Julie Walters

Dame Julia Mary Walters DBE (born 22 February 1950) is an English actress and writer. She is the recipient of four BAFTA TV Awards, two BAFTA Film Awards, a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe. She has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, in the categories of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Julie Walters

Walters at the premiere of Paddington, November 2014
Julia Mary Walters

(1950-02-22) 22 February 1950
ResidencePlaistow, West Sussex, England
Alma materManchester Polytechnic
OccupationActress, author
Years active1972–present
Home townSmethwick, England
Grant Roffey (m. 1997)
Partner(s)Pete Postlethwaite (c.1974–1979)

Walters came to international prominence in 1983, for playing the title role in Educating Rita. It was a role she had created on the West End stage and it earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. It also won her a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. She received a second Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in the 2000 film Billy Elliot, which also won her a BAFTA. Her other film credits include Personal Services, Prick Up Your Ears (both 1987), Buster (1988), Stepping Out (1991), Sister My Sister (1994), Girls' Night, Titanic Town (both 1998), Calendar Girls (2003), Wah-Wah (2005), Driving Lessons (2006), Becoming Jane (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008) and its sequel (2018), Brave (2012), Paddington (2014) and its sequel (2017), Effie Gray (2014), Brooklyn (2015), Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). She played Molly Weasley in seven of the eight Harry Potter films (2001–2011). On stage, she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the 2001 production of All My Sons.

On television, she collaborated with Victoria Wood, and appeared with her in several television shows including Wood and Walters (1981), Victoria Wood As Seen on TV (1985–1987), Pat and Margaret (1994), and dinnerladies (1998–2000). She has won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress four times, for My Beautiful Son (2001), Murder (2002), The Canterbury Tales (2003), and for her portrayal of Mo Mowlam in Mo (2010). She starred in A Short Stay in Switzerland in 2009, which won her an International Emmy for Best Actress. In 2006, she came fourth in ITV's poll of the public's 50 Greatest TV stars in Britain. In 2008, she released her autobiography titled That's Another Story.

Early life

Walters was born in St Chad's Hospital,[1] Edgbaston, Birmingham,[2] which was then the main maternity hospital for Smethwick, then in Staffordshire. Her parents, Mary Bridget (née O'Brien), a Roman Catholic postal clerk born in County Mayo, Ireland, and Thomas Walters, an English builder and decorator, lived at 69 Bishopton Road, near Lightwoods Park, in the Bearwood area of Smethwick.[3][4][5] The youngest of five children and the third to survive birth,[6] Walters had an early education at a convent school[7] and later at Holly Lodge Grammar School for Girls on Holly Lane in Smethwick. "It was heaven when I went to an ordinary grammar school", she said in 2014,[8] although she was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth because of her "high jinks". In an interview with Alison Oddey, Walters said about her early schooling: "I was never going to be academic, so [my mother] suggested that I try teaching or nursing [...] I'd been asked to leave school, so I thought I'd better do it."[9]

Her first job was in insurance at the age of 15.[10] At 18 she trained as a student nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and worked on the ophthalmic, casualty and coronary care wards during the 18 months she spent there.[11] Walters decided to leave nursing, and studied English and drama at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University). She worked for the Everyman Theatre Company in Liverpool in the mid-1970s, alongside several other notable performers: Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Jonathan Pryce, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale.[12]



Walters first received notice as the occasional partner of comedian Victoria Wood, whom she had briefly met in Manchester. The two first worked together in the 1978 theatre revue In at the Death, followed by the television adaptation of Wood's play Talent.

They went on to appear in their own Granada Television series, Wood and Walters, in 1982. They continued to perform together frequently over the years. The BAFTA-winning BBC follow-up, Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, featured one of Walters's best-known roles, Mrs Overall, in Wood's parodic soap opera, Acorn Antiques (she later appeared in the musical version, and received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts).


