[NFBWATlk] Judi Dench discusses working while losing her sight: 'I've had to find another way'

Merribeth Greenberg merribeth.manning at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 20:22:22 UTC 2021

Judi Dench discusses working while losing her sight: 'I've had to find
another way'
One thing she's not doing is hiding out; Dench says she'll continue working.
Feb. 26, 2021, 3:25 PM EST / Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

Dame Judi Dench has been a presence on TV and film screens for 60 years,
and at 86, she's not planning to stop acting anytime soon.

That enough would be inspiring, but Dench is currently battling an issue
that makes it positively extraordinary: She's losing her vision.

Currently suffering from age-related macular degeneration, which affects
nearly 11 million people
the United States, Dench recently told The Guardian
while she may have to adjust her life and work styles, she's not going to

"You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that you
find very difficult," she said. "I've had to find another way of learning
lines and things, which is having great friends of mine repeat them to me
over and over and over again. So I have to learn through repetition, and I
just hope that people won't notice too much if all the lines are completely

The petite, white-haired, no-nonsense actor is familiar to American
audiences from her turns in films like "Shakespeare in Love" (for which she
won her Oscar); "Mrs. Brown," "Victoria & Abdul," "Skyfall" (and several
other modern James Bond films) and "Philomena," among others.

She's also delighted us in recent years by getting a tattoo at 81
being the oldest person on the cover of British Vogue

The loss of her sight, Dench explained, appears to be genetic: Her mother
also had some sight loss; her daughter, Finty, "goes and has her eyes
checked" regularly.

Still, she noted what she considers an upside: "It does enable you to do
one thing and that is that you have to get very close to people before you
can recognize who they are. During lockdown I made a film and I was up
close addressing people wearing masks during rehearsals, nothing to do with
any scene I'm in. It's kind of exquisite if you can do that and that's the
good side of it, and you have to look at that side of it."

And you have to admire that Dench can even laugh a bit at the way her body
is changing.

"I was doing 'The Winter’s Tale' with Ken Branagh a couple of years ago,
playing Paulina, and after we had been running for three weeks or so at the
Garrick (Theater) he said to me — I have a long speech at the end — he
said: 'Judi, if you were to say that speech about eight feet to your right,
you'd be saying it to me and not to the (proscenium) arch," she said.

Then she laughed: "I rely on people to tell me!"


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