Penelope Wilton

Penelope Wilton


6/3/1946, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Birth Name



Also Known As

Penelope Winton
  • Mrs Beddows (Penelope Wilton) in South R...
  • Penelope Wilton and Michael Kitchen in F...
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Penelope Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire in 1946. A niece of the actor Bill Travers and the actress Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant, she had a successful stage career before breaking into television and her West End debut was…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Penelope Wilton's début in the theatre was in a performance of The Philanthropist at the Royal Court.

    • Penelope Wilton has one surviving child, a daughter Alice, named after her mother.

    • Penelope Wilton found her role of Livia in Women Beware Women to be one of the most challenging of her career.

    • Penelope Wilton was nominated in 2007 for the London Evening Standard Theatre Award - Best Actress for her performance in John Gabriel Borkman at the Donmar Warehouse

    • Penelope Wilton teaches a series of Master-classes on English and related Studies at York University.

    • Penelope Wilton was awarded an honorary Doctorate by The University of York in 2002.

    • Penelope Wilton's role in the film version of The History Boys was a new character who had not appeared in the play and was written specifically for her by Alan Bennett.

    • Penelope Wilton makes a point of visiting graveyards whenever she goes on holiday. She finds the architecture and the stories of the people to be fascinating.

    • Penelope Wilton was nominated for the BAFTA Best Actress (television) in the following roles: 1985 for Ever Decreasing Circles, 1987 for The Monocled Mutineer, 1993 for The Borrowers, 1999 for Talking Heads 2: Nights in the Gardens of Spain and 2006 for Falling.

    • She was nominated for the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress (film) in the following roles: 1986 for Clockwise, 1987 for Cry Freedom and 1994 for The Secret Rapture.

    • Penelope Wilton was nominated in 2001 for the London Evening Standard Theatre Award - Best Actress for her performance in The Little Foxes at the Donmar Warehouse.

    • Penelope Wilton won the London Critics' Circle Award in 1993 for Best Actress in The Deep Blue Sea.

    • Penelope Wilton was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award - Actress of the Year in 1981 for a Revival of Man & Superman at the National Theatre.

    • Penelope Wilton was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to drama in the 2004 New Year's Honours List.

  • Quotes

    • Penelope Wilton: (About ex-husband Ian Holm) I first saw him when I was 17 and had just learnt to drive, so I drove myself to Stratford to see him in Henry VI Parts I and II. I remember thinking he was absolutely wonderful.

    • Penelope Wilton: (About being educated in Convent schools) I loved the nuns. Miss Barafatty. Mother St Joseph, and I loved all the drama and incense, but never really learned anything. They were the sorts of places that majored in needlework.

    • Penelope Wilton: When you get older, people are dying to stereotype you. You play the mummy or the auntie figure or you have to be batty. And actually, all of that's bollocks. People are who they are, but they're just a bit older. I think any woman encounters that stereotyping.

    • Penelope Wilton: Theatre is not something that you can altogether quantify and it's about so many other things that you can't. Theatres come alive because people put their hearts and soul into it. Theatre is a life-long commitment. It's not to do with finance but to do with loving what you do. And I love what I do.

    • Penelope Wilton: The thing about being an actor is that you turn into other people. You have to hide yourself a bit in order to let that other person come out.

    • Penelope Wilton: I didn't come into the business until the late sixties but I've seen a lot of changes in the years since. Mostly I mourn the demise of the repertory companies, that's a very sad thing from the point of view of the training of actors.