With her starring role in the June 2020 issue, Judi Dench has become the oldest person ever to grace the cover of Vogue at 85. It’s terrible to be so dependent on people.” According to Finty, 47, Dench’s daughter with the late, great actor Michael Williams, her mother is actually the one who people depend on, not least herself and her son Sam, 22. Ghastly. It’s quite something. This doesn't include her win for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Paulina in The Winter's Tale (2016). She holds Guinness World Records titles for the most Laurence Olivier Award nominations by an individual with nine, across the categories for Best Actress (6), Best Supporting Role (1), Best Supporting Actress (1) and Best Actress in a Musical (1). Some weeks earlier – before terms such as “herd immunity” and “flattening the curve” had entered the daily lexicon – I am at said home (built in 1690 and with an unusually tiny front door) in deepest Surrey for an audience with the actor, one of the world’s foremost theatrical dames. We’ve never needed her more, says Giles Hattersley in the June issue of British Vogue. She’d hoped she would look rather elegant. ‘Please grin at me, include me in your world.’ God it looks like fun.”, Read more: 20 Heavenly Archive Images Of Judi Dench, Boy, is she funny. “No, no, no, no. “We have always had a copy of the book in our house and I’m delighted and honoured to be included. “It’s the most terrible shock to your system. The Oscar winner has … For many, the first true sense of what the coronavirus pandemic would mean for everyday life was finally descending. On top of the nationwide lockdown, she – by dint of her age, if not her moxie, and like some 10 million others in Britain – has embarked on an even longer stretch of imposed self-isolation. “We had better wait for a rainy day in Battersea,” she told him, so he did. It turns out four. “Just keep laughing. At this juncture, it is impossible not to acknowledge the spectre of film producer Harvey Weinstein, who – as then head of awards machine Miramax – championed Dench’s Hollywood rise in her sixties as vociferously as any starlet’s, casting her in seven films in total. Her achievements will be recognised in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records book, Guinness World Records 2021, out later this year. “Pretty depressing. Coronavirus having furloughed the film industry, her own career is on temporary hiatus, though she plans to “do something” with the director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) soon, and is due to film an episode of the BBC’s genealogy stalwart Who Do You Think You Are? At Central in her early twenties (she was in the same year as Vanessa Redgrave, incidentally), she dazzled and – highly unusually in the hierarchical British theatre scene of the day – went straight into playing junior leads on the London stage. Don’t you?”, Read more: Kate Phelan On Styling Judi Dench’s Joyous Vogue Cover, Plus Her “Champagne & Hummus” Rider, She will later remark, after that holiday has been and gone and she is deep in quarantine in late March, “We have the incredible bonus of glorious weather at the moment, and for me it is the most wonderful time of year. “I don’t like it at all. “It’s very upsetting.” On some level it’s clear she is still computing it; to have so misjudged a boss and friend. That’s all we can do.” It turned out to be exactly the sort of digital tonic people needed – it clocked up millions of views in the gathering chaos – a flicker of continuity in a world on fire. ), Read more: Judi Dench Is Vogue’s Oldest Cover Star – Just Don’t Ask Her About Ageing. “If a great deal of kindness comes out of this, then that will be a plus.”, Read more: Please Enjoy This Video Of Judi Dench Doing A Tik Tok Dance Challenge. Finty credits Williams with getting Dench to Hollywood. I ask how many marriage proposals she’s had in her life? Does that still stand? Thanks to her grandson – he calls her “Ma” and they speak daily, sometimes multiple times – she has fostered surprising new passions for football and the music of Ed Sheeran. Yet, despite numerous childhood performances, Judi initially thought she would be a set designer, and was dissuaded only when she saw Michael Redgrave’s Lear at Stratford in 1953, with a whirling stage that was so beyond her imagining she decided to pivot to the boards. “I don’t do social media at all,” Judi Dench tells me on the telephone, chuckling at the memory. Below, revisit 14 powerful quotes on ageing from some of the most fabulous over-50s ever to appear in the magazine’s pages. Comparisons to Vera Lynn were duly drawn. “It’s good that things come to the surface and are spoken about and people feel a kind of freedom, I’m sure.” Were you ever sexually harassed in your own career? (“Eight quick minutes with bad teeth,” is how she described her performance.) That’s all,” she says quietly. “This age thing, I think, affects very much how she feels about herself and this gave her just that little boost of confidence to make her go, ‘Oh, maybe I’m still OK.’” Williams starts to laugh. “I had a very nice email… no, not