Before making her London stage debut in Educating Rita, Walters had worked in regional theatre, stand-up comedy and cabaret. Her first serious acting role on TV was in the classic Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982, and she broke into films with her Academy-Award-nominated, BAFTA Best Actress award-winning and Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical/Comedy award-winning performance opposite Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983), a role she had created on the West End stage.

In 1985, she played Adrian Mole's mother, Pauline, in the TV adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. Walters appeared in the lead role of Cynthia Payne in the 1987 film Personal Services – a dramatic comedy about a British brothel owner. Then she played the lead character's wife, June, in the film Buster, released in 1988. She also appeared as Mrs. Peachum in the 1989 film version of The Threepenny Opera, which was renamed Mack the Knife for the screen.


In 1991, Walters starred opposite Liza Minnelli in Stepping Out[13] and had a one-off television special, Julie Walters and Friends,[14] which featured writing contributions from Victoria Wood, Alan Bennett, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale.

In 1993, Walters starred in the TV film Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift outside the UK) alongside Jim Broadbent and Thora Hird. The film was based on the book by the author Deric Longden and tells the story of the final years of his marriage to his wife, Diana, who contracted a degenerative illness that medical officials were unable to understand at the time, though now believed to be a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis.

In 1998 she starred as the Fairy Godmother in the ITV pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk,[15] alongside actors Neil Morrissey, Adrian Edmondson, Paul Merton, Denise van Outen and Julian Clary. From 1998 until 2000 she played Petula Gordeno in Victoria Wood's BBC sitcom dinnerladies.


In 2001, Walters won a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. She received her second Oscar nomination and won a BAFTA for her supporting role as the ballet teacher in Billy Elliot (2000). In 2002, she again won a BAFTA for her performance as Paul Reiser's mother in My Beautiful Son.

Walters played Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter film series. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the only film in the series not to have starred Walters.

In 2003, Walters starred as a widow (Annie Clark) determined to make some good come out of her husband's death from cancer in Calendar Girls, which starred Helen Mirren. In 2005, she again starred as an inspirational real-life figure, Marie Stubbs in the ITV1 drama Ahead of the Class. In 2006, she came fourth in ITV's poll of the public's 50 Greatest Stars, coming four places above frequent co-star Victoria Wood. Also in 2006, she starred in the film Driving Lessons alongside Rupert Grint (who played her son Ron in the Harry Potter series), and later had a leading role in the BBC's adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel The Ruby in the Smoke.

In the summer of 2006, Walters published her first novel, Maggie's Tree.[16] The novel, concerning a group of English actors in Manhattan and published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, was described as "a disturbing and thought-provoking novel about mental torment and the often blackly comic, mixed-up ways we view ourselves and misread each other.".[17] Another reviewer, Susan Jeffreys, in The Independent, described the novel as "the work of a writer who knows what she's doing. There's nothing tentative about the writing, and Walters brings her experiences as an actress to bear on the page. ... you do have the sensation of entering someone else's mind and of looking through someone else's eyes."[18] Walters starred in Asda's Christmas 2007 TV advertising campaign. She also appeared alongside Patrick Stewart in UK Nintendo DS Brain Training television advertisements, and in a public information film about smoke alarms. In summer 2008, Walters appeared in the film version of Mamma Mia!, playing Rosie Mulligan, marking her second high-profile musical, after Acorn Antiques: The Musical!. The same year, she released her autobiography, titled That's Another Story.[19]

Walters played Mary Whitehouse in the BBC Drama Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, an adaptation of the real-life story of Mrs. Whitehouse who campaigned for "taste and decency on television". Walters commented, "I am very excited to be playing Mary Whitehouse, and to be looking at the time when she attacked the BBC and started to make her name."[20] Filth won Best Motion Picture Made for Television, and Walters was nominated for Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made For Television, at the 2008 13th Annual Satellite Awards.[21]

In 2009, she received a star in the Birmingham Walk of Stars on Birmingham's Golden Mile, Broad Street. She said: "I am very honoured and happy that the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands want to include me in their Walk of Stars and I look forward to receiving my star. Birmingham and the West Midlands is where I'm from; these are my roots and in essence it has played a big part in making me the person I am today".[22] Her other awards include an International Emmy with for A Short Stay in Switzerland.


