Geraldine James, OBE (born 6 July 1950) is an English film and television actress.
James was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, to a cardiologist father and an alcoholic mother, who had been a nurse. She failed her 11 plus exam, so was educated at Downe House, a girls' independent school in Newbury, Berkshire, where she was known as Gerry Thomas. Embarrassed by her simple surname, James used the grander-sounding double-barrelled name of Vaughan-Thomas while at school.
Her parents divorced when James was 14, after which she and her two siblings were made wards of court by their stepmother.
After graduating from the Drama Centre London in 1973, she began her career in repertory theatre. On 17 January 1977, she met her husband, Joseph Blatchley, at a party.
James has been nominated four times for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress; for Dummy (1977), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Band of Gold (1995) and The Sins (2000). For her role as Portia in the 1989 Broadway revival of The Merchant of Venice, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play. She also won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 1989 Venice Film Festival for She's Been Away. Her film credits include Gandhi (1982), The Tall Guy (1989), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), and 45 Years (2015). Since 2017, she has starred in the Netflix series Anne with an E as Marilla Cuthbert, and in the 2019 film Downton Abbey as Queen Mary.
Theatre director Peter Hall said that James ranks amongst the great English classical actresses.
|21 February 2000 – 3 March 2000||The Hours||Gaynor Macfarlane||BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama|
|21 March 2003||Baldi: The Book Case||Maggie||Mark Lambert||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play|
|19 April 2003||Turtle Diary||Neaera||Gaynor Macfarlane||BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play|
|2005||The Raj Quartet||Mildred Layton||Jeremy Mortimer||BBC Radio 4|
|1977||Dummy||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|||
|1984||The Jewel in the Crown||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1989||She's Been Away||Venice Film Festival||Volpi Cup for Best Actress||Won|||
|1990||The Merchant of Venice||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Play||Won|
|1990||The Merchant of Venice||Tony Award||Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|1995||Band of Gold||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2000||The Sins||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2018||Anne with an E||Canadian Screen Awards||Best Supporting Actress, Drama||Won|||