cover image Judi Dench: With a Crack in Her Voice

Judi Dench: With a Crack in Her Voice

John Miller, Miller. Welcome Rain Publishers, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-1-56649-111-2

From her stage work in Shakespeare, Chekhov and Shaw, to her startling reinterpretation of ""M"" in the Bond series, to her brilliant turns as Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in Mrs. Brown and Shakespeare in Love, Dame Judi Dench has secured a place in both the critical and popular imagination as one of the most talented and celebrated actors working on the stage or screen today. While Miller's biography exhaustively chronicles her public career, it doesn't probe the veil of privacy Dench has drawn around her personal life. The daughter of a doctor, Dench was born in 1934 in middle-class comfort. A prize-winning student, she participated in amateur theater with her family. After training at the Old Vic, she played Ophelia. In 1968, she originated the role of Cabaret's Sally Bowles in London's West End and a year later became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, working frequently in television and films as well as on stage. Miller is adept at detailing and contextualizing Dench's career; she has interviewed almost everyone with whom Dench has worked. While she covers the milestones in Dench's personal life--including her 1971 marriage to actor Michael Williams and the birth of her daughter, Finty, a year later--fans interested in dish or personal drama will have to wait for an encore. (Dec.)