Shirley MacLaine to join 'Downton Abbey'

Tuesday January 31, 2012

Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine is to join the cast of hit period drama series Downton Abbey.

The 77-year-old actress will play Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) in the third series of the ITV1 show.

The sister of Warren Beatty, who won the best actress Oscar in 1983 for Terms Of Endearment, will join the cast when they start filming next month.

Shirley has starred in more than 50 films, had six Oscar nominations and written several best-sellers in a career that spans more than half a century.

Gareth Neame, from Carnival Films which produces the show, said: "My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.

Laura Mackie, director of drama at ITV, said Shirley's arrival on the show was a tribute to its 'success on both sides of the Atlantic'.

Downton Abbey won the award for best television mini series at the Golden Globes earlier this month.

Photo: © Getty

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