Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess had better watch her back, because another Oscar winner is getting ready to move into “Downton Abbey.”
ITV and PBS announced on Monday (January 30) that Shirley MacLaine will join the cast of the Emmy-winning period soap opera starting in its upcoming third season.
Season 3 of “Downton Abbey” will begin production this spring and MacLaine will play Martha Levinson, mother of Elizabeth McGovern’s Lady Grantham.
“Shirley MacLaine is a great actress and she’s as American as the day is long,” states “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “I can’t wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Maggie Smith’s Lady Violet.”
MacLaine won an Emmy back in 1976 for “Gypsy in My Soul” and was most recently nominated for 2008’s “Coco Chanel.” She’s better known for her Oscar-winning role in “Terms of Endearment” and for Oscar nominated parts in films like “The Turning Point” and “The Apartment.” MacLaine also has a family history with a certain “Downton Abbey” executive producer.
“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,'” states Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame. “Julian [Fellowes] has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson.”
Emmy and Golden Globe winner for TV Movie/Miniseries (despite not being a TV movie or miniseries), “Downton Abbey” will have its two-hour PBS finale on February 19.