an email.” A text? “I am sure I feel like everyone else, such unprecedented times are quite hard to comprehend,” she explains from her home, with its tree-filled gardens, where she has lived for more than 35 years. “There were lots of things that she used to be able to do that she can’t do anymore, you know, like needlework and handwriting letters.”, Read more: Every Beauty Product Used For Judi Dench’s Vogue Cover Look Came In At Under £20. Then a sudden, mischievous smile returns to her face. “Do you want another cup of tea?” For a moment, a little sadness hangs in the air. “My father was my mother’s greatest flag waver,” she says, explaining that he was the one to convince her to do the James Bond films in the mid-1990s, when she was unsure if she could hack it. At the age of 85 years, 150 days (as of 7 May 2020), Dame Judi has surpassed the record formerly held by Jane Fonda, who appeared on the cover of British Vogue’s September 2019 edition, at the age of 81. Her skills as an actor are so intense that for a second you believe no one has ever given her a gift before. "Her continuing contribution to the arts - and most recently to social media and TikTok! Along with Disney’s forthcoming $125 million spectacular Artemis Fowl, it proves that, in her ninth decade, Dench is still squarely present on the Hollywood A-list, one of a tiny elite who can get a movie green-lit. But how do you feel about retirement, I ask casually. What she has is just in there. “Yes, a text, from Ben Whishaw [the actor], who just doted on it. Below, revisit 14 powerful quotes on ageing from some of the most fabulous over-50s ever to appear in the magazine’s pages. – winning an Oscar in 1999, aged 64, for playing Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. For the past few years, she has been in a relationship with fellow tree lover and local conservationist David Mills, 77 – “It’s very nice,” she smiles – whose obsession with University Challenge almost equals her own. You sometimes think, ‘What if I press that, though? At home on this crisp, clear morning in the Surrey wilds she is a soothing vision in beige athleisurewear; kettle on, supermarket pain au chocolat on a tray, and the luvvie-meter set to a hundred. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see Judi, the unassailable queen of stage and screen, starring on her first ever Vogue cover at the age of 85,” says Edward Enninful in his editor’s letter. In the forthcoming Blithe Spirit, a frothy art deco affair with Dan Stevens and Isla Fisher, she inherits the mantle from Margaret Rutherford’s lauded 1945 turn as the psychic widow who can raise the dead. Bouncing from drama school to playing Ophelia at The Old Vic in the late 1950s, she ruled the National, West End and RSC for decades, chalking up bravura turns and delivering perhaps the most outstanding Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra of the late 20th century. Refusing to give any more details, she has a sip of tea and twinkles mysteriously. “Just a tad naff,” she rasps witheringly. “You won’t send me up about it?” After I’ve promised, one of the nation’s most beloved citizens – perhaps even its most, if you don’t count David Attenborough – begins searching her awards-laden shelves. It was telling that, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, a video of her at her kitchen sink with Gyles Brandreth, washing her hands while throatily reciting The Owl and the Pussy-cat, also went viral. Thank you so much to everybody concerned, HOORAY!” - Dame Judi Dench. WHAT MAKES A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS TITLE? She misses it horribly. Somehow, in all the silliness, Dench delivers brand-new pathos. “Just about. “I am very aware of people who may not have a garden and are not as fortunate to be able to sit outside in the sunshine.”, Age, for all the obvious current reasons, has been a subject much on her mind. Getting older is no cakewalk, she believes. “I can be very difficult,” she says at one point, smiling mischievously, “if somebody takes me for granted.” You believe her. As the early spring sunshine streamed down on a fractious nation, in the English countryside a cool, calm 85-year-old was handed a pair of plush white doggy ears. The June issue of British Vogue is out on newsstands and available for digital download on 7 May. She commands respect. the oldest person ever to grace the cover of, Judi Dench Covers The June Issue Of British Vogue, Kate Phelan On Styling Judi Dench’s Joyous Vogue Cover, Plus Her “Champagne & Hummus” Rider. The photoshoot took place in February, before social distancing measures were enforced in the UK, and Judi was later interviewed for the Vogue feature whilst at home. