I can hardly believe that it is more than half a century since I first stepped on to the stage of the Old Vic Theatre and into a way of life that has brought me the most rewarding professional relationships and friendships. I cannot imagine now ever doing anything else with my life except acting…" – Judi Dench
From London's glittering West End to Broadway's bright lights, from her Academy Award-winning role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love to "M" in the James Bond films, Judi Dench has treated audiences to some of the greatest performances of our time. She made her professional acting debut in 1957 with England's Old Vic theatre company playing Ophelia in Hamlet , Katherine in Henry V (her New York debut), and then, Juliet. In 1961, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company playing Anya in The Cherry Orchard with John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft. In 1968, she went beyond the classical stage to become a sensation as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, adding musical comedy to her repertoire. Over the years, Dench has given indelible performances in the classics as well as some of the greatest plays and musicals of the twentieth century including Noël Coward's Hay Fever, Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, Kaufman and Hart's The Royal Family and David Hare's Amy's View (for which she won the Tony Award). Recently, she made a triumphant return to A Midsummer Night's Dream as Titania, a role she first played in 1962, now played as a theatre-besotted Queen Elizabeth I. Her film career has been filled with unforgettable performances of some unforgettable women: Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown, the terrifying schoolteacher Barbara Covett in Notes on a Scandal and the writer Iris Murdoch in Iris. And, for the BBC, Dench created another unforgettable woman when she brought her great comic timing and deeply felt emotions to the role of Jean Pargetter in the long-running BBC series As Time Goes By.
And Furthermore is, however, more than the story of a great actress's career. It is also the story of Judi Dench's life: her early days as a child in a family that was in love with the theatre; her marriage to actor Michael Williams; the joy she takes in her daughter, the actress Finty Williams, and her grandson, Sammy. Filled with Dench's impish sense of humor, diamond-sharp intelligence and photos from her personal archives, And Furthermore is the book every fan of the great Judi Dench will cherish.
In this warmhearted memoir, actress Dench brings such a fresh and natural reaction as she describes her roles from Mother Courage to Cleopatra, Lady Bracknell and Sally Bowles that a sense of identification occurs; Dench shows the theatrical inside plumbing of the player and how personal insights, emotional backstories, and initial responses create the character. She believes she is blessed with her marriage to actor Michael Williams and a supportive and understanding family, sharing stories about them as well as about actors Sir John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Stephen Sondheim. Her tales of finding movie fame later in her career and her trips on the Oscar red carpet are heartfelt whether she's with Cate Blanchett or Vin Diesel. With candor and wit, Dench interweaves her stage presences with her love of playing pranks on fellow actors, on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and on Broadway. Considering the idea of retirement, she says, "you retire to do things that you really want to do. Well, I am doing things I want to do now." Photos.