Hollywood living legend Shirley MacLaine will be returning to 'Downton Abbey' in the upcoming fourth season, reprising her role as American matriarch Martha Levinson, Lady Cora’s mother.
Earlier we reported that Siobahn Finneran would be leaving the British series and that her Maid O'Brien character would be written out of the storyline in some capacity. Finneran's exit came hot on the heels of the reported 'Downton Abbey' departures of Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens (who played Sybill and Matthew), so with all of the fleeing faces it is nice to report that a familiar face will be coming back.
The seventy-eight year old MacLaine has been starring in television and film since 1955 and is showing no signs of slowing down--her IMDB page lists no fewer than eight projects yet to be released. MacLaine played the female lead in the unforgettable cinema classic 'The Apartment' opposite the late Jack Lemmon (which, if you haven't seen, you need to hop on Netflix and screen at your earliest convenience... trust me). More recently, MacLaine appeared in the features 'Closing the Ring' and 'Valentine's Day.' Her appearance on 'Downton Abbey' adds even more star power to the big-budget series and adds an important American element to the cast of a series that is becoming more popular on the Western side of the pond with each passing season.
As MacLaine returns for the fourth season, the series will be bringing a bevy of new faces aboard: Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Harriet Walter, Joanna David, Nigel Harman, and Kiri Te Kanawa will each be appearing in the season as well. Cullen will play Lord Gillingham, friend of the Crawley family, and Ovenden will play Charles Blake, a wealthy aristocrat. Te Kanawa is an opera singer, not an actor, and will be appearing in an appropriate capacity: she will play a singing houseguest at the Abbey, though what her character will do beyond her performance remains a mystery.
Are you excited for the new season of 'Downton Abbey?'