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. How does one become one of the most celebrated actors of a generation? “Never was a truer word spoken,” she adds. In the mid-1960s at Nottingham Playhouse she made front of house put up a sign that read, “Judi Dench is not ill, she just talks like this.”, Read more: 9 Life-Affirming Judi Dench Films To Watch Now. As she is a legendary champagne enthusiast, I brought her a bottle of Dom Pérignon Blanc Vintage 2008, the presentation of which provokes a first, delicious crack of the trademark voice: “Absolute heaven!” she beams. Her panic is for people who don’t have what she has. Registered Office: South Quay Building, 77 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SH United Kingdom. “She’s irreverent, and quick to giggle. Immediately, it is as if the sun has gone behind a cloud. Otto - Longest human tunnel travelled through by a skateboarding dog, Ashrita Furman - Most Guinness World Records titles held. This extraordinary feat shows that there is another side to Dench. The ears led to a short video clip – filmed on her daughter Finty Williams’s phone – that was posted to Twitter and which you will have doubtless seen. “Who the f**k do you think you are, in my case,” she quips, adding that she’s desperate to find out whether a family rumour she’s related to Sarah Siddons is true. It was the third Wednesday in March, and profound panic had arrived in Britain. What makes a Guinness World Records title? She looks determined. Oh how they smiled. That’s something that I’ve always known and have been brought up with, you know. Meanwhile, she ensorcelled Middle England on the small screen with homely sitcoms and period dramas before – boom! Schools were in limbo, businesses were shuttering, and the streets had taken on the surreal air of a science-fiction film as the country hovered on the brink of lockdown. But I think it gets her down a lot, yes,” says Williams. Early exposure helps. “I should charge you.” At this, Dench – 5ft 1in and packed with poise – leads me through her beautifully cluttered, perilously low-ceilinged hallway into a sun-dappled sitting room. Though, “I don’t think Ian Fleming would want a female Bond.” She’s all for female action leads but, “Call it something else, then?”, Read more: 3 Champagne Cocktails From The Vogue Archive To Make In Honour Of Judi Dench. “Don’t count!” she cries, literally wincing when I realise there are actually 11. Perhaps it was always meant to be. But Bond led to playing Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown – her first Oscar nod – then to Shakespeare in Love. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she giggles when I remind her of this. The talent was all hers. With an acting career spanning six decades, Dame Judi was a record-breaking powerhouse far before her Vogue cover debut. She confesses to being “wildly” insecure. Judi Dench, 85, is the oldest British Vogue cover star ever Naturally, it is a case of first things first. “Then of course after the photoshoot, she came back literally thinking she was Beyoncé.”. In an age of cancel culture, Dench now operates on a level beyond celebrity, as a kind of cultural tea cosy to be popped soothingly over the nation’s beleaguered identity in times of crisis. Oh god, he made me laugh.”. So lovely.”, Dench is happiest when things are lovely. “No,” she says, adding obliquely, “not something that I wasn’t able to deal with.” She’s becoming increasingly uneasy, and so we move on. Not here. As Judi Dench covers the June 2020 issue of British Vogue, rewatch some of the 85-year-old’s greatest films from her decades-long career. I’m completely fascinated by her love life during this era, which – aside from her late husband, Michael Williams, whom she didn’t marry until she was 36 – barely gets a mention in her memoirs. And yet, “It meant an awful lot to her,” says Williams of her mother being featured in Vogue at this moment in time. There has always been a duality at the core of Judith Olivia Dench, the everywoman sprinkled with stardust. “My sympathies go to anybody who went through an experience like that,” she says of the convicted rapist’s victims. In fact, her powers are such that, in a wider act of seduction, it is safe to say Dench now commands public affection on an industrial scale. Her magic went global, so much so that when, some years ago, the writer Alan Bennett toyed with the most offensive slogan you could put on a T-shirt, musing over themes from terrorism to child abuse, he decreed nothing would outrage the public more than “I Hate Judi Dench”. “The cloak I was made to wear!” she cries. My eyes are darting. She has never wanted for charm, agrees Olivia Colman, who starred with Dench in 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, and counts her among her professional mentors. So sweet. Seven of these were competitive and one was the honorary Special Olivier Award which Dame Judi received in 2004. Gesturing through the window to her six acres, she says, “I’ve planted all those trees for friends. - is also inspiring, further cementing Dame Judi's position as a 'national treasure', a term I'm sure she'll hate!". “I am disciplining myself to learn all the sonnets. Having fondled the Oscar, we settle in a snug little study, where she takes a seat under a wall-sized portrait of herself in character as M in the James Bond movies. With her starring role in the June 2020 issue, Judi Dench has become the oldest person ever to grace the cover of Vogue at 85. Don’t use that