Harriet Mary Walter
24 September 1950
|Alma mater||London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art|
|Relatives||Christopher Lee (maternal uncle)|
Marie Carandini (great-great-grandmother)
John Walter (great-great-great-grandfather)
Dame Harriet Mary Walter(born 24 September 1950) is a British stage and screen actress. Her film appearances include Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Governess (1998), Villa des Roses (2002), Atonement (2007) and Man Up (2015). On television she starred as Natalie Chandler in the ITV drama series Law & Order: UK (2009–14), as Lady Prudence Shackleton in four episodes of Downton Abbey (2013–15), as Clementine Churchill in The Crown (2016) and Lady Caroline Collingwood in Succession (2018–19). She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2011 for services to drama.
Walter began her career in 1974 and made her Broadway debut in 1983. For her work in various Royal Shakespeare Company productions, including Twelfth Night (1987–88) and Three Sisters (1988), she won the 1988 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival. Her other notable work for the RSC includes leading roles in Macbeth (1999) and Antony and Cleopatra (2006). She won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress for her role as Elizabeth I in the 2005 London revival of Mary Stuart, and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play when she reprised the role on Broadway in 2009. She reprised her roles of Brutus in Julius Caesar (2012) and the title role in Henry IV (2014), as well as playing Prospero in The Tempest, as part of an all-female Shakespeare trilogy in 2016.
Walter was born in London, England. She is the niece of British actor Sir Christopher Lee, being the daughter of his elder sister Xandra Lee. On her father's side, she is a great-great-great-granddaughter of John Walter, founder of The Times. She was educated at Cranborne Chase School. After turning down a university education, she was in turn rejected by five different drama schools before being admitted to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Following her training she gained early experience with the Joint Stock Theatre Company, Paines Plough touring, and the Duke's Playhouse, Lancaster. Her partner, until his death in 2004, was actor Peter Blythe. On 21 May 2011 she married Guy Schuessler, an American actor (whose stage name is Guy Paul).
She has worked many times throughout her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions including Nicholas Nickleby (1980), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981), as Helena in All's Well That Ends Well (1981), The Castle (1985), Dasha in A Question of Geography, Viola in Twelfth Night (1988), Masha in Three Sisters (1988), The Duchess of Malfi (1989), Macbeth (1999) and Much Ado about Nothing (2002). She returned to the RSC in 2015 to play Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, directed by Gregory Doran.
She was made an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987. Her other theatre work includes Three Birds Alighting on a Field (1991), Arcadia (1993), Hedda Gabler (1996), Ivanov (1997) and Mary Stuart (2005).
In New York, she made her Broadway debut in 1983, when the RSC production of All's Well That Ends Well transferred there. In 1993 she starred as Biddy in the Off-Broadway production of Three Birds Alighting on a Field, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination. She returned to the Broadway stage in 2009 when she and Janet McTeer reprised their roles in Mary Stuart. In 2014 Walter starred as Brutus in an all-female production of Julius Caesar Off-Broadway and received her second Drama Desk nomination.
Her films include Sense and Sensibility (1995), Bedrooms and Hallways (1998), The Governess (1998), Onegin (1999), Villa des Roses (2002) and Bright Young Things (2003). On television, in 1987, she portrayed Lord Peter Wimsey's love interest Harriet Vane for three instalments of the BBC's A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery, played Detective Inspector Natalie Chandler from 2009 to 2012 in the ITV drama series Law & Order: UK. Other TV roles include Annie Keel in the 2001 series Waking the Dead, Mrs. Gowan in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit, Clare in A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009) and Lady Shackleton in three episodes of the series Downton Abbey (2013–15). In 2016, she played Clementine Churchill on the Netflix series The Crown, and in 2017, appeared in two episodes of the BBC drama Call the Midwife as Sister Ursula.
She is also a patron of several notable charities; the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres, Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas and their families and Clean Break, a charity and theatre company dedicated to sharing the often hidden stories of imprisoned women, and to transforming the lives of women offenders and—through theatre education—of women at risk of offending.
Walter played Brutus in Julius Caesar in 2012, and the title role in Henry IV in 2014, in all-female productions at the Donmar Warehouse. Both productions transferred to Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse in New York. She was set to reprise both roles, as well as playing Prospero in an all-female production of The Tempest, as part of director Phyllida Lloyd's Shakespeare trilogy at the Donmar's temporary, in-the-round, 420-seat theatre next to King's Cross station in 2016.
On 19 August 2019 Deadline reported that Walter would be joining the cast of the BBC America and AMC series Killing Eve. Walter played Dasha, a Russian exile and former Olympics gymnastics champion who trained Villanelle in assassination.
