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Julie Walters, CBE (born 22 February 1950) is an Englishmarker actress and novelist.

Early life

Walters was born as Julia Mary Walters in Smethwickmarker, Sandwell, the daughter of Mary Bridget (née O'Brien), a postal clerk of Irish Catholic extraction, and Thomas Walters, a builder and decorator. The youngest of three children and only girl, Walters had an early education at a convent school and later at Holly Lodge Grammar School for Girlsmarker on Holly Lane in Smethwick, although she was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth due to 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." Her first job was in insurance at the age of 15. At 18 she trained as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birminghammarker and worked on the Ophthalmic, Casualty and Coronary Care wards during the 18 months she spent there. She fell madly in love with her first proper boyfriend who then left to study sociology in Manchestermarker. Walters decided to leave nursing and follow her boyfriend to Manchester and study English and Drama at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan Universitymarker) and pursued a career in the performing arts. Walters worked for the Everyman Theatre Companymarker in Liverpoolmarker in the mid 1970s, alongside several other notable performers: Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Jonathan Pryce, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale.



Walters first achieved fame as the occasional partner of comedienne Victoria Wood, whom she had 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 have continued to perform together frequently over the years. The Bafta-winning BBC follow-up, Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, featured one of Walters' best-known roles, Mrs. Overall in Wood's spoof soap opera, Acorn Antiques (she later appeared in the musical version, and received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts). She also appeared as Petula Gordino in Wood's sitcom dinnerladies.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 Endmarker stage. In 1991 she starred opposite Liza Minnelli in "Stepping Out" and had a one-off television special, Julie Walters and Friends, which featured writing contributions from Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett. Walters 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.


Walters has won numerous other acting awards, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1999 and raised to Commander level (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for her services to drama. In 2001, she 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). She often plays older women, and, in 2002, she won the BAFTA Television Best Actress award for her performance as Paul Reiser's mother in My Beautiful Son.

Walters also played Molly Weasley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

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 also starred Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds; in 2005, Walters again starred as inspirational real-life figure Marie Stubbs in the ITV1 drama Head 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 played the main role in an ITV drama Driving Lessons alongside Rupert Grint (who played her son Ron in the Harry Potter series), and later a leading role in the BBC's adaptation of Phillip Pullman's novel The Ruby in the Smoke. In the summer of 2006, she published her first novel, Maggie's Tree. Walters starred in Asda Christmas 2007 TV advertising campaign. She also currently appears alongside Patrick Stewart in UK Nintendo DS Brain Training television advertisements, and in a recent Public Information Film about smoke alarms. In summer 2008, Walters appeared in the movie version of Mamma Mia!, marking her second high profile musical, after Acorn Antiques.

Walters also 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." 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.

Walters will be receiving a star in the 'Walk of Stars' on Birmingham's Golden Mile, Broad Street in 2009. The Broad Street Walk of Stars honours those people who have made a significant contribution in the categories of music, television, film, radio, theatre, sport, business and literacy. The criteria for nomination are that the star(s) must have made a recognisable impact in their specialist category, performed at one of Birmingham's major venues, including the International Convention Centre (ICC), National Indoor Arena (NIA), Symphony Hall and The REP theatre, or be originally from the area or have prominent links with Birmingham and the Midlands.

Walters 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".

Julie Walters has currently won top Emmy awards with Ben Whishaw from her 2008 film, "Mama Mia".

Personal life

Marriage and daughter

Walters met her husband, Grant Roffey, an AA patrol man, in a whirlwind romance. The couple have a daughter, Maisie Mae Roffey (born 1988, City of Westminstermarker, Londonmarker), but did not marry until 1997, 11 years into their relationship, when they went to New Yorkmarker. The couple live on an organic farm run by Roffey in West Sussexmarker.

Victim of sexual assault

On 4 August 2008 it emerged that when Julie Walters was young, she and three other girls were abducted by an unknown assailant and subjected to sexual assault. "He tried to get us into a derelict house", she stated. "He touched me. It was nothing horrific, but it could have been. It was the start of a sexual assault. There were three of us, plus a little one, and you'd think there'd have been safety in numbers. But we were so frightened of him, we would have done anything." She kept the ordeal secret until she told her husband in 1995, aged 45. She talks about the events in detail in her autobiography 'That's Another Story'.



Year Work Role Awards
1983 Educating 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

2001 Billy Elliot Georgia 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
Emmy awards
Julie Walters


  • Julie Walters (1950-1999)
  • Julie Walters OBE (1999-2008)
  • Julie Walters CBE (2008-)


  1. Julie Walters - Times Online
  2. Julie Walters: An actress in her prime | Interviews | Film
  3. Julie Walters Biography (1950-)
  4. Performing Women: Stand-ups, Strumpets and Itinerants, by Alison Oddey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. p. 305
  5. Julie Walters on writing a novel | Interviews | Film
  6. The Mary Whitehouse Story Julie Walters takes the lead | Interviews |
  7. BBC Birmingham - Julie Walters on Walk of Stars (07 Oct 2008)

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