Dame Judith Olivia Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA (born 9 December 1934) is an English actress.
Originally trained as a set designer, Dench began her acting career in the mid 1950s in amateur productions, and made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. She branched into film work, and won a BAFTA Award as Most Promising Newcomer, however most of her work during this period was in theatre. Not generally known as a singer, she drew strong reviews for her leading role in the musical Cabaret in 1968.
During the next two decades, she established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In television, she achieved success during this period, in the series A Fine Romance from 1981 until 1984 and in 1992 began a continuing role in the television romantic comedy series As Time Goes By.
Her film appearances had been infrequent until she was cast as M in GoldenEye (1995), a role she has played in each James Bond