A polished British stage actress who has proven adept in films and television playing characters of aristocratic background, Judy Parfitt delivered one of her best film performances as the imperious employer of Kathy Bates in "Delores Claiborne" (1995). Born in Yorkshire and trained at RADA, the actress began her career on stage in repertory theater before eventually finding success in the West End. Parfitt was already close to 30 when she debuted in films in a small role in "Hide and Seek" (1964). She first caught international audiences' attention playing Gertrude to Nicol Williamson's "Hamlet" (1969), recreating her stage performance. (As has often been the case, she was only three years older than the actor playing her son.) Parfitt continued to lend her regal bearing and patrician looks to such roles as "The Duchess of Malfi" and Mary Queen of Scots in "Vivat! Vivat Regina!" (both 1971) as well as Ranevskaya in "The Cherry Orchard" (1978).