Judi Dench to receive Stirling University honour

Judi Dench on a previous visit to the university. Picture: Contributed
Judi Dench on a previous visit to the university. Picture: Contributed
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OSCAR-winning actress Dame Judi Dench is to visit Stirling University in the summer to be honoured for an outstanding contribution to the arts.

The 78-year-old star of Mrs Brown, Iris, Shakespeare in Love and the most recent James Bond films has confirmed her attendance at a graduation ceremony on 26 June.

She will be honoured a decade after opening a new dementia research centre at the university named after Irish Murdoch.

Dame Judi had one of her most memorable screen roles portraying the novelist and playwright, who suffered from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

The university said the award for Dame Judi was also being given in recognition of the actress’s efforts to highlight dementia issues, as well as her contribution to the arts, and in particular film.

Dame Judi’s acting career was launched with the Old Vic Company at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool in 1957, when she starred as Ophelia in Hamlet, and she had a long career with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She appeared alongside Billy Connolly as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, winning her a BAFTA and an Academy Award nomination, and won best supporting actress at the Oscars for her role in Shakespeare in Love.

She first appeared in the Bond series in 1995 appearing alongside Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye and only stood down from the role last year with her farewell appearance in Skyfall.

Professor June Andrews, director of Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre, said: “Dame Judi officially opened our Iris Murdoch Building a decade ago, giving a terrific boost to the world-wide work of the centre, which has now been at the university for about a quarter of a century.

“Her moving Bafta-winning performance depicting a woman with dementia in the classic film Iris is still one of our best resources in helping everyone understand the value of every person with this condition, and the evidence base for supporting them.”