Shirley MacLaine to Join Downton Abbey Cast

Entertainment Jan. 30, 2012 AT 4:41PM
Shirley MacLaine to Join Downton Abbey Cast Credit: Stefanie Keenan/WireImage.com

Let the sparks fly: another American (a redheaded one, at that) is about to infiltrate Downton Abbey!

Shirley MacLaine is set to join the cast of the hit British period drama (currently airing on PBS in the US) when shooting for season three begins, the Daily Beast confirmed on Monday.

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The Oscar winning actress, 77, will play Martha Levinson, the mother of American-born Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), who resides on the titular estate with her husband the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and three daughters.

Famous for playing quirky, often outspoken character, MacLaine is sure to go toe-to-to with Golden Globes winner Maggie Smith, who plays the sassy, snobby Dowager Countess.

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"My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey," said executive producer Gareth Neame in a official statement.

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