In the world of acting, Dame Maggie Smith is considered a living legend. Smith has been acting since the early 1950s, and she has an extraordinary body of work to show for it. Younger fans may recognize her from the “Harry Potter” series or her award-winning part in “Downton Abbey,” but she has been performing since far earlier. She is well known for her performances in the films “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” “California Suite,” “Tea with Mussolini,” “Gosford Park,” and many more.
Smith is a real acting icon who has collected several prizes over the course of her seven-decade career. She is one of the few people who can claim about having won the acting equivalent of the Triple Crown, which consists of an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. She has been honored with a total of two Oscars, four Primetime Emmys, one Tony, seven BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards throughout her career. In addition, she has been recognized for her achievements in the arts and theater by Queen Elizabeth II, who made her a Dame in the year 1990 for her work in those fields.
It is surprising to see how easily Smith can transition from one acting style to another, as well as how well she can perform on both the stage and the cinema. Smith has exceptional acting abilities. In addition to this, she has a really big heart since she is active in a lot of different philanthropic organizations.
The actress also had the good fortune to discover her one true love. It was her second husband, Beverley Cross, who was the love of her life, despite the fact that she was married to her first husband, Robert Stephens, for eight years and that the two children they had together were her pride and joy. In point of fact, Smith and Cross had a brief romance in their younger years before going their own ways and starting children of their own. Then, 15 years later, after both of their marriages had ended in divorce, Smith and Cross got back in touch, and it was almost as if no time had gone at all. Let’s take a look at this amazing couple’s love history, shall we?
Smith was born on December 28th, 1934 in the county of Essex, in the United Kingdom. She enrolled in acting classes at the Oxford Playhouse, and by the time she was a teenager, she already had a job. Since then, she has had an outstanding career that has included roles in more than 60 films and 70 plays, and she has been the recipient of a great deal of recognition and accolades along the way. Even though Smith is arguably best known for her roles in movies, the actress maintains a fondness for the theater, which is where she got her start in the entertainment industry. In an interview with NPR that took place in 2016, she discussed the pressure that she experiences while she is acting in movies and television shows. In her words:
“When you go to the theater, you have the opportunity to try again. You are able to do it the next night, at the subsequent performance. It is possible for you to get it at that time. However, you don’t have much of a say in the actual production of the film. And to tell you the truth, I probably drive everyone insane because I keep going on and on and on and want to do another take and – because I never feel like it’s right. Therefore, I constantly have a strong sense of pressure.”
A few years later, in 2019, she gave the following interview to The Guardian:
“It wasn’t quite what you’d call gratifying, but I am really appreciative of the effort that was done on “Potter” and certainly “Downton.” I didn’t get the impression that I was acting when those things occurred.”
Smith and Cross, her second husband, also had a passion for the theater, which was something they enjoyed together. Cross, a writer, had immediate success with his first play, “One More River,” and with his second piece, “Strip the Willow,” he tried his best to create Smith a celebrity out of the character she portrayed. Later on in his career, he expanded his portfolio by writing scripts for both movies and television shows.
In point of fact, Smith and Cross originally met at the theater in the early 1950s. This was about the same time that they started having an affair around the year 1960. All of this took place before they moved on to married other people and then finally got back together after 15 years. The first time the two crossed paths was in 1952 at an Oxford student revue. Although Cross was already married to his student Elizabeth Clunies-Ross, he was infatuated with Smith, who featured in his second play, “Strip the Willow,” in 1960, which made her a star. Although Cross was already married to his classmate Elizabeth Clunies-Ross, he was captivated with Smith. After that, they started having an affair together while Cross was in the process of divorcing his first wife.
But soon after Smith began performing at the National Theater at the Old Vic, she met fellow actor Stephens and fell in love with him. Stephens would go on to become Smith’s first husband. According to an article that was published in the New York Times, Cross had “murderous animosity” for Stephens. Cross eventually had a second marriage, and both he and Smith eventually had children with the wives they had chosen for themselves. Smith and Stephens’ union resulted in the birth of two boys, the actors Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens; in contrast, Cross’ first two marriages produced two daughters and a son from a previous union.
Because he wanted to avoid any appearance of familial favoritism, her oldest son decided to choose the surname Larkin rather than his birth name, Stephens. The name Larkin was selected for him since Philip Larkin is his favorite poet. Chris is a classically educated actor who began his career with tiny appearances on television. However, the character of Hermann Goring in the film “Hilter: The Rise of Evil” from 2003 is likely what brought him the greatest fame. In addition, he has shared the screen with some of the most well-known actors in Hollywood, such as Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.
Toby, the younger son of Smith, followed in his family’s footsteps and pursued a career in the performing arts at the same time. He is perhaps most recognized for his performance as the James Bond antagonist Gustav Graves in the James Bond film “Die Another Day,” which was released in 2003. His voice and appearance were used in the 2012 video game “007 Legends,” in which he also resumed the character of James Bond.
Even though Smith’s family and life were entirely apart from Cross’s, it seems that the two were still destined to be together in the end. The stormy marriage of Smith and Stephens finally came to an end in 1975, amid charges that Stephens had multiple extramarital relationships. Fate had a role in this event. After that, Cross quickly divorced his second wife, and on June 23, 1975, he wed Smith. This all took place inside the same calendar year. According to what was published in The New York Times, Smith once stated:
“I’m very lucky … It’s almost like following a script when you run with someone you should have married in the first place after a long absence. The odds are just not there for someone to have that type of amazing fortune.
Cross passed away in 1998 at the age of 66, after the couple had been married for a total of 23 years. Smith was left in a state of devastation after the death of her second husband, and she has since carried on his legacy. In an interview with CBS in 2013, Smith was asked whether she felt lonely since she had broken up with Cross, and she responded as follows:
“I really have no idea. It’s hard to see the purpose in it… Having no one to talk to or share the experience with when one is traveling alone.”
The actress said that she had no desire to meet anybody else and had no intention of doing so. Smith is very blessed in that she is surrounded by her family, which includes two sons and five grandkids, all of whom she describes as “amazing.”