAFTA, a Golden Globe nomination, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Staunton brought the beloved character of Dolores Umbridge to life in the “Harry Potter” film series. Her portrayal of the manipulative and tyrannical Hogwarts professor resonated with audiences worldwide. Staunton’s ability to balance comedic timing with a chilling villainous presence made her a standout in the franchise.

On the stage, Imelda Staunton wowed audiences with her portrayal of Rose in the 2015 revival of the musical “Gypsy” at London’s Savoy Theatre. Her magnetic performance earned her critical acclaim and a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Staunton’s rendition of the iconic character showcased her commanding stage presence and vocal prowess.

Imelda Staunton joined the cast of the acclaimed television series “Downton Abbey” for its 2019 film adaptation. Playing the role of Lady Bagshaw, she seamlessly integrated into the ensemble and delivered a nuanced performance. Her impeccable timing and ability to portray complex emotions made her a valuable addition to the beloved period drama.



WINNER|Film: Actress in a Leading ROLE for Vera Drake 2005



Suggested viewing


Vera Drake (2004)

Vera Drake

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.6

“Vera Drake” tells the story of a kind-hearted woman in 1950s London who secretly performs abortions for women in need. When her actions are discovered, she faces the consequences of her illegal activities, leading to a trial that forces her family and community to confront their own beliefs and values.

Top cast: Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Sally Hawkins, Daniel May’s, Eddie Marsan, Alex Kelly, Ruth Sheen, Adrian Scarborough, Heather Craney, Lesley Manville.

The Crown (2016)

Imelda Staunton The Crown poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.6

“The Crown” is a historical drama series that chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Spanning several decades, the show explores the personal and political challenges faced by the Queen as she navigates her duties, relationships, and the changing landscape of post-war Britain. It offers a fascinating insight into the British monarchy.

Top cast: Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, Claudia Harrison, Marcia Warren, Jonny Lee Miller, Olivia Williams, Lesley Manville.

Cranford (2007)


Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.3

“Cranford” portrays the lives of the residents of a small English town in the 1840s. Filled with humour, drama, and social interactions, the story revolves around the daily struggles and triumphs of the town’s predominantly female population, highlighting their friendships, romances, and the challenges they face in a rapidly changing society.

Top cast: Eileen Atkinson, Judi Dench, Lisa Dillon, Simon Woods, Claudie Blakley, Philip Glenister, Julia Mackenzie, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton.

Downton Abbey (2019)

Downton Abbey

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.4

The film “Downton Abbey” continues the story of the Crawley family and their loyal staff at the fictional Downton Abbey estate in England. Set in 1927, the film follows the household’s preparations for a royal visit, while also delving into personal dramas, relationships, and the changing social dynamics of the era.

Top cast: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Kevin Doyle, Imelda Staunton.

Pride (2014)

Pride, film poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.8

“Pride” is a heartwarming true story set in 1984 during the UK miners’ strike. A group of LGBTQ+ activists forms an unlikely alliance with a small Welsh mining community. Together, they challenge prejudice, fight for equality, and show the power of solidarity in the face of adversity.

Top cast: George Mackay, Ben Schnetzer, Freddie Fox, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun.

Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


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