Virgin Books Limited ~ hardback September 2003, paperback May 2004
Random House ~ eBook January 2012
Julie Walters is one of Britain's finest actresses. From her film debut alongside Michael Caine in Educating Rita, to her starring role in the internationally acclaimed Billy Elliot, both of which earned her Oscar-nominations, Walters has worked with some of the greatest and most diverse actors and directors in the world today. Notable playwrights, Alan Bleasdale, Alan Bennett and Willy Russell, write specifically for her.
In Britain she is perhaps best known for her enduring television collaborations with comedienne and close friend, Victoria Wood, including appearances in Acorn Antiques, dinnerladies and their own show, Wood And Walters. However, she is equally adept at serious drama, as she showed in the recent BBC series Murder, which followed a mother's emotional journey coming to terms with the death of her son.
Born in 1950, Walters was raised in working-class Birmingham and suffered an overly strict, Catholic upbringing. After a traumatic education, she was expelled in the sixth form and, under pressure from her mother, joined a nursing course. But Walters determined to pursue a career in the arts, and left to study drama at Manchester Polytechnic. She then joined the Liverpool Everyman Theatre where she cut her teeth as an actress, before finding fame in Educating Rita.
Over the next decade, Walters suffered three marriage proposals, two long-term romances and a period of heavy drinking. At the end of 1984 she finally met sociology student, Grant Roffey, seven years her junior, and settled down. Coming to motherhood late, Walters had a daughter, Maisie, who was tragically diagnosed with leukaemia when just a toddler; being the main breadwinner, she was forced to juggle work and caring for Maisie through years of painful chemotherapy.
She continues to grace our screens, both big and small, and was voted the Greatest British Film Actress of all time in 2001, beating the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Catherine Zeta Jones. Walters has also gained a whole new generation of fans with her portrayal of Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter films.
Ellis and Sutherland have interviewed friends, teachers and colleagues to compile this first-ever biography of this British 'national treasure', making it a book that every fan will want on their shelves.
'People recognise that she's one of us and always will be. She's not going to have a grand manner, or a grand manor, and we love her because of that.' Alan Bleasdale.
'I've never met anyone who didn't like her, which is remarkable really because she isn't bland at all!' Victoria Wood
'Wherever Julie is, there is fun and laughter' Lewis Gilbert
'It's rare to find that level of bonhomie and warmth, combined with real talent.' Richard Loncraine
'She's got such a great sense of comedy, and comic timing and the ridiculous.' Sophie Thursfield
'She's like a mother figure in that she cares about people - she genuinely cares about each person on a one-to-one basis. There's just this warm aura around her.' Crissy Rock
'Nobody had any control over her, she was a law unto herself!' Nathaniel Parker
'Julie is wonderfully precise, articulate, perceptive and amusing about people. She is a great collaborator and very creative.' Mike Leigh