Creator / Judi Dench

"It is true that there are few plays of Shakespeare that I haven't done."
Judi Dench

Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench (born December 9, 1934) is an award-winning English actress and right up there with Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson and Maggie Smithnote  in terms of being completely awesome. While she previously worked mostly in theater — notably with the Royal Shakespeare Company — she has become more prominent as a movie actress since she took on the role of "M" in the James Bond series.

She's also famous for winning an Academy Award for her role in Shakespeare in Love, where she stole the film with a grand total of nine minutes of screen time as Elizabeth I. Ironically, she had previously been nominated for Best Actress for playing Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, losing to Helen Hunt.

Ofcom, who handle complaints about television shows in the UK, sometimes refer to the "Judi Dench effect", noting that any swearword spoken by Judi Dench will result in more complaints than the same swearword spoken by anyone else. Which is kind of ironic, because, in her role as everyone's favorite cool auntie, she seems perfectly comfortable unleashing the occasional Precision F-Strike when necessary.

Word of God says she DM's for her grandkids, which is made of so much ridiculous awesome and win. Once word of this got out, no self-respecting geek would call her anything less than "Dame Judi Dench". Vin Diesel actually pushed to have her in one of his films so they could play the game together.

The ringtone on her phone is the James Bond theme. Apparently, it often went off in her scenes in the Bond movies, on-set hilarity ensuing.

While it has come to light that her eyesight is failing, Dench is adamant that she has no plans to quit acting. In addition to her acting work, she serves on the advisory board of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, co-founded by her friend Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen. She is also one of a small and incredibly privileged number of people to have read published obituaries - to themselves - whilst still alive. An internet hoax circulated in October 2015 that Judi Dench had died. Some news providers were taken in and published tributes and obituaries of her life. Read more here.

Fortunately, as of 2018, Judi Dench is not dead and is still acting. She has, most recently, appeared as a Princess in Murder On The Orient Express with Kenneth Brannagh. She's also very scary.

Her films include:

Her TV work includes:


  • Cool Old Lady: She can manifest the trope without breaking sweat.
  • Death Glare: One so effective that it even cows James Bond, who otherwise has problems deferring to people in authority (even men).
  • Grande Dame: She seems to have cornered the market in smart or downright dangerous versions of the trope; her M is just one example.
  • Handicapped Badass: She doesn't see her steadily going blind as any reason to stop acting.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: She's well-known for playing Ice Queen characters, perhaps most famously her time as M, but in real life she's a kindly, mellow, and down to earth person. Several of her younger costars including Daniel Craig have joked that she acts as everybody's adopted grandmother during productions.
  • One of Us: She regularly DMs Dungeons & Dragons campaigns for her grandchildren.
  • Playing Against Type: Judi is one of a small select club of women who have participated in panel comedy gameshow I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Stories were circulated on the Internet in October 2015 falsely stating she had died. Ms. Dench herself has since put out an official statement to the effect that she is still here and hopes to be present in the world for some time yet.
  • Shakespearean Actors: Where she started.