One of the world's most famous and distinguished actress, Dame Maggie Smith, born as Margaret Natalie Smith, was born on the 29th of December in 1934 in Essex. Her father was a teacher at Oxford University and her mother worked as a secretary. Smith has been married twice: first with actor Robert Stephens and then with playwright Beverley Cross. Her marriage with Stephens ended in 1974 on divorce and the marriage between her and Cross was finished in 1999, when he died. With Stephens, Smith has two sons, Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens, who are also actors.Maggie Smith's career began at the Oxford Playhouse in the 50s. She made her film debut in 1956 as one of the party guests in a movie called Child in the House (1956). After that, she has been acting with the most prominent actors and actresses in the world in over sixty films and TV-series, which include Othello (1965) with Laurence Olivier, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), California Suite (1978) with Michael Caine and Jane Fonda, A Room with a View (1985), Richard III (1995) with Ian McKellen and Jim Broadbent, Franco Zeffirelli's Tea with Mussolini (1999) with Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher and Gosford Park (2001) with Kristin Scott Thomas and Clive Owen, directed by Robert Altman. Maggie Smith has also been nominated for an Oscar six times and won twice, for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and California Suite (1978).Lately, Maggie Smith has appeared in the very popular "Harry Potter" movie series as formidable "Professor McGonagall". She has also been in the headlines presently because of her breast cancer, but now she has been reported to be recovering from that and soon continuing to film the last two "Harry Potters" and Julian Fellowes' film From Time to Time (2009) with Timothy Spall, Anne Reid and Hugh Bonneville.