word, Giles. Or the magnificent cheekbones? “He used to cry when he laughed,” she recalls, smiling. Bow down (Picture: Vogue/Nick Knight) If you needed further proof that Dame Judi Dench is a total icon, well, look no further. Judi Dench is the oldest person to ever appear on the cover of British Vogue. Amateur dramatics were to the Denches in 1950s York what selfies were to the Kardashians in 2010s Calabasas. I try to learn something new every day, anything.” If she makes the font mega-sized, it works, she says. Think Beyoncé, if the Texan singer also bought her tracksuits from Sainsbury’s. In person, her heavenly manners feel like a lid of kindness placed over a cauldron of emotion. A Quaker since her teens, she may be divinely potty-mouthed, but she is also meditative and kind to the core. Not in this house. Make of that what you will. "It might be cliche but age really is just a number, and seeing Judi on the front of this iconic magazine will be a refreshing tonic for a generation of people who may otherwise feel forgotten or neglected. She is friends with everyone from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to Taylor Swift, and if this morning is anything to go by, the phone rings constantly. “Or a glass of champagne?”. She is, for example, straight-talking on modern casting debates, saying the problem for all actors is “there’s never been enough work”. “Oh… there you are!” says a sparkly eyed Dench, popping up the ears in surprise, as if happened upon in her garden. Multi award winning British actress, Dame Judi Dench, has added another Guinness World Records title to her name after officially becoming the oldest Vogue cover model in history, following the publication of British Vogue’s June 2020 issue. “I don’t mean to be flash.” There follows an exquisite pause before she adds, “Here it is…” and hands me her Oscar. “Ever modest, Judi Dench is not a fan of the term national treasure,” says British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful of his June 2020 cover star. They often worked together, notably in the hit sitcom A Fine Romance, and had legendary rows – but mostly they laughed. She is, in short, practically perfect in every way.” Dench, of course, bats away the praise. Low-key, theirs was one of the great actor love stories of the 20th century. “It’s a choice you make.”, “I absolutely love her,” gushes Colman. On stage and on screen, from Shakespeare to Bond, Judi Dench has spent her life delighting the nation. Even that heaven-sent voice didn’t always land with audiences. You want her to turn her face to you. “She’s utterly instinctive. “The more he laughed the more he cried. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. “Oh honestly!” she snorts. “It was only because I had been given the ears by my daughter, Fint. She is visibly shaken when I bring up his name. Dench visibly prickles at its mention. Now more than ever.” Photographed by Nick Knight in early February as Covid-19 loomed like a dark cloud, the vision that is Dench in floral Dolce & Gabbana belies her 85 years. Read more: Judi Dench Covers The June Issue Of British Vogue, Dench is sticking by her motto, although she is a touch less sanguine. The Special Olivier Award is awarded in recognition of significant achievements in British theatre. Worried, I ask if she will be able to see her Vogue cover well enough? In Iris and Notes on a Scandal she was as good as it gets, while her golden touch at the box office with the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films practically invented a new revenue stream with the “grey pound”. The message is clear, however: absolute heartbreaker. The insecurity stuck. Or what about that?’” she says. I ask her to tell me something that she enjoys about being 85. While others busy themselves claiming that 80 is the new 70, or 70 the new 60, she is simply not having it. “Of course,” says Dench, gamely springing into action. “But treasure her we do. To wit: “Dame Judi to raise Britain’s spirits as Coward’s mystic madame”, declared The Observer, when it announced her casting as Madame Arcati in a new adaptation of Blithe Spirit – her 60th film, give or take – set for release later this year. (Naturally, she featured in the many slightly ghoulish millennial tweets about “people we must protect at all costs”. I don’t think about it. Wash your mouth out!” Her voice becomes its most electric to quote Dylan Thomas. “Can I see it?” I ask. Then she died in front of many millions of viewers in Skyfall, and her status was set. Far from it. Instead: “A battered, mangy old cat,” she says, appalled. Circus performer enters Guinness World Records 2020 for spinning her enormous hula hoop, Film fanatic watches more than 700 films in the cinema in a year at a rate of 14 per week, 85-year-old becomes world’s oldest trapeze artist - after starting lessons aged 78, Sir Bruce Forsyth: 1928 – 2017 - Record-breaking UK entertainer passes away, Video: Ninth generation circus performers take on first record title for GWR Day, How to set or break a Guinness World Records title.
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