With St. Patrick’s Day approaching on March 17, it’s the perfect time to celebrate one of our favorite Irish performers, Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw. Here are 10 times the award-winning actress, who also had a scene-stealing guest appearance in Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s other huge TV series Fleabag, really took our breath away.
1. Every time she kept as guessing as Carolyn in Killing Eve.
“You never know whether she’s making a joke or not, and that is great to play,” Shaw says of her inscrutable Killing Eve character in this behind-the-scenes featurette.
2. When she played the pretty horrible – though more human than she initially seems – Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter movies.
Shaw has said this role, which she played in five movies, sometimes colors how people respond to her in real life. She told The Guardian last year: “I had one experience recently when an air hostess was very impolite, then came up at the end of the flight and said: ‘I’m terribly sorry but I was frightened of you because my children watch Harry Potter all the time.'”
3. When she spoke about her love of Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.
Shaw has worked extensively with London’s Royal Shakespeare Company in her stage career, playing Celia in As You Like It, Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, and even the title role in Richard II – the latter was somewhat controversial back in 1995 simply because Shaw was playing a traditionally male character. As she told The New York Times at the time, “Shakespeare is an enormous sacred cow to the English, so it’s slightly provocative to play with it.”
4. When Queen Elizabeth II made her an honorary CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for services to drama.
The award, which Shaw received in 2001, is deemed “honorary” because Shaw isn’t a British citizen.
5. When she read an excerpt from Virginia Woolf’s classic essay A Room of One’s Own.
As fans on YouTube commented, Shaw doesn’t so much read Woolf’s beautiful words as perform them – this is mesmerizing stuff.
6. When she appeared in the great Irish film My Left Foot.
Daniel Day-Lewis won the first of his three Oscars for his portrayal of Christy Brown, a man born with cerebral palsy who was only able to control his left foot but nevertheless became a celebrated writer and painter. Shaw plays Eileen Cole, a kind-hearted carer whom Brown falls for romantically.
7. When she gave a humble and funny BAFTA acceptance speech.
When Shaw collected her Best Supporting Actress award for Killing Eve, she thanked her co-stars Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, and Kim Bodnia, the show’s crew, the “glass-shattering genius” of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and her wife, Colombia University economist Sonali Deraniyagala.
8. When she stuck up for the younger generations.
“This generation, the people under 35, are freed of so much nonsense that we were full of,” Shaw told The Big Issue last year. “I can’t wait until they are in charge. They are going to save the planet, clean it up and maybe share some of its wealth.”
9. When she showed off her comedy shops in Three Men and a Little Lady.
Shaw has a supporting role in the much-loved family comedy movie, playing a headmistress who’s devilled a bit of a thing for Tom Selleck’s character Peter. Check her out delivering some shameless sexual innuendo below.
10. And of course, the time Carolyn shared her very unique beauty regime.
Well, if it works, it works.
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