Walters first 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 roles include Personal Services (1987), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Buster (1988), Stepping Out (1991), Calendar Girls (2003) and Mamma Mia! (2008). She has also 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 is well known for her collaborations with Victoria Wood and has 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 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress four times, for My Beautiful Son (2001), Murder (2002), The Canterbury Tales (2003) and as Mo Mowlam in Mo (2010). She also 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.
Julie 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. She became an OBE in 1999 and CBE in 2008.
- You only have to hear her speak to know she is simply not the retiring type. And Julie Walters is keen that description should now be taken literally…especially by film-makers.
The 62-year-old became the latest screen veteran to attack the prevailing cult of youth as she admitted that film offers are drying up as the years pass. Award-winning: Walters has won six Baftas and a Golden Globe over her 30-year career but says the chance of another film offer is remote. “Please do campaign on my behalf.”
“But that is no longer the case. Youth is not everything.”
“Now we have all the baby boomers in their 60s, like me, who are actively engaged in life – we’re not retiring, we’re not just going to be put out to grass once we hit 60.”
This, she said, suggested a general attitude in Hollywood that women her age were “grotesque on some level”.
Dame Helen has also criticised a distinct lack of film roles for older women.