Dame Eileen Atkins, DBE is an English actress and occasional screenwriter. She has worked in the theatre, film, and television consistently since 1953. In 2008, she won the BAFTA TV award for Best Actress and the Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-series or Movie for Cranford. She is a three-time Olivier Award winner, winning Best Supporting Performance in 1988 (for multiple roles) and Best Actress for The Unexpected Man (1999) and Honour (2004). She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 2001.
Dame Eileen joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1957 and made her Broadway debut in the 1966 production of The Killing of Sister George, for which she received the first of four Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Play in1967. She received subsequent nominations in 1972, 1995 and 2004.
Dame Eileen co-created the television dramas Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–75) and The House of Elliot (1991–93). She also wrote the screenplay for the 1997 film Mrs Dalloway. Dame Eileen is Honorary President of Virginia Woolf Society and played a key role in College’s Virginia Woolf Festival in May 2017.
In December 2005 Dame Eileen received the degree of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa, from City University, London. In June 2010, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Oxford University.