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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Profile: Julie Walters
Julie Walters
Walters has emerged as one of Britain's best-loved actresses
Julie Walters' success at the 2004 Bafta TV Awards further endorses her credentials as one of Britain's best-loved actresses.

Her award for the lead role in The Wife of Bath, one of BBC Two's recent updates of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, is the latest recognition of her acting talents.

Despite two Oscar nominations, several Baftas wins and six nominations, Walters has consistently turned her back on Hollywood.

Her ability to do both drama and comedy on stage and on the big and small screens has ensured her career has never become stale.

Walters was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar in 2001 for her role as the dance teacher in Billy Elliot.

Julie Walters
Walters starred in The Wife of Bath, a Bafta success
The award eventually went to Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock - the second time Walters has lost out at the Academy Awards.

In 1983, the Birmingham-born ex-nurse was up for a best actress Oscar for her performance as a Liverpudlian hairdresser in Educating Rita, a role she had created on stage.

The prize that time went to Shirley MacLaine, but Walters was subsequently inundated with lucrative offers from Hollywood studios.

Instead, she returned home to continue her work in TV and theatre with long-time collaborators like Victoria Wood and Alan Bleasdale.

Awarded an OBE for services to drama in 1999, Walters is recognised as one of this country's most gifted character actresses.

Julie Walters and Victoria Wood
Walters was a hit as Mrs Overall in Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques
Among her comedy credits are Dinnerladies, Acorn Antiques and Pat and Margaret, all with Wood.

But she also has the ability to play more serious roles including Boys from the Blackstuff, GBH, Buster and Girls' Night.

Walters' career almost ended in 1991 when she discovered her three-year-old daughter Maisie was suffering from leukaemia.

Maisie has since recovered, but Walters chose not to tread the boards for nine years.

She has recently gained a new generation of fans after appearing as Mrs Weasley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Jamie Bell and Julie Walters
Walters starred with Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot
She had an even bigger role in the second instalment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was released in 2002. She appears again in the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, which is released in June.

Walters also starred alongside British stalwart Dame Helen Mirren in Calendar Girls, a comedy about a group of 11 Women's Institute members who stripped for a cancer-charity calendar.

The film - like the original calendar - did well both in the UK and the US, but did not quite match the success of some previous British hits.

Both the film and her role in The Wife of Bath saw her disrobe - something she says she is more comfortable with at the age of 54 than she was as a younger actress.


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