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Official: Dame Dench is British Royal Treasure

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Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Judi Dench has topped The Stage’s reader poll to discover the greatest stage actor of all time.

Dench was followed by Maggie Smith in second place, and Mark Rylance, the youngest actor in the list, in third.
Earlier this year, The Stage canvassed a selection of industry experts, who were each asked to put forward their own ten greatest stage actors. The experts’ nominations could be from any country and from any period of history. These were aggregated into an overall experts’ top ten, which was then put to a reader vote over a ten-week period. During that period, The Stage ran a series of features with leading theatre figures advocating each of the top ten. West End producer Bill Kenwright served as Dench’s advocate.
Following the announcement of the result of the poll, Dench told The Stage: “I’m completely at a loss for words, but it’s one hell of a thing to live up to.”
The results of Greatest Stage Actor was:
1st Judi Dench - 21.5% of the vote
2nd Maggie Smith - 18.2%
3rd Mark Rylance - 15.1%
4th Ian McKellen - 13.5%
5th Laurence Olivier - 11.5%
6th Paul Scofield - 7.7%
7th John Gielgud - 4.1%
8th Michael Gambon - 3.5%
9th Vanessa Redgrave - 3.2%
10th Ralph Richardson - 1.6%
For more on Greatest Stage Actor, which was sponsored by the Central School of Speech and Drama, see this week’s print edition of The Stage.
Updated On: 12/17/10 at 04:14 PM
Broadway Star
Broadway Star
I am not saying that she isn't a worthy winner but the very fact that she studied at The Central School of Speech and Drama and they were the sponsors of this poll, makes me want a recount!!!! LOL!

I have, in my years of theatre going, been fortunate to have seen live all those nominated with the exception of Olivier. I have to admit that Dame Judi has the most magnetic and hypnotic persona and her range and versatility as a performer is truly breathtaking.

All hail Dame Judi!!