Walters played the late MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam in a drama for Channel 4 broadcast in early 2010. She had misgivings about taking on the role because of the differences in their physical appearance,[23] but the result was highly praised by critics.[24][25]

In July 2012, Walters appeared in the BBC Two production The Hollow Crown as Mistress Quickly in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts I and II.[26] In the summer of 2012, she voiced the Witch in Pixar's Brave (2012). In 2012 she worked with LV= to promote one of their life insurance products targeted at people over 50. Walters was seen in television advertisements, at the lv.com website and in other marketing material helping to raise awareness for life insurance.[27]

Walters appeared in The Last of the Haussmans at the Royal National Theatre in June 2012. The production was broadcast to cinemas around the world through the National Theatre Live programme.[28] She played the part of Cynthia Coffin in the ten-part British drama serial Indian Summers aired on Channel 4 in 2015. In 2015, she appeared in the romantic drama film Brooklyn, a film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Her performance in the film earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Walters voiced the Lexi Decoder (LEXI) for Channel 4 during the 2016 Paralympic Games. The graphical system aims to aid the viewing experience of the games by debunking the often confusing classifications that govern Paralympic sport.[29]

Personal life

Walters' relationship with Grant Roffey, an Automobile Association patrol man, began after a whirlwind romance. The couple have a daughter, Maisie Mae Roffey (born 26 April 1988), but did not marry until 1997, when they went to New York City. The couple live on an organic farm run by Roffey near Plaistow, West Sussex.[30]

In August 2014, she featured in the first episode in the eleventh series of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? The programme revealed that her maternal ancestors played an active part in the 19th-century Irish Land Wars.[31] Although not included in the programme, Walters' paternal grandfather, Thomas Walters, was a veteran of the Second Boer War. He was killed in action in World War I in June 1915, serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial, France.[32]


