‘This American said: “Miss Dench, you have every single thing wrong with your face,” ’ she told me.
It was in her first summer at Stratford that her talent came blazing out as Titania, a dazzling firework of a Fairy Queen with streaming wild hair and unrestrained libido.
When her career took off, that of her actor husband Michael Williams, whom she married at the age of 36, was inevitably overshadowed.
One day in a pub at Wasp Green, Surrey, where she’d bought a 17th-century house and small estate, I raised this delicate subject with them. Had her success made their relationship difficult to maintain?
Michael answered by expressing his admiration for acting that was, he said, well out of his league.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed Judi ferociously ironing out the silver paper wrappings that had held our after-lunch mints with the back of a spoon.
She said nothing. But it was clear that she found the disparity in their fame more awkward than he did.
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