Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Downton Abbey cast joined by Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast of the hit country house show, Downton Abbey.
Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern. producer Rebecca Eaton, writer Julian Fellowes and producer Gareth Neame accept the award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 'Downton Abbey - Masterpiece Classic' onstage during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC via Getty Images)
Julian Fellowes and the ladies of Downton Abbey have lots to celebrate

Hollywood royalty is heading to Downton Abbey with actress Shirley MacLaine joining the cast of the hit country house show.

The 77-year-old actress, sister of Warren Beatty, will play Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) in the third series of the ITV1 show.

MacLaine, who won the best actress Oscar in 1983 for Terms Of Endearment, will join the cast when they start filming next month.

She has starred in more than 50 films, had six Oscar nominations and written several best-sellers in a career that spans more than half a century.

Gareth Neame, from Carnival Films which produces the show, said: "My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.

"Julian (Fellowes) has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her."

Laura Mackie, director of drama at ITV, said MacLaine's arrival on the show was a tribute to its "success on both sides of the Atlantic".

Downton Abbey scooped the award for best television mini series at the Golden Globes earlier this month.

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