Julie Walters, CBE (born 22 February 1950) is an English actress and novelist.
Walters was born as Julia Mary Walters in Smethwick, Staffordshire, the daughter of Mary Bridget (née O'Brien), a postal clerk of Irish Catholic extraction, and Thomas Walters, a builder and decorator. Walters attended Holly Lodge Grammar School for Girls on Holly Lane in Smethwick, although was asked to leave at the end of her lower sixth due to her 'high jinks'. She trained as a nurse at the age of 18 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham after working for a year. She fell madly in love with her first proper boyfriend who then left to study Sociology in Manchester. Deciding to give up her nursing career to become an actress and live with her boyfriend in Manchester, she studied English and Drama at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) with Pete Postlethwaite and pursuing a performance career. In an interview with Alison Oddey, Walters said about her early schooling: "I was never going to be academic, so [my mother] suggested that I try teaching or nursing [...] I'd been asked to leave school, so I thought I'd better do it."
Walters first achieved fame as the occasional partner of comedienne Victoria Wood, whom she had met in Manchester. The two first worked together in the 1978 theatre revue In At The Death, followed by the television adaptation of Wood's play Talent. They went on to appear in their own Granada Television series, Wood and Walters, in 1982. They have continued to perform together frequently over the years. The Bafta-winning BBC follow-up, Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, featured one of Walters' best-known roles, Mrs. Overall in Wood's spoof soap opera, Acorn Antiques (she later appeared in the musical version, and received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts). She also appeared as Petula Gordino in Wood's sitcom dinnerladies. Before making her London stage debut in Educating Rita, Walters had worked in regional theatre (including the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool), stand-up comedy and cabaret. Her first serious acting role on TV was in the classic Boys from the Blackstuff in 1982, and she broke into films with her Academy Award-nominated, BAFTA Best Actress award-winning and Golden Globe Award Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical/Comedy award-winning performance opposite Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983), a role she had created on the West End stage. In 1991 she starred opposite Liza Minnelli in "Stepping Out" and had a one-off television special, Julie Walters and Friends, which featured writing contributions from Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett. Walters played the lead character's wife, June, in the film Buster, released in 1988. She also appeared as Mrs. Peachum in the 1989 film version of The Threepenny Opera, which was renamed Mack the Knife for the screen.