more from decider

What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix Originals, And More
What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix...
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick & Megan: Summer of 69', Meryl Streep, And More
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick &...
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,' And More
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,'...
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,' 'Fantastic Beasts,' And More
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,'...
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water', 'Whitney: Can I Be Me', And More
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water',...
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The Birdcage,' And More
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The...
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,' 'Take This Waltz,' And More
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,'...
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The Wraith,' And More
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The...
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,' And More
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,'...
Today In TV History

Today in TV History: Dame Maggie Smith, All-Star Thrower of Old-Lady Shade, Was Born

Where to Stream

Downton Abbey

Of all the great things about television, the greatest is that it’s on every single day. TV history is being made, day in and day out, in ways big and small. In an effort to better appreciate this history, we’re taking a look back, every day, at one particular TV milestone. 

IMPORTANT DATE IN TV HISTORY: December 28, 1934

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Dame Maggie Smith is an Oxford-trained actress, veteran of the Royal National Theater, was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1990, has been nominated for the Academy Award six times, having won twice, for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and California Suite, and is one of only six actresses ever to win Oscars as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, putting her in the company of Helen Hayes, Jessica Lange, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, and Ingrid Bergman. And yet today, on her 81st birthday, it’s very probably true that most people (at least most people in America) know her for playing a quippy old dowager on Downton Abbey.

Which is fine! Maggie Smith has been very good on Downton Abbey, and even if that show has fallen off some in recent years, that doesn’t really make it her fault. She’s given us so much on that show. From her perfect befuddlement as to the concept of weekends …

… to her finding no end of fun new ways to throw shade at the people surrounding her. The woman is a treasure, and when Downton Abbey does end up following the old ways into the dustbin of history, it will be the Dowager Countess whom we will miss the most.

Happy birthday, Maggie Smith. Take a long weekend, won’t you?

[Where to stream Downton Abbey.]

Decider

Get the Newsletter.

Sign up for news, stories, offers, and more, all from Decider's Webby Award-nominated newsletter.

By clicking above you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

X