Harriet Walter

Harriet Walter
Harriet Walter

Harriet Walter discusses the role of women in Shakespeare plays as part of the RSC's "Stand up for Shakespeare" programme in January 2009
Born Harriet Mary Walter
24 September 1950 (1950-09-24) (age 61)
London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actress
Years active 1974–present
Spouse Guy Schuessler

Dame Harriet Mary Walter, DBE (born 24 September 1950) is a British actress.


Personal life

She is the niece of renowned British actor Christopher Lee,[1] as the daughter of his elder sister Xandra Lee. On her father's side she is a great-great-great-granddaughter of John Walter, founder of The Times[2]She was educated at the Cranbourne Chase School. After training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she gained early experience with the Joint Stock Theatre Company, Paines Plough touring, and the Duke's Playhouse, Lancaster.[3] Her partner, until his death in 2004, was actor Peter Blythe.[4] On 21 May 2011 she married Guy Schuessler, an American actor (stage name Guy Paul)[5].


She has worked many times throughout her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in productions including Nicholas Nickleby (1980), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981), All's Well That Ends Well (1981), The Castle (1985), Three Sisters (1988), The Duchess of Malfi (1989), Macbeth (1999), and Much Ado about Nothing (2002).

She was made an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987. Other theatre work includes Three Birds Alighting on a Field (1991), Arcadia (1993), Hedda Gabler (1996), Ivanov (1997), and Mary Stuart (2005).

Her films include Sense and Sensibility (1995), Bedrooms and Hallways (1998), Onegin (1999), Villa des Roses (2002), and Bright Young Things (2003).


She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours[3] and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama.[6]

Her performance in Mary Stuart at the Donmar Warehouse transferred to Broadway, where it was nominated for numerous Tony Awards, including Best Actress nods for her and her co-star Janet McTeer.[7]

Stage – notable performances




  • Rebecca (1979) – Clarice
  • Play for Today: The Imitation Game (1980) – Cathy Raine
  • Amy (1984) – Amy Johnson
  • The Price (1985, mini series) – Frances Carr
  • Strong Poison (1987) – Harriet Vane
  • Have His Carcase (1987) – Harriet Vane
  • Gaudy Night (1987) – Harriet Vane
  • La Nuit Miraculeuse (1989)
  • Ashenden (1991, miniseries) – Giulia Lazzari
  • The Men's Room (1991, miniseries – Charity Walton
  • Bye Bye Columbus (1991) – Queen Isabella
  • The Hour of the Pig (1993) – Jeannine Martin
  • Inspector Morse – The Day of the Devil (1993) – Dr. Esther Martin
  • The Maitlands (1993) – Mrs. Dorothy Maitland
  • Hard Times (1994) – Rachel
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: segment two (1997, miniseries)- Mildred Blaides
  • Norman Ormal: A Very Political Turtle (1998) – Felicity Ormal
  • Unfinished Business (1998, TV Series) – Amy
  • The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999) – Queen Morag
  • Dalziel and Pascoe Time to Go (1999) – Mary Waddell (guest appearance)
  • Black Cab – Busy Body (2000) – Jane (guest appearance)
  • Waking the Dead – A Simple Sacrifice (2001) – Annie Keel (guest appearance)
  • My Uncle Silas II (2003) – Pamela Farrell (guest appearance)
  • Spooks – aka MI-5 (USA) – Who Guards the Guards? (2004) – Deep Throat (guest appearance)
  • Messiah: The Harrowing (2005) – Prof Robb
  • New Tricks – Episode #2.3 (2005) – Madeline (guest appearance)
  • Midsomer Murders – Orchis Fatalis (2005) – Margaret Winstanley (guest appearance)
  • Ballet Shoes (2007) – Dr Smith
  • Cat Among the Pigeons (2008) – Honoria Bulstrode
  • Little Dorrit (2008) – Mrs. Gowan (guest appearance)
  • The Palace (2008) – Joanna Woodward (guest appearance)
  • Law and Order: UK (2009) DI Natalie Chandler
  • A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009) – Clare




  • Macbeth (Actors on Shakespeare) (2002). Faber and Faber, London. ISBN 057121407X
  • Other People's Shoes (2003). Nick Hern Books, London. ISBN 1-85459-751-5. Autobiography.
  • Facing It, Reflections on images of older women (2010). Self Published, London.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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