Year(s) Title Role Notes
1975 Second City Firsts Terry TV: 1 episode
1977 The Liver Birds Girl in surgery TV: 1 episode
1978 Me—I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf Woman in waiting room TV film
1978, 1982 Play for Today Debbie/Valerie TV: 2 episodes
1979 Empire Road Jean Watson TV: 2 episodes
Talent Julie Stephens TV
1979–1981 Screenplay Frances/Julie TV: 3 episodes
1980 Nearly a Happy Ending Julie Stephens TV film
1981 Wood and Walters various roles TV
Happy Since I Met You Frances TV film
BBC2 Playhouse Mrs Morgan TV: 1 episode
1982 Boys from the Blackstuff Angie Todd TV: 1 episode
Objects of Affection June Potter TV: 1 episode
1983 Educating Rita Susan "Rita" White
1984 Love and Marriage Bonnie TV: 1 episode
1985 She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas Fran
Dreamchild Dormouse (voice)
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ Pauline Mole TV: 5 episodes
Car Trouble Jacqueline Spong
1985–1986 Victoria Wood As Seen on TV various characters TV: 13 episodes
1987 Personal Services Christina Painter
Prick Up Your Ears Elsie Orton
Theatre Night Lulu TV: 1 episode
1986–1987 Acorn Antiques Mrs. Overall TV: 6 episodes
1988 Talking Heads Lesley TV: 1 episode: "Her Big Chance"
Buster June Edwards
Mack the Knife Mrs Peachum
1989 Victoria Wood various roles TV: 3 episodes
1990 Killing Dad or How to Love Your Mother Judith
1991 Julie Walters and Friends herself/various roles TV
G.B.H. Mrs Murray TV: 7 episodes
Stepping Out Vera
1992 Just like a Woman Monica
Victoria Wood's All Day Breakfast various roles TV
1985, 1993 Screen Two Mavis/Monica TV: 2 episodes
1993 Screen One: Wide-Eyed and Legless (known as The Wedding Gift in the US) Diana Longden TV: 1 episode
1994 Bambino Mio Alice TV film
Sister My Sister Madame Danzard
Pat and Margaret Pat Bedford TV film
Requiem Apache Mrs Capstan TV film
1995 Jake's Progress Julie Diadoni TV: 6 episodes
1996 Roald Dahl Little Red Riding Hood[33] Little Red Riding Hood / Grandma TV film
Intimate Relations Marjorie Beasley
Brazen Hussies Maureen Hardcastle TV film
1997 Bathtime Miss Gideon
Melissa Paula Hepburn TV: 5 episodes
1998 Jack and the Beanstalk Fairy Godmother TV film
Girls' Night Jackie Simpson
Titanic Town Bernie McPhelimy
Talking Heads 2 Marjory TV: 1 episode: "The Outside Dog"
1998–2000 dinnerladies Petula TV: 9 episodes
1999 Oliver Twist Mrs Mann TV: 4 episodes
2000 Billy Elliot Mrs Wilkinson
2001 Lover's Prayer Princess Zasyekin
My Beautiful Son Sheila Fitzpatrick TV
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Molly Weasley
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Murder Angela Maurer TV: 4 episodes
Before You Go Theresa
2003 Calendar Girls Annie
The Return Lizzie Hunt TV
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath Beth TV
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Molly Weasley
Mickybo and Me Mickybo's Ma
2005 Wah-Wah Gwen Traherne
Ahead of the Class Marie Stubbs TV
2006 Driving Lessons Evie Walton
The Ruby in the Smoke Mrs Holland TV
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Molly Weasley
Becoming Jane Mrs Austen
2008 Mamma Mia! Rosie
Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story Mary Whitehouse TV
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Molly Weasley
A Short Stay in Switzerland Dr Anne Turner TV
Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas Bo Beaumont/Mrs. Overall TV
2010 Mo Mo Mowlam TV
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Molly Weasley
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Gnomeo and Juliet Miss Montague (voice)
The Jury Emma Watts TV
2012 Brave Witch (voice)
Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V Mistress Quickly TV films
Thread of Evidence Betty Beesom
2013 Effie Gray Margaret Cox Ruskin
Justin and the Knights of Valour Gran (voice)
One Chance Yvonne Potts
The Harry Hill Movie Harry's Nan
2014 Paddington Mrs. Bird
2015–2016 Indian Summers Cynthia Coffin TV: 20 episodes
2015 Brooklyn Mrs Kehoe
Very British Problems Herself/voiceover TV
A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman Narrator TV
2016 National Treasure Marie Finchley TV
2017 Our Friend Victoria Herself / various characters Documentary series
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool Bella Turner
Paddington 2 Mrs Bird
Coastal Railways with Julie Walters Herself / presenter Documentary series
2018 Sherlock Gnomes Miss Montague (voice)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Rosie
Mary Poppins Returns Ellen
2019 Wild Rose Marion
2019–present Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport Herself / narrator Documentary series
2020 The Secret Garden Mrs Medlock Post-production




Walters was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1999 Birthday Honours, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama.[34]

