It's a Dog's Life for New Abbey Star; Shirley MacLaine Joins the Period Drama as Martha Levinson, the Mother of Lady Cora Grantham

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), September 15, 2012 | Go to article overview

It's a Dog's Life for New Abbey Star; Shirley MacLaine Joins the Period Drama as Martha Levinson, the Mother of Lady Cora Grantham


Byline: RICK FULTON

Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine would only take a bigger part in Downton Abbey if her dog could come too.

The 13-year-old spotted rat terrier called Terry is the love of her life and being away for just three weeks while filming her part for the third series of the STV period drama, which starts tomorrow, was a wrench.

The actress, who lives with Terry in New Mexico, said: "Can you believe this is a governing factor in my life? Of course I'd come back, but only if I can bring my dog.

"I don't like leaving my dog when I go to England and she is with me all the time.

"She's older now and so I have to leave her in a kennel. We've been together 24/7 for 13 years.

"Really that is the only thing because I love England and I love this cast."

Given America's love affair with Downton, bringing Shirley into the cast as rich American Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) - if only for the first two episodes - is a coup.

Shirley is Hollywood royalty and her character will ruffle the stuffy feathers of the British aristocracy, in particular the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith).

As well as winning an Oscar for Terms of Endearment, Shirley has been in a raft of Hollywood classics including The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Gambit with Michael Caine. She is also the sister of Warren Beatty.

But her latest role in Downton was thanks to "her follicle fixer".

Shirley, who is a grandmother of two and admitted having an open marriage with ex-husband Steve Parker, with whom she had daughter Sachi, revealed: "I happened to mention it to somebody - as you do in a hairdressing place - and suddenly all the women there had these theories about what Elizabeth McGovern's mother would be like. I thought, 'My god, the whole world's obsessed with this show and this family.' And that's how it started."

Martha's arrival at Downton, where Dame Maggie's character The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham reigns supreme, raises the prospect of two modern film and stage greats, locking horns.

But Shirley says their interaction, during the backdrop of the wedding of Martha's granddaughter, Lady Mary, to Matthew Crawley, is a little more subtle than just sneering and brickbats.

She said: "The gunfight at the OK Corral does not happen between Maggie and me.

"We do a little sparring, we have our moments but it's more sophisticated than that.

"Martha is not just a crass, cranky American coming in there to call a spade a spade.

"She's very smart and to a large extent sensitive to what's going on with all her daughter's children. And Maggie's character is so well established but you have to look beyond her expected reaction to Martha. The Dowager Countess is a human being who has complications and a past of some pain that Martha understands - and to some extent addresses herself to. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

It's a Dog's Life for New Abbey Star; Shirley MacLaine Joins the Period Drama as Martha Levinson, the Mother of Lady Cora Grantham
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.