Achieved fame with her performance of Desdemona to Paul Robeson's Othello, and went on to become one of the most acclaimed Shakespearean actors, often playing opposite Sir John Gielgud.
After beginning a limited film career with 1933's The Wandering Jew, most visible motion-picture role was in the Alfred Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps (1935); later won an Oscar for A Passage to India (1984).
Became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1956, and became the only living British actor to have a playhouse, the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon, England, named in her honor.
Last role was in the 1990 TV-movie She's Been Away.
1990, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
1985, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Winner
1990, BAFTA Film Awards — Special Award (Film): Nominee
1970, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
1989, Venice Film Festival — Best Actress: Winner
1984, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Winner
1986, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Leading Role: Winner
1989, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
1960, BAFTA Film Awards — Best British Actress: Nominee
1986, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
1985, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special: Nominee
Edward Ashcroft — Brother
Jeremy Hutchinson — Ex-husband
Theodore Komisarjevsky — Ex-husband
Rupert Hart-Davis — Ex-husband
William Worsley Ashcroft — Father
Violetta Maud Ashcroft — Mother
Eliza — Daughter
Nicholas Hutchinson — Son
Central School of Speech and Drama, London, England