- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2012

LONDON (AP) - Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine is joining Britain’s popular television series “Downton Abbey.”

The 77-year-old will join the cast when they start filming next month.

She will play the mother of Lady Grantham, portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern, in the third season of the hit period drama, which took Golden Globe and Emmy prizes for best miniseries or TV movie.

Gareth Neame of Carnival Films, which produces the show, said Monday that MacLaine’s character will be a “wonderful combatant” for Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess.

The series have garnered large numbers of fans in Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere.

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