MacLaine to Join 'Downton Abbey'

    Multiple Emmy® winner (including Best Miniseries!) Downton Abbey resumes the story of aristocrats and servants in the tumultuous World War I era. The international hit is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, plus a drawing room full of new actors, portraying the loves, feuds, and sacrifices of a glittering culture thrown into crisis.

Downton Abbey Season 2 - Episode 1
January 8, 2012 at 9pm ET on PBS

Matthew Crawley and new fiancee Lavinia Swire. Shown from L-R: Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley and Zoe Boyle as Lavinia Swire

(C) 2011 Nick Briggs/ITV for MASTERPIECE

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    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece

    Academy Award winner Shirley MacLaine will join the cast of Downton Abbey for its third season, which is set to premiere on ITV in the U.K. this fall and will air on PBS's Masterpiece Classic early next year. When shooting on the period drama, created by Julian Fellowes, resumes next month, MacLaine (Terms of Endearment) will join the cast of the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner, where she will play a new character, Martha Levinson, the mother of American-born Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern). "My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966, so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey," said executive producer Gareth Neame in an official statement. In the U.S., Downton Abbey's second season, which is up 30 percent in the ratings, is slated to wrap its run on Feb. 19.

    Read it at The Daily Beast