Talk about inspiration! British actress Dame Maggie Smith – a star from the Harry Potter movies and PBS’s Downton Abbey, as well many other films and stage performances in her sixty-some year career – continued her work while battling breast cancer.
The 2-time Oscar winning actress recently gave an interview in the Toronto Star newspaper on her visit to Canada where she received the 2012 Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Legacy Award. She spoke about her cancer experience and how it affected her role as Professor McGonagall.
“There are advantages to cancer, you know. My chemo cheered up the makeup department on Harry Potter because the wig went on a great deal easier without a single hair on my head.”
Her humorous, positive attitude about her cancer is charming. In the Star article, though, she also shared some harder moments about her experience.
“Some people say you have to fight cancer. But it was fighting me. The cure was worse than the disease, and it left me totally exhausted and depressed. I just hid myself away in my daughter-in-law’s flat…I couldn’t face anyone or anything. But you get through it, you finally get through it. But you don’t know how bad it is until you actually live through it yourself.”
Even Smith’s characters don’t die. The beloved actress will continue on the Downton Abbey series as long as director Julian Fellowes can keep her, he says.
“Dame Maggie will be in this show for as long as she wants to be and I can tell you that even if she doesn’t want to be, she won’t die. She’ll go to the seaside just in case she wants to come back.”