It would be hard to imagine "Downton Abbey" without the prim and proper Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, but it may be a reality sooner than we think.
British newspaper The Daily Mail says that Maggie Smith has asked the producers of "Downton Abbey" to write her out of the show after the third season. Smith, who has appeared in a number of productions over the years including the Harry Potter film series, is a two-time Oscar winner and two-time Emmy winner, including a win last year for the countess. That's not including the fact that she's been nominated for six Oscars and five Emmys, dating back to the 1960s.
The 77-year-old actress, according to the story, is looking to spend more time in theater and in movies. The show -- which is in the process of filming its third season -- is expecting to have Violet contract a fatal illness, which would allow Smith to exit.
Yet "Downton Abbey" American distributor Masterpiece told the Huffington Post that the story isn't true, and that there are no immediate plans to have Smith depart.
"Season 3 is currently filming with Maggie and the rest of the cast," according to the statement. "We don't comment on future story lines, but there's no truth in the story that Maggie is leaving the show."
"Downton Abbey" was created by Julian Fellowes and features a noble British family and their servants adjusting to life following the sinking of the Titanic, and later World War I. The series airs in Britain on ITV and in America on PBS stations through the Masterpiece series, and is one of PBS' top-rated scripted series of all time.
Its first season was nominated for 11 Emmys, and won six, including Outstanding Miniseries or Made For Television Movie, and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.
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