Maggie Smith

Flavorwire’s Holiday Gift Guide: 50 Gifts for 50 Cultural Icons

Everyone knows that the holidays are a time for tradition, so here’s one of Flavorwire‘s long-time favorites: doling out gifts to some of contemporary culture’s biggest and boldest icons. Whether they’re dead or alive, naughty or nice, whether they’ve been a cultural touchstone for five decades or five minutes — everyone deserves presents this time of year, right? So with that in mind, click through to find the perfect gift for the Miley Cyrus, Joss Whedon, or J-Law in your life. You know you’ve got… Read More

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‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3, Episode 6: The Dowager Countess Recap

Now in its third season, Downton Abbey is more divisive than ever. Once almost universally acclaimed, the British period drama that follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their many servants faced accusations last year of descending into soap opera-style sensationalism. Although we don’t mind a juicy soap opera here at Flavorwire — and have, in fact, been known to defend Downton Abbey against its snobbier critics — this season we hope to unite the various factions by limiting our recaps to the one character everyone can still agree to love: Violet Crawley, that feisty, elitist grandma played by the one and only Dame Maggie Smith. Each week, we’ll recount the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s adventures. They may often be tangential to the main storyline, but they’ll always be among the most important Downton moments to us. … Read More

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‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3, Episode 1: The Dowager Countess Recap

Now in its third season, Downton Abbey is more divisive than ever. Once almost universally acclaimed, the British period drama that follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their many servants faced accusations last year of descending into soap opera-style sensationalism. Although we don’t mind a juicy soap opera here at Flavorwire — and have, in fact, been known to defend Downton Abbey against its snobbier critics — this season we hope to unite the various factions by limiting our recaps to the one character everyone can still agree to love: Violet Crawley, that feisty, elitist grandma played by the one and only Dame Maggie Smith. Each week, we’ll recount the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s adventures. They may often be tangential to the main storyline, but they’ll always be among the most important Downton moments to us. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. It’s official: Penguin and Random House, two of the biggest book publishers in the industry, have confirmed that they’re planning to merge in response to “the challenges arising from the growth of e-books and the rise of Internet retailers like Amazon.” If approved by courts, the deal would give the combined companies a whopping… Read More

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Teenage Photos of Distinguished Elderly Celebrities

We have a theory: The classier the elderly celebrity, the harder it is to imagine him or her as a teenager. For example, try to picture Maggie Smith as a high school student. Pretty hard, right? The thought of a young, wide-eyed Maggie Smith piqued our curiosity, so we went ahead and dug up teenage photos of our beloved Dame Maggie and ten of her distinguished celebrity friends. Unsurprisingly, they’re all stunning. Check ‘em out after the jump, and hit the comments to lend your thoughts. … Read More

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Watch the First Clip of Shirley MacLaine on ‘Downton Abbey’

From the moment we learned that Shirley MacLaine would be playing Lady Cora’s mother, Martha, on Season 3 of Downton Abbey, we’ve been waiting to see her tangle with the one and only Dowager Countess of Grantham. Well, thankfully, we won’t be in suspense until the premiere, because the clip in which Violet greets Martha debuted last night on TV Land during the American Film Institute’s 40th Life Achievement Award, which honored MacLaine. The Downton bit doesn’t start until roughly 45 seconds into the video below, and the quality isn’t great, but it’s absolutely worth it to see Martha and the Dowager Countess ever-so-politely rip into each other. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Not to totally ruin your Monday morning, but apparently Maggie Smith would like for the next season of Downton Abbey to be her last playing the Dowager Countess of Grantham — at least, according to The Daily Mail. [via Deadline] Update: A press representative for Carnival Films says that the… Read More

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Watch 10 Celebrities Reading Famous Poems Aloud

In honor of National Poetry month, we at Flavorpill have been amping up our poetic coverage a little bit, from suggesting poems you can memorize to celebrating our favorite badass poets. But since poetry is really meant to be read aloud, we’ve also been celebrating the month by listening to some of our favorite celebrities reading famous poems. Now, audio recordings of celebrities — especially (British) actors — reading poetry are a dime a dozen, so we decided to limit the field to actual videos of celebrities performing readings and recitations, whether on stage, in a more intimate setting, or filmed solo. Click through to watch a few of your favorite public personas read you some poetry, and let us know which ones you like best in the comments. … Read More

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Audiobooks and the Celebrities Who Were Born to Read Them

Audiobook superstore Audible has recently rolled out a new series of books called the “A-List Collection,” featuring celebrities lending their vocal talents to classic books. They have some great talent on tap: Annette Bening reading Mrs. Dalloway, Colin Firth reading The End of the Affair, Dustin Hoffman reading Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There, but the project got us to thinking about the celebrities we’d pick to read our favorite novels to us if we had our choice. Click through to read our list of our dream audiobook narrators and why we think they’d be perfect for the gig, and let us know who you’d want to whisper sweet prose into your ear in the comments. … Read More

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‘Downton Abbey': This Week’s Winners and Losers

Time to brew the tea and pop the popcorn — it’s Season 2 of Britain’s beloved Downton Abbey! The men (well, except for the rich ones) are fighting, the women are pining (and becoming independent), and much of the show’s relentless intra-Downton intrigue has given way to the human drama of life during wartime. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s pulling together for the common good. So, in the spirit of class-conscious competition and self-interested jockeying for position, we’re declaring winners and losers for each episode of Downton Abbey.

What served as the American Season 2 finale but is actually the British Christmas special aired last night, and we spent most of it thinking Julian Fellowes was a masochist for forcing his UK viewers to watch something so depressing on a holiday that’s supposed to be joyful. Downton Abbey redeemed itself in the end, though — and we’ll explain why after the jump. … Read More

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