Eileen June Atkins was born on June 16, 1934 in Clapton, London, England. Atkins was born in a Salvation Army Women's Hostel in north London. Her father was a gas meter reader and her mother, a seamstress and barmaid. A drama teacher taught her how to drop her Cockney accent, and she studied Shakespeare and Greek tragedies. Atkins joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1957 and made her Broadway debut in the 1966 production of “The Killing of Sister George”, for which she received the first of four Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Play in 1967. She received subsequent nominations for, “Vivat! Vivat Regina!” in 1972, “Indiscretions” in 1995 and “The Retreat from Moscow” in 2004. In the UK, she has won three Olivier Awards, for Best Supporting Performance (for multiple roles) in 1988 and two for Best Actress, for “An Unexpected Hour” in 2001 and “Honour” in 2004.
Eileen only Euro-western so-far was in 2003’s “Cold Mountain” as Maddy.
She has been awarded a CBE in 1990, a DBE in 2001 and made a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1998.
Today we celebrate Eileen Atkins 80th birthday.