The youngest of three, Julia Mary “Julie” Walters was born on February 22, 1950 to Irish-Catholic parents in Birmingham, UK. Although her love for acting came at a young age, her mother forced her down the career path of nursing. She studied obediently at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, but eventually left nursing to answer her resounding call to the stage. While studying English and Drama at Manchester Polytechnic, she joined a theatre company in Liverpool and worked as a stand-up comedienne.
In 1975, she made her London stage debut in the aptly-titled comedy Funny Peculiar, and continued to do cabaret until she landed a solo role in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita. Since then, she has kept up a steady stream of film and television stunts, and has earned the reputation of being one of Britain’s most talented actresses. Some of her well known roles include the dance teacher in Billy Elliot (2000), Calender Girls (2003), and Rosie in Mamma Mia (2008).
In 1997, she married Grant Roffrey after a twelve-year relationship. The couple have one daughter, Maisie. In 1999, Julie was awarded an OBE and in 2008, was made a CBE for her services to drama.
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Julie portrayed Molly Weasley, the maternal Weasley mother, in all the Harry Potter movies, apart from Goblet of Fire, where the character didn’t appear. Molly Weasley is the lovable mother of the Weasley children, who takes no nonsense from any of them and takes Harry into her family.
The role of Molly Weasley made Julie recognizable internationally. The character really came into her own in Deathly Hallows – Part 2, when Mrs. Weasley duels with Bellatrix Lestrange and kills her after exclaiming the now infamous line, “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
In 2003, Julie’s portrayal of Molly Weasley was voted second best movie portrayal of a mother, by Blockbuster customers.
Julie said that when she was offered the role, it was impossible to turn down:
That was about ‘this is so important to kids’. It was a phenomenon and my daughter was nine when it came out – just the right age. I read the book long before the film and when they said, about three or four years later, we’re going to make a film and would you like to play Mrs Weasley, I thought ‘absolutely! I want to be part of that. What fun!
- Julie’s mother wanted her to be a nurse and was upset by her choice of career. When she died in 1989, Julie found a box of newspaper cuttings in her possession, detailing all her successes.
- Julie’s birth was complicated, and the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. A priest was called to give both her mother and Julie the last rites.
- Julie’s first job was in insurance at the age of 15.
- When she was 18, she trained as nurse.
- When her daughter was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with leukaemia, and Julie gave up work to look after her. Thankfully, she recovered.
- Julie was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Billy Elliot (2000).
- She was ranked first in the 2001 Orange survey of the Greatest British Film Actresses.
- She was awarded a CBE for services to drama in 2008.
- Although she played Victoria Wood’s mother on Dinnerladies, she is only three years older.
- She was awarded the Lawrence Olivier Theater Award in 2001, for Best Actress and her role in All My Sons.
- In 2006, she came 6th in ITV’s poll of the Public’s Greatest Stars.
- In 2006, she starred in Driving Lessons alongside Rupert Grint.
- In the summer of 2006, Julie published her first novel, Maggie’s Tree.
- In 2009, Julie was awarded a star in the Birmingham Walk of Stars.
- Julie has appeared in many commercials, including for ASDA and lv.com.
- Julie has won seven BAFTA awards, including a special BAFTA in 2003 that she received at a tribute evening.
- Julie has appeared in several musicals over her career. Most notable is Mamma Mia, where she starred alongside Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan and sung on the soundtrack.
- Julie said in an interview in 2008 that her worst job ever was testing ill people’s stools.
Connect with Julie Walters
Connect with Julie Walters
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