Judi Dench, 77, diagnosed with macular degeneration, could lose eyesight

Dame Judi Dench is currently promoting her latest film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was shot in India and also features actors like Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson. It’s about British seniors who “retire” to India in a nursing home/hotel/facility operated by Dev Patel’s character. It looks rather cute, and the quality of the actors makes me think the film will be good. Would you like to see the trailer? Here you go:

Cute, right? Anyway, Dame Judi has several new interviews, but everyone is talking about her recent admission that she has been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that could lead to blindness. Poor Judi!

Actress Dame Judi Dench has been diagnosed with a condition that can lead to blindness, she has revealed. The Oscar-winning star told the Daily Mirror she had age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and struggled to read scripts or recognize faces. But the 77-year-old has had some treatment and is hoping it might slow the decline in her eyesight.

AMD affects more than 600,000 Britons and last year research was published suggesting it could rise to 750,000.

Dame Judi, who is due to reprise the role of M in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, told the Mirror: “I can’t read scripts any more before because of the trouble with my eyes. And so somebody comes and reads them to me, like telling me a story.”

AMD, which affects the macula at the back of the eye, is the cause of more than half of registrations for blind and partially sighted people in the UK.

She said: “I’ve got what my ma had, macular degeneration, which you get when you get old.”

[From BBC]

Poor Judi – wait, she’s 77 years old?!?!? Damn, that old broad looks GREAT. As for her eyesight… I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for a woman who has had her sight for so many years to now be beholden to other people to read to her – especially when learning her lines is so important for her job! I hope her treatment goes well – prayers for Judi!

Additionally, Judi gave an extensive and lovely interview to The Telegraph which I wanted to point out – you can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:

Judi on working in India: ‘I’ve never been to India before and I didn’t know how I would react to the poverty. In the event I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to go back.’ One of the reasons she liked it so much was that scarcely anyone knew who she was. ‘I was recognised a little bit in Rajasthan because of the Bond films [in which she plays M] – nothing else.’

Playing a widow after being widowed 11 years ago: She plays a woman whose husband has just died and ever since the death of her own husband, Michael Williams, 11 years ago, she’s steered clear of playing widows. ‘It wasn’t just an emotional decision,’ she says. ‘There were professional reasons, too. I think if I’d played a grief-stricken widow too soon after Michael died I might have over-egged the part. Or at least I don’t think my judgment would have been that good.’

Working through grief: ‘I had this extraordinary energy after Michael died. I went off to Nova Scotia and did six weeks on The Shipping News. Then I came home and two days later started Iris. Then I did some more work on The Shipping News. And two days after that I started The Importance of Being Earnest. My poor agent nearly had a fit because I was cutting things so fine. But I found working at that pace and doing those kinds of parts helped me. Whereas playing a grief-stricken widow would have been no help at all.’ In fact, she’s always set a pretty daunting pace. ‘I’ve worked for 54 years, almost continuously,’ she says proudly.

Being called “the greatest actor of all time”: ‘The difficulty with any sort of esteem is that more is expected of you. I prefer not to think about it. I’d rather do a part because I want to, not because great things are expected of me. Then I get frightened and I rather resent that… People seem to have this idea that I’ve always been very ambitious. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve never had any idea what parts I would like to play. All I ever wanted was to be employed.’

[From The Telegraph]

God, I love British actors. “All I ever wanted was to be employed.” Thank you for that, Dame Judi. Tell that to the Jessica Biels of the world. Tell that to the Rooney Maras of the world. It’s just about getting work, and making the most of it. Isn’t Judi the best?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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44 Responses to “Judi Dench, 77, diagnosed with macular degeneration, could lose eyesight”

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  1. Alix says:

    She’s the best of the best. I hope her eye condition can be treated. Stay well, Dame Judi!

    • paola says:

      my mother has been diagnosed the same disease, she’s treating it with medicines and tons of vitamins and she’s doing fine, not blind or anything like that.
      I’m sure Judi will be fine, you can treat it if you find it in time

      • DrM says:

        My Mum is 77 in September and also has the same eye condition and is managing with medication, shots etc and is doing well. She’s also had it for a while…no blindness. She doesn’t drive at night anymore and needs bigger print but she is doing well…Love Dame Judi Dench :)

  2. The Original Mia says:

    Love this woman. Wishing her all the best.

  3. MissilePanda says:

    I love that she hasn’t messed with her face and still looks amazing

  4. Aqua says:

    I heard about this yesterday but I didn’t want to believe it.She is such a talented,classy beautiful woman.I just adore her.

  5. LadyAnne says:

    Yes she is (the best). And british actresses (hello, Helen Mirren) are just awesome.

  6. jc126 says:

    Awful, just awful. I hope there’s a breakthrough, for her and for everyone who suffers from macular degeneration.

  7. Mauibound says:

    Oh noes Judi !! What a kick ass woman!

  8. Asli says:

    Love this wonderful woman. I hope the best for her. You can always count on great interviews from British actors/actresses.

