Imelda Staunton's Life after the 'Harry Potter' Films Ended
Every movie has a staple antagonist whom every moviegoer hates. For "Harry Potter," it was Lord Voldemort, but there was a less evil villain that got on the nerves of Harry's fans — Dolores Umbridge.
The pretty-in-pink foe of the most famous wizard was played well by no other than Imelda Staunton, who took over Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after the Ministry of Magic sent her.
Her debut in the film came in the fifth installment, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," as she took control of the school's Defense Against the Dark Arts classes.
What differentiates Umbridge from the other villains is her bright and sweet exterior that shows nothing of her dark character.
Staunton took on the challenge of portraying a devious dark role, which switches personalities in an instant, and carried it out perfectly.
STARTING A CAREER IN THEATER
Acting has always been Staunton's passion. From starting with school plays to attending London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
The actress was undoubtedly talented, which reflected after her National Theatre debut performance in "The Beggar's Opera," which earned her two Oliver Award nominations — an equivalent of a Tony Award.
The stage saw Staunton many times and made her a theatrical sensation in Britain, winning several Oliver Awards for her roles in "Sweeney Todd," "Into the Woods," and "Gypsy."
Among her other performances are in "The Corn is Green" and "A Chorus of Disapproval," which won her an award for Supporting Actress.
MOVING TO THE BIG SCREEN
In 1986, Staunton entered the film industry and appeared in "Comrades," and began doing adaptations of classic literature, including "Much Ado About Nothing," and "Sense and Sensibility."
She once again proved her incredible acting skills as she landed a big supporting role in the Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love," where she worked with Gwyneth Paltrow and Colin Firth.
Not long after, the "Harry Potter" actress took on the lead role in Mike Leigh's "Vera Drake," which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actress and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
Unfortunately, Staunton didn't win the Oscar, but the film won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival and received a BAFTA Award for Staunton.
PLAYING DOLORES UMBRIDGE
Staunton joined the "Harry Potter" cast on its fifth installment, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," where she played professor of the Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Apart from hindering students from learning useful spells, she also torments her students; hence, her forced exit at the end of the year.
She said of the character:
"I think she's a bloody monster and to be played as such. I don't need to understand what she does, but from a character point of view, she believes she's doing the absolute best for that school. Yet again, I have embraced a completely and utterly deluded woman."
Umbridge appeared again on the second to the last installment of the franchise, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1."
Her role in the hit series only gained her more popularity, which opened a door for the actress to star in blockbuster films and later to Disney projects.
LIFE AFTER "HARRY POTTER"
In 2010, Staunton appeared in Tim Burton's adaptation of the classic novel "Alice in Wonderland" along with a few of her "Harry Potter" colleagues.
Two years later, Staunton landed a role in HBO's original film, "The Girl," where she played Alma Reville and got her a nomination for yet another BAFTA and a Primetime Emmy Award.
She again worked on a Disney film in 2014 as one of the pixies in "Maleficent," starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. She reprised her role in 2019's sequel, "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil."
Staunton also played the voice of Aunt Lucy in the 2014 adaptation of "Paddington." She reprised her role in "Paddington 2" for a short while after.
In the same year, the actress took on a heavy role in the movie "Pride," which revolves around the LGBTQ+ community and movement, based on a true story.
Staunton garnered a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the film, which also got a nod at Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture.
Her most recent work is the "Downton Abbey" film, where she played Lady Maud Bagshaw, Queen Mary's lady in waiting.
RECEIVING HONOR FROM HER COUNTRY
The award-winning actress did not go unnoticed by her homeland as she was recognized with a special honor, making her one of the best performers to represent the United Kingdom.
Staunton was also named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 and bagged the title Commander of the British Empire in 2016.
Although she is not an official knight of the British Empire, her world-renowned talent and the pride she brought to her country deserved the recognition she got.