With two new movies, Victoria & Abdul and Murder on the Orient Express, Judi Dench’s career is in high gear, and she wouldn’t want it any other way. Clearly, the critically-acclaimed actress is not retiring anytime soon. “Retirement is a rubbish word,” she exclusively told Closer Weekly at the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where she received the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. She was excited to meet the award’s 101-year-old namesake: “We share a birthday!” she said.
Judi in 2009 at age 75.
The actress celebrated her 83rd birthday on Saturday, Dec. 9, but is continuing to prove that age is just a number. “I don’t think about slowing down. So celebrate the things that you can do and also try and do new things. I believe in that tremendously,” she said to People magazine in 2015. But in our job, that’s what we have to do all the time.”
Even with all of her success — which spans six decades! — Judi would rather be young again. “There’s nothing good about being my age,” she joked to People. “Someone said to me, ‘You have such a wealth of knowledge,’ and I just said, ‘I’d rather be young and know nothing, actually.’ Bugger the wealth of knowledge.”
The Academy Award-winning actress, known for her roles in Shakespeare in Love, Chocolat, and Philomena, among many others, sadly lost her husband of 30 years, Michael Williams, from lung cancer in 2001. Since then, she’s been candid about finding love again later in life. Dame Judi’s been with her partner, David Mills, for the last seven years, and they got together when she least expected it! “[It] never, even for a second, occurred to me,” she told the Times. “He is so lovely, with a great sense of humor. Now, it’s absolutely wonderful, because there’s somebody who makes me laugh.”