Julie Walters was born in Smethwick, Birmingham, in 1950. She has two older brothers and her parents both came from Ireland.
As a child at Holly Lodge Grammar School in Smethwick, she was not a model student. She misbehaved, played truant and even opened the letter the school sent to her parents telling them that Julie had been suspended. She told them that she had decided to leave school to find work! This wayward, headstrong girl became a trainee nurse in Birmingham and then at Manchester Polytechnic.
Julie Walters' first professional work was with 'Van Load', the touring offshoot of Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. She performed very 'down to earth' plays in borstals, schools and pubs, alongside fellow actors Pete Postlethwaite and Bill Nighy.
Julie Walters progressed to the London stage, having acquired a reputation in Liverpool for performing highly political, improvisatory drama. She also developed a very bawdy act on the cabaret circuit.
In 1980, she was cast as Rita in the RSC's production of Willy Russell's Educating Rita. After receiving rave reviews for her performance, it was little surprise that she was cast opposite Michael Caine in the 1983 film version. Rita (aka Susan) is a hairdresser who goes against her family and working class background, to get an education. Despite winning Golden Globe and British Film Awards for her performance, Julie Walters worked almost exclusively in British Theatre and TV.
She published her first novel, Maggie's Tree, in 2006.
Other notable TV roles were in My Beautiful Son (2001), Murder (2002) and The Canterbury Tales (2003), all three productions earning Julie Walters BAFTA awards for 'Best Actress'. A further TV success came in The Ruby in the Smoke (2006) where she starred alongside Billie Piper.
Julie Walters has had a long association with comedienne and musician Victoria Wood. They first appeared on TV in 1982 for their series Wood & Walters. Three years later came Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV (1985), a comedy sketch show that introduced Julie Walters' character Mrs. Overall, a hump-backed charlady who misses cues and bumps scenery in the spoof soap opera Acorn Antiques (1986). Later collaborations with Victoria Wood were in Dinner Ladies (1988) and Wetty Hainthrop Investigates (1999).
Her desire to act caused her to switch from the nursing course that she was doing, to the drama couse, much to her mother's furious opposition!
It wasn't until Billy Elliot (2000) that her film career really took off. Walters plays Mrs Wilkinson, Billy's chain-smoking ballet teacher who recognises the talent that the young boy has.
More fame came for Julie Walters when she was cast as Molly Weasley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001). The Weasleys are a wizard family and Molly is the mother of 'Ron' Weasley, Harry Potter's best friend. She played the same character in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), although the part was only a cameo in the two later films.
In 2004, Julie Walters played Annie Clarke in the comedy drama Calendar Girls. This is based on a true story about a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calender to raise money for lukaemia research. Helen Mirren stars alongside Walters and other notable British actresses, including Celia Imrie, Annette Crosbie, Geraldine James and Penelope Wilton.
Driving Lessons (2006) casts Julie Walters as Evie, a retired and slightly batty actress, who befriends a shy teenager Ben (played by Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter films), who is trying to break free from the dominance of his very religious mother.
Julie Walters met AA patrol man Grant Roffey in 1986, married him 11 years later and they now live on his organic farm in Sussex. They have a daughter Maisie.
I met Julie Walters in October 2006 at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, where she gave a talk about her new book, Maggie's Tree, which had just been published. Afterwards, I was able to get my copy of Maggie's Tree signed, along with a photo, my autograph book and my Calender girls poster. I then had my photo taken with this friendly and very funny lady!
Julie Walters with her OBE and
Julie Walters with one of her
My Calendar Girls poster
in Acorn Antiques
Julie Walters signs........
Victoria Wood & Julie Walters in Dinner Ladies
Julie Walters as Mrs Overall with Celia Imrie
Rupert Grint & Julie Walters in Driving Lessons
My copy of Maggie's Tree
My autograph book
Billie Piper & Julie Walters in Ruby in the Smoke
Julie Walters in Calendar Girls
Julie Walters & Daniel Radcliffe in the Harry Potter films
Julie Walters as Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot
Julie Walters & Michael Caine in Educating Rita
Julie Walters as Lizzie Hunt in The Return
Julie Walters on stage in Fool For Love
This is the photo that Julie has signed for me
Julie Walters was awarded the OBE in 1999
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