Eileen Atkins

Veteran British star of both stage and screen, Eileen Atkins rose from her working-class roots to become one of the most accomplished and decorated actresses to cross the Atlantic. Though not as well known across the pond as contemporaries Judi Dench or Helen Mirren, Atkins nonetheless thrived on the stage, earning numerous awards and nominations, especially for her several transformative performances as novelist Virginia Woolf. While acting remained her bread and butter, Atkins occasionally used her talents as a writer to create unforgettable television like the popular "Upstairs, Downstairs" (ITV, 1971-75), the acclaimed stage play "Vita & Virginia" (1994) and the well-regarded screenplay for "Mrs. Dalloway" (1997). All throughout her career, she remained in an unparalleled class, building a sterling résumé that eventually earned her a place in the Theater Hall of Fame in 1998. While her feature career remained relatively muted compared to her stage work - a few highlights like "Gosford Park" (2001) and "Cold Mountain" (2003) stood out - Atkins nonetheless established herself as an actress of unending verve and talent.