  9. brin says:

    Love her, so talented….hope treatment helps her save her sight.

  10. Nanea says:

    Judy, or Maggie Smith, or Vanessa Redgrave have always been active, all their lives, doing theater, TV, movies.

    Others throw away their health or looks, or have questionable work-ethics, or whine if an A-list status isn’t handed to them on a silver platter…

  11. Dana says:

    She is so wonderful. I just love her in the show “As time goes by”. Wishing her the best.

  12. Girl says:

    Best to her. She sounds like a nice person. And damn. She does look good for someone 15 years younger than her 77 years.

  13. LucyOriginal says:

    A Dame indeed! I wish Dame Dench all the best!

  14. blaugaro says:

    well, there is not much to say about that. I wish her the best. I don’t know much about her, but what I know is just enough to like her and respect her. I am also glad that she speaks frankly about her illnes. This is a common disease, but hollywood stars are even afraid to admit that they have wrinkles, so this is refreshing and encouraging for other people suffering this condition.

  15. d says:

    I THINK SHE’S AWESOME! I wish her the best. I’ve enjoyed watching her in just about every single movie that’s she’s been in. I hope she’s around for years to come. And this movie looks wonderful. I’d definitely see it.

  16. Maritza says:

    Such a lovely lady, I hope for her sake that in this case the doctors are wrong.

  17. truthful says:

    my favorite british actress, I am a longtime fan.

  18. buell says:

    She has class, grace and is still beautiful. God bless her.

  19. tmbg says:

    I was so sorry to read this about Dame Judi. My grandmother has had this for the last 8-9 years or so and she’s legally blind now. She gets shots of Avastin in her eye to stop the bleeding and to keep what eye sight she has left. It’s an awful condition.

  20. NaomiCampbellsPhone says:

    Firstly, my best to Dame Judi and I hope she recovers because she’s got plenty more years of amazing acting left to give us. Second, as this movie has my two favourite Dames in it (Judi and Maggie) then I’m gonna see it!

  21. Jenna says:

    Yes, British actors are the best. So much more down to earth. Dame Judi is magnificent.

  22. Ann says:

    She’s such a saucy minx and has major senior citizen sex appeal! Hope her health problems can be handled.

  23. bettyrose says:

    I just love her. At one point, in the 90s/00s, it seemed like she was omnipresent: she was doing plays, movies, had a sitcom . . . and it’s not like she was just in one kind of role. She was doing indie films, Bond films, classy women, bad-ass women, crazy women . . . she’s truly the coolest person ever.

  24. L says:

    My grandmother had macular degeneration and it was rough on her. This was a woman obsessed with her reading and cookbooks, and having to use a special machine to read was really trying for her.

    Otherwise she was in great shape, but I remember her being really frustrated alot of the time. I feel for the great Dame being in that same situation.

  25. TruthTella says:

    I hope she gets well! She’s such a great actress and person, she also looks amazing for her age. I really wanna see that film too it looks really good :)

  26. sam says:

    I love her. She always seemed like my british grandmother that died 13 years ago. Hope they find a cure. Such a classy classy lady. Get well soon Dame Judy xx

  27. Flan says:

    I thought she was in her middle to late sixties.

    She’s so great, love her.

  28. gab says:

    I love Dame Judy too! She is intelligent, witty, graceful, an excellent actor and is beautiful. I wish her all the best and hope that something can be done to help her and others facing a similar fate. Oh geeze, life can be scary can’t it? I wish this type of suffering would only happen to vile murderers or something. Sad.

  29. Elizabeth Rose says:

    She’s just so wonderful and she looks fantastic for her age. I wish her the best!
    I covet that necklace she’s wearing in the second and third picture, gorgeous!

  30. Spugz says:

    My mum looks exactly like Judi Dench which just adds to my love for her! My mum also has MD and has been having injections in her eye for around 5 mths now.

    I do wonder if they are actually the same person, I mean if you think about it, I have never seen them in the same room!

  31. Spacelamb says:

    Blind as a bat (according to the article) and still acts everybody else off the screen. Respect.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    She is DIVINE IMO. I love her in Bond – she acts circles around everyone and makes M as a woman (M was a man before) totally credible. I know she will take anything in her life with complete dignity and courage. I love her.

  33. Amanda says:

    Hope the treatments work well for her. It would suck for her if she goes blind.

  34. Minxx says:

    She’s 77 and still looking great – just an example how a great character, attitude and lots of goodness and good humour will shine though the face in the old days. She just radiates so much kindness and loveliness. I wish her all the best with the treatment!

  35. RovingLass says:

    So sorry to hear that. Dame Judi Dench is one of the greatest actresses of all time. So poised and eloquent yet seems very down to earth. I agree with you, Kaiser, many young entitled actresses could take a page from her book. She always hits the right note with her portrayals and I have never been disappointed with her work. What a lady!

  36. Lisa says:

    God, that has to be terrifying. One of my greatest fears is losing my sight when I get older.