Dame Judith Olivia Dench CH DBE FRSA (born 9 December 1934) is an English actress. Regarded as one of Britain's best actresses, she is noted for her versatile work in various films and television programmes encompassing several genres, as well as for her numerous roles on the stage. Dench has garnered various accolades throughout her career spanning over six decades, including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, two Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy Television Awards, six British Academy Film Awards and seven Olivier Awards.
Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years, she performed in several of Shakespeare's plays, in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Although most of Dench's work during this period was in theatre, she also branched into film work and won a BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer. In 1968, she drew excellent reviews for her leading role of Sally Bowles in the musical Cabaret.
Over the next two decades, Dench established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She received critical acclaim for her work on television during this period, in the series A Fine Romance (1981–1984) and As Time Goes By (1992–2005), in both of which she held starring roles. Her film appearances were infrequent, and included supporting roles in major films, such as James Ivory's A Room with a View (1985), before she rose to international fame as M in GoldenEye (1995), a role she continued to play in eight James Bond films, until her final cameo appearance in Spectre (2015).
An eight-time Academy Award nominee, Dench won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998); her other Oscar-nominated roles were for Mrs Brown (1997), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006), Philomena (2013) and Belfast (2021). She is also the recipient of several honorary awards, including the BAFTA Fellowship Award, the Society of London Theatre Special Award and the British Film Institute Fellowship Award.