Date: 31st January 2012
Shirley MacLaine, who has made more than 60 films, will play Lady Grantham's mother in the third series of the hit ITV drama
Her withering asides and perfectly-timed eye-rolls have long been the highlight of Downton Abbey, but the dowager countess, as played by Maggie Smith, might be about to find herself with some competition.
The 77-year-old actress, sister of Warren Beatty, will play Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) in the third series of the ITV1 show.
Shirley, who won the best actress Oscar in 1983 for Terms Of Endearment, will join the cast when they start filming next month.
She has starred in more than 50 films, had six Oscar nominations and written several best-sellers in a career that spans more than half a century.
Downton Abbey scooped the award for best television mini series at the Golden Globes earlier this month.
Source: Press Release