Throughout the course of her notable career, she has starred in some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed motion pictures, including Hawaii, Victor/Victoria, Torn Curtain, The Americanization of Emily, Thoroughly Modern Mille, and 10. She later delighted audiences as Queen of Genovia in The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and as the voice of the queen in the Shrek movies, as well as Gru’s mother, Marlene, in the Despicable Me and Minion movies.
In 1954, she made her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend and then rose to prominence with her mesmerizing stage presence and astonishing vocal range in My Fair Lady and Camelot. She also starred in the television musical Cinderella.
Together with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, she has written more than 30 books for children and young adults. Her new book, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years (Hachette Books), begins with her venture into the world of Hollywood. It is “must reading” for anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes look at the motion-picture industry.
In 2000, she received the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire for her achievements in the arts and humanities.