Judi Dench was born in York and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She made her stage debut as Ophelia in Hamlet at the Old Vic, followed by seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the National Theatre in London.
Her most well-known television credits include A Fine Romance, in which she starred with her husband, the late Michael Williams, and the long running television series As Time Goes By. Film credits include Mrs. Brown, Shakespeare In Love (for which she won an Oscar), The Last of the Blond Bombshells, Iris, Ladies in Lavender and Notes on a Scandal. She also plays "M" in the James Bond films.
Her most recent stage appearance was in Stratford-upon-Avon in which she played Mistress Quickly in Merry Wives – The Musical.
Dame Judi has Honorary Degrees from 18 Universities, both here and in the United States. She was awarded an OBE in 1970, elevated to a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1988, and made a Companion of Honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours' List in 2005.