Awards and nominations

Year Work Role Awards
1984 Educating Rita Rita Susan White Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated Academy Award for Best Actress
1983 Boys from the Black Stuff Angie Todd Nominated BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
1987 Personal Services Christine Painter Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress
1992 Stepping Out Vera Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
2001 Billy Elliot Sandra Wilkinson BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
All My Sons Kate Keller Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
2002 My Beautiful Son Sheila Fitzpatrick British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2003 Murder Angela Maurer British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2004 The Canterbury Tales Beth Craddock British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2006 Driving Lessons Evie Walton Silver George for Best Actress (28th Moscow International Film Festival)[35]
2009 A Short Stay in Switzerland Dr Anne Turner International Emmy Award for Best Actress[36]
2010 Mo Mo Mowlam British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
2011 International Emmy Award for Best Actress
2015 Brooklyn Mrs Kehoe Nominated BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
2017 Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool Bella Turner Nominated BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
  • Walters has won eight BAFTAs, six competitive awards plus two honorary awards. The first honorary award was a special BAFTA that she received at a tribute evening in 2003, before receiving the BAFTA Fellowship in 2014. In 2000, she was awarded the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film by the UK Critics' Circle.


  1. "St Chads Hospital". Bhamb14.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. Walters, Julie (2008). That's Another Story: The Autobiography. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-297-85206-3.
  3. Scott, Danny (3 September 2006). "Julia Walter". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  4. Mottram, James (14 May 2001). "Julie Walters: An actress in her prime". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. "Julie Walters Biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  6. Walters, Julie (2008). That's Another Story: The Autobiography. Orion Publishing Co. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-297-85206-3.
  7. "That's Another Story—Book Review". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  8. Radio Times, 29 November-5 December 2014, p. 33
  9. Performing Women: Stand-ups, Strumpets and Itinerants, by Alison Oddey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, p. 305
  10. Walters, Julie (2008). That's Another Story: The Autobiography. Orion Publishing Co. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-297-85206-3.
  11. Walters, Julie (2008). That's Another Story: The Autobiography. Orion Publishing Co. pp. 102–23. ISBN 978-0-297-85206-3.
  12. Nigel Farndale (25 March 2009). "Bill Nighy interview for The Boat That Rocked". The Daily Telegraph. UK.
  13. Staff, Variety (1 January 1991). "Stepping Out". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. Guide, British Comedy. "Julie Walters And Friends - ITV Sketch Show - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  15. Guide, British Comedy. "Jack & The Beanstalk - ITV Variety - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  16. Saner, Emine (13 October 2006). "It was like being videoed making love". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  17. Rachel Hore, Manhattan Transfer Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian, 14 October 2006; retrieved 2 September 2013.
  18. Susan Jeffreys, Maggie's Tree, by Julie Walters Archived 30 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The Independent, 13 October 2006; retrieved 2 September 2013.
  19. Julie Walters. "That's Another Story: The Autobiography by Julie Walters — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  20. Archived 6 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  21. "Satellite Awards, 2008". International Press Academy. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  22. "Julie Walters on Walk of Stars". BBC. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  23. "Julie Walters tells of fear over Mo Mowlam role". BBC. 20 January 2010.
  24. "Julie Walters' dramatic portrayal of Mo Mowlam 'is Bafta-worthy'". The Belfast Telegraph.
  25. James Rampton (29 January 2010). "Observations: Just a Mo for Julie Walters". The Independent. UK.
  26. "Cast confirmed for BBC Two's cycle of Shakespeare films" (Press release). BBC Drama Publicity. 24 November 2011. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  27. "Over 50 Life Insurance TV advert". Lv.com. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  28. "The Last of the Haussmans – Productions". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  29. "Julie Walters is revealed as the new voice of LEXI". Channel 4. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  30. "Beer, bunting and Julie Walters — village celebrates Diamond Jubilee with style". Telegraph. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  31. 9.00pm-10.00pm (1 January 1970). "Who Do You Think You Are? Julie Walters — Media Centre". BBC. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  32. "Julie Walters — Who Do You Think You Are — A popular actress with a very dramatic Irish ancestry and story of a tragic loss in the First World War". Thegenealogist.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  33. "Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood". BBC.
  34. "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B8.
  35. "28th Moscow International Film Festival (2006)". moscowfilmfestival.ru. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  36. "Previous Winners — International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". International Emmy Award. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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