Maggie Smith

30 Best Pop Culture Spinsters

The word “spinster” refers to an unmarried woman, and is most often synonymous with the stereotype of the past-her-prime old maid, a woman who hasn’t made a good match and who’s doomed to live an unfulfilling life. Well, that’s just stereotypes talking, because… hey, what’s wrong with that, exactly? The answer is absolutely nothing. Pop culture has given us some pretty great spinsters (although on average they do fall within a specific, homogenous, moneyed, and white demographic). So here are our 30 favorite writers, artists, and fictional characters who show the freedom that comes from living an unmarried life — female characters who are defined by their wants and desires, and not characterized through the simple scrim of their relationships. … Read More

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‘Downton Abbey’ Has Finally Become the Soap Opera Its Critics Always Said It Was

Like a town crier, I spent much of the year before Downton Abbey first aired stateside telling my friends and family, “You will watch this and you will love it.” And throughout its first two seasons, I remained a diehard follower. Should this not already be clear, I have quite the soft spot for British period drama, particularly when it takes place in a glorious Great House, is rife with class overtones, and oozes sentimentality and snobbery. … Read More

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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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