Judy Parfitt (born 7 November 1935) is a BAFTA-nominated English theatre, film and television actress who began her career on stage in 1954.
Life and work
Judy Parfitt was born in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, the daughter of Catherine Josephine (née Caulton) and Lawrence Hamilton Parfitt. As a teenager, she attended Notre Dame High School for Girls in Sheffield, and later trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
In 1981 she created the role of Eleanor in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Peter Nichols' Passion Play. In 1984 she played Deidre in Jack Rosenthal's The Chain. In 1987, she played the mother of Clive Durham for Merchant Ivory's Maurice. In 1995, she portrayed Kathy Bates' former, domineering employer in Dolores Claiborne, who is dying in present-time, but is seen as a vibrant, glowing woman in flashback sequences. Two of her most notable past roles are Mildred Layton in The Jewel in the Crown (1984) (for which she received her first BAFTA nomination), and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in 1980's TV serial version of Pride and Prejudice.
Parfitt appeared opposite Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright and Frank Finlay in the episode Saturday, Sunday, Monday of the TV Series Laurence Olivier Presents (1978).
She has appeared in some American television shows, beginning with her regular role as Snow White's Stepmother, Evil Queen Lillian "Lily" White in the series The Charmings. Parfitt's real-life husband Tony Steedman guest-starred as Santa Claus in The Charmings' second season Christmas special. She appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1989, and as the mother of Dr Elizabeth Corday (played by Alex Kingston) on several episodes of ER in 2002.
Parfitt played Lady Mount-Temple in the biopic film Wilde, alongside Stephen Fry, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Jones in 1997. In 2003, she played the scheming mother-in-law of Johannes Vermeer alongside Colin Firth in Girl with a Pearl Earring. The role earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, though she lost out to Renée Zellweger for her role in Cold Mountain.
She played the domineering American dowager, Mrs. van Schuyler, opposite David Suchet, James Fox, Frances de la Tour and David Soul in a feature-length episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot in the 2004 edition of Death on the Nile.
In 2008, she appeared as the primary villainess in Little Dorrit, as the cruel Mrs. Clennam, alongside Alun Armstrong, Sue Johnston and Matthew Macfadyen.
At Christmas 2011, she appeared in a small role similar to that which she portrayed in Little Dorrit as Aunt Chastity alongside Una Stubbs and Phyllida Law in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff.
In 2012, she began appearing in the BBC TV series Call the Midwife as Sister Monica Joan.
In 1966 Parfitt and actor Tony Steedman married in Harrow, Middlesex. He died in 2001. The couple had one child, a son, David.
BAFTA Film Awards
BAFTA TV Awards
- 2009 - Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - as Mrs Clennam in Little Dorrit - nominated
- 2014 - Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - as Sister Monica Joan in Call the Midwife - nominated
- Information Received (1962) - June Clifford
- The Odd Man (TV series) ep: "Portrait of Caroline" (1963) - Lisa Kapp
- Public Eye (TV series) ep: 'But the Joneses Never Get Letters' (1965) - Marion Hordern
- Out of the Unknown (TV series) ep: "Time in Advance" (1965) - Marie
- The Wednesday Play (TV series) ep: "Tomorrow, Just You Wait" (1965) - Dorothy Gorbet
- Z-Cars (TV series) ep: "But the Crying..." (1965) - Christine Haines
- The Man In Room 17 (TV series) ep: "First Steal Six Eggs" (1966) - Yvonne
- David Copperfield Rosa Dartle (1966)
- The Saint (TV series) ep: "The Persistent Patriots" (1967) - Anne Liskard
- Adam Adamant Lives! (TV series) ep: "Black Echo" (1967) - Ireyna
- Angel Pavement (1967 TV film) - Lilian Matfield
- Dixon of Dock Green (TV series) ep: "The Attack" (1968) - Mary Dewar
- Escape in Time (1967) - Vesta
- The Avengers (TV series) ep: "Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40?" (1968) - Loris
- Journey to the Unknown (TV series) ep: "Do Me a Favour, Kill Me" (1969) - Faith Wheeler
- Hamlet (1969) - Queen Gertrude
- The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) - Jenny Bannerman
- The Edwardians (1972 TV serial) - E. Nesbit
- Play for Today (TV series) ep: "Edward G: Like the Filmstar" (1973)
- The Protectors (TV series) ep: "Lena" (1973) - Lena Haydon
- Alice Through the Looking Glass (1974 TV film) - Red Queen
- Shoulder to Shoulder (1974 TV mini-series) - Lady Constance Lytton
- Galileo (1975) - Angelica Sarti
- Crown Court (episodes in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1982) as Pauline Fanshaw (1975) and as Mrs Gillian Forrest Q.C.
- Rumpole of the Bailey (TV series) ep: "Rumpole and the Honourable Member" (1978) - Anna Aspen
- Laurence Olivier Presents (TV Series) ep: "Saturday, Sunday, Monday" (1978)
- Secret Orchards (1979 TV movie) - Muriel Perry
- Malice Aforethought (1979 TV serial) - Julia Bickleigh
- Death of a Princess (1980 TV movie) - Elsa Gruber
- Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC TV serial) - Lady Catherine de Bourgh
- A Tale of Two Cities (1980 TV serial) - Madame Defarge
- Yes Minister (1981 TV series) - Betty Oldham, MP
- The Jewel in the Crown (1984 TV serial) - Mildred Layton
- Champions (1984) - Dr. Merrow
- The Chain (1984) - Deidre
- Deceptions (1985 TV film)
- Mr Pye (1986 TV serial) - Miss Dredger
- Maurice (1987) - Mrs. Durham
- The Charmings (TV series) - Queen Lillian White
- Dark Obsession (1989) - Lady Crewne
- Murder, She Wrote (TV series) ep: "From Russia... with Blood" (1989) - Peggy Brooks
- Getting It Right (1989) - Lady Stella Munday
- King Ralph (1991) - Queen Katherine
- The Alleyn Mysteries (TV series) ep: "The Nursing Home Murder" (1993) - Lady O'Callaghan
- The Return of the Borrowers (1993 TV film) - Mrs. Platter
- Dolores Claiborne (1995) - Vera Donovan
- Element of Doubt (1996) - Genevieve
- Goodbye My Love (1996 TV film)
- Holding the Baby (1997 TV series) "Episode #1.7" - Margaret
- Wilde (1997) - Lady Mount-Temple
- Berkeley Square (1998 TV serial) - Lady Harmonsworth
- Ever After (1998) - Queen Marie
- Midsomer Murders (TV series)
- Murder in Mind (TV series) episode: "Mercy" (2001) - Margaret Collins
- ER (several episodes) - Isabelle Corday (2002)
- Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) - Maria Thins
- Agatha Christie's Poirot - Death on the Nile (2004) - Miss Van Schuyler
- The Long Firm (2004 TV serial) - Lady Ruth Thursby
- Asylum (2005) - Brenda Raphael
- Funland (2005 TV series) (2005) - Mercy Woolf
- Heartbeat (2008 TV series) - Lady Veronique
- Dean Spanley (2008) - Mrs Brimley
- Little Dorrit (2008, TV serial) - Mrs Clennam
- Jonathan Creek: The Grinning Man (2009) - Constance Gessler
- The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (2011) - Aunt Chastity
- Call the Midwife (2012-present) - Sister Monica Joan
- The Syndicate (2012) - Maureen
- Vera (2012) - A Certain Samaritan - Maggie
- The Game