LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13:  Maggie Smith attends Evensong in celebration of the centenary of the Order of the Companions of Honour at Hampton Court Palace on June 13, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Maggie Smith's Downton Abbey Fame Came At A Hefty Cost
While Maggie Smith was already an accomplished actress with multiple awards, film, and theater credits before "Downton Abbey," but it was her role as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, that gained her enormous fame. The actress talked about how the power of television negatively affected her everyday life in an interview with “Fresh Air.”
Before “Downton Abbey,” Smith had done very little television, only appearing in the occasional miniseries or a TV recording of a play. Now at age 87, she can no longer freely go out in public, explaining, "I find it very difficult to do anything on my own now because people recognize me. This has never happened to me before [...] But I suppose if you're in people's rooms all the time — I don't know.”
Smith especially feels uncomfortable with people taking unsolicited photos when she’s in public, saying, “I think now it's very intrusive because of these cellphone [...] cameras." While it’s understandable that fans would be excited to see the actress walking down the street, they should remember that she is just someone who plays a fictional character and not their friend or houseguest.