|1985||The Good Father||Emmy Hooper|
|Turtle Diary||Harriet Simms|
|1993||The Hour of the Pig||Jeannie Martin|
|1995||Sense and Sensibility||Fanny Dashwood|
|1996||The Leading Man||Liz Flett|
|1997||Keep the Aspidistra Flying||Julia Comstock|
|1998||Bedrooms and Hallways||Sybil|
|The Governess||Mrs. Cavendish|
|2002||Villa des Roses||Olive Burrell|
|2003||Bright Young Things||Lady Maitland|
|The Young Victoria||Queen Adelaide|
|Morris: A Life with Bells On||Professor Compton Chamberlayne|
|From Time to Time||Lady Dresham|
|2012||A Royal Affair||Augusta of Saxe-Gotha|
|The Wedding Video||Alex|
|2014||Suite Française||Viscountess de Montmort|
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Kalonia|
|2017||The Sense of an Ending||Margaret|
|2021||The Last Duel||Nicole de Buchard||Post-production|
|1980||The Imitation Game||Cathy Raine||Television film|
|1981||The Cherry Orchard||Varya||Television film|
|1984||Amy||Amy Johnson||Television film|
|1985||The Price||Frances Carr||6 episodes|
|1986||Girls on Top||R.S.C. Actress 3||Episode: "Mr. Yummy Brownie"|
|1987||A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery||Harriet Vane||Main cast, 10 episodes|
|1989||Theatre Night||Sheila||Episode: "Benefactors"|
|1991||Screen Two||Amelia Cleverly||Episode: "They Never Slept"|
|1991||The Men's Room||Charity Walton||Miniseries, 5 episodes|
|1991||Ashenden||Giulia Lazzari||Episode: "The Dark Woman"|
|1993||Inspector Morse||Dr. Esther Martin||Episode: "The Day of the Devil"|
|1993||Performance||Mrs. Dorothy Maitland||Episode: "The Maitlands"|
|1994||Hard Times||Rachel||4 episodes|
|1997||A Dance to the Music of Time||Mildred||Episode: "The Thirties"|
|1998–1999||Unfinished Business||Amy||Main cast, 12 episodes|
|1999||Dalziel and Pascoe||Mary Waddell||Episode: "Time to Go"|
|1999||The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns||Queen Morag||Television film|
|2001||Waking the Dead||Annie Keel||2 episodes|
|2003||My Uncle Silas||Pamela Farrell||Episode: "Shandy Lil"|
|2004||London||Virginia Woolf||2 episodes|
|2004||Imagine||Mother||Episode: "The Smoking Diaries"|
|2004||Spooks||Deep Throat||Episode: "Who Guards the Guards?"|
|2005||New Tricks||Madeline||Episode: "Trust Me"|
|2005||Messiah||Professor Robb||3 episodes|
|2005–2013||Midsomer Murders||Margaret Winstanley / Diana Davenport||2 episodes|
|2006||Agatha Christie's Marple||Duchess of Malfi||Episode: "Sleeping Murder"|
|2006||Doctors||Annie Fenton||4 episodes|
|2007||Trial & Retribution||The Judge||Episode: "Paradise Lost: Part 1"|
|2007||Five Days||ACC Jennie Griffin||3 episodes|
|2007||Ballet Shoes||Dr. Smith||Television film|
|2008||The Palace||Joanna Woodward||Episode #1.1|
|2008||Fairy Tales||Charlotte Brooks||Episode: "Cinderella|
|2008||10 Days to War||Anne Campbell||Episode: "Failure Is Not an Option"|
|2008||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Miss Bulstrode||Episode: "Cat Among the Pigeons"|
|2008||Little Dorrit||Mrs. Gowan||Miniseries, 4 episodes|
|2009||Hunter||ACC Jenny Griffin||Miniseries, 2 episodes|
|2009||A Short Stay in Switzerland||Clare||Television film|
|2009–2014||Law & Order: UK||Natalie Chandler||Main cast, 40 episodes|
|2013–2015||Downton Abbey||Lady Shackleton||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2013||Heading Out||Angela||2 episodes|
|2013||By Any Means||Sally Walker||Episode #1.4|
|2014||The Assets||Jeanne Vertefeuille||Miniseries, 8 episodes|
|2015||London Spy||Claire||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|2016||The Crown||Clementine Churchill||Recurring role, 6 episodes|
|2017||Call the Midwife||Sister Ursula||3 episodes|
|2017||Black Sails||Marion Guthrie||3 episodes|
|2018||Patrick Melrose||Princess Margaret||Episode: "Some Hope"|
|2018||Flowers||Hylda||Main cast, 5 episodes|
|2018||Black Earth Rising||Eve Ashby||2 episodes|
|2018||My Dinner with Hervé||Baskin||Television film|
|2018–Present||Succession||Lady Caroline Collingwood||3 episodes|
|2019||Curfew||Helen Newman||4 episodes|
|2019||The Spanish Princess||Lady Margaret Beaufort||Miniseries, 8 episodes|
|2020||The End||Edie||10 episodes|
|2020||Belgravia||Caroline, Countess of Brockenhurst||6 episodes|
|2020||Killing Eve||Dasha||7 episodes|
|2020||Talking Heads||Muriel||Episode: "Soldiering On"|
|2021||Doctor Who||Prime Minister Jo Patterson||Episode: "Revolution of the Daleks"|
|TBA||This Is Going to Hurt||Veronique||Upcoming series|
She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama.
In 2001 she and Kenneth Branagh were both given honorary doctorates and honorary fellowships at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford.
Her performance in Mary Stuart at the Donmar Warehouse transferred to Broadway, where it was nominated for numerous Tony Awards, including Best Actress nods for her and her co-star Janet McTeer.
|1988||A Question of Geography / Twelfth Night / Three Sisters||Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival||Won|
|1994||Three Birds Alighting on a Field||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2001||Life x 3||Olivier Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2005||Mary Stuart||Evening Standard Award for Best Actress||Won|
|2006||Mary Stuart||Olivier Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2009||Mary Stuart||Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2014||Julius Caesar||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|2016||The Crown||Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